Increased Prevalence of Cholesterol Screening and Hyperlipidemia Among U.S. Adults

The CDC's September 7th Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) reported that the prevalence of patients who have ever been told they had high cholesterol has increased to 35%. An analysis of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 2005, 2007, and 2009 showed that the percentage of adults reporting having been screened for high blood cholesterol within the preceding 5 years increased from 72.7% in 2005 to 76% in 2009. In addition, the percentage who had ever been told they had high cholesterol increased from 33.2% to 35%. Both self-reported screening and high cholesterol varied by state and sociodemographic subgroup.

From 2005–2009, increases in the percentage of persons screened for high blood cholesterol were observed across all age, sex, racial/ethnic, and education categories. The percentage of respondents screened for high blood cholesterol in 2009 was significantly higher among persons aged 45–64 years (88.8%) and ≥65 years (94.7%) than 18–44 years (63.2%); women (77.6%) compared with men (74.5%); blacks (77.6%), whites (77.3%), and Asian/Pacific Islanders (77.2%) compared with Hispanics (69.2%); and those with some college (77.5%) and a college degree or higher (83%) compared with those with a high school diploma (71%) and less than a high school diploma (61.4%).

By state, in 2009, the percentage of respondents screened for high blood cholesterol ranged from 67.7% in Idaho to 84.5% in DC. From 2005–2009, the percentage increased significantly in most states; two states (Missouri and South Carolina) showed a decreased percentage of respondents screened, but neither difference was statistically significant. Sixteen states showed no significant change in the percentage screened. In general, prevalence of cholesterol screening was higher among residents of eastern states than western states.

Among respondents who had been screened for high blood cholesterol within the previous 5 years, the percentage who reported being told by a health-care provider that their blood cholesterol was high increased from 33.2% in 2005 to 35% in 2009. Increases were observed across all age, sex, and education categories and among whites, blacks, and Hispanics. The prevalence of high blood cholesterol was significantly higher among persons aged ≥65 years (54.4%) than 18–44 years (23.7%) and 45–64 years (46.1%); men (37.5%) compared with women (32.6%); Hispanics (36.3%) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (37.5%) compared with blacks (33.1%); and those with less than a high school diploma (39.9%) compared with those with some college (35.2%) and a college degree or higher (33.2%).

By state, in 2009, the prevalence of self-reported high blood cholesterol ranged from 30.5% in New Mexico to 38.8% in Texas. From 2005–2009, approximately one third of states showed a significant increase. Certain states showed decreased prevalence, but none of the decreases were statistically significant.

Public health practitioners should emphasize the importance of screening, especially among younger adults, men, Hispanics, and persons with lower levels of education.

For more information visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6135a2.htm?s_cid=mm6135a2_x.

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