Significant discrepancies arise when the data is broken down by race and gender. Of whites eligible for or already taking medication, 58% were actively taking medication while just 46% of eligible blacks and 47.1% of eligible Mexican-Americans were actively taking medication. There were significant differences in the percentage of men (40.8%) and women (32.9%) on or eligible for treatment and a significant differences in the proportion taking cholesterol-lowering medication (52.9% for men versus 58.6% for women). 

“Nearly 800,000 people die in the U.S. each year from cardiovascular diseases – that’s one in every three deaths – and high cholesterol continues to be a major risk factor,” said Dr. Carla Mercado, a scientist in CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. “This study reveals opportunities to reduce existing disparities through targeted patient education and cholesterol management programs.”

One such program is the Million Hearts Initiative by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the initiative is to get 65% of Americans to manage their high levels of LDL cholesterol by 2017.