U.S. Adult Cholesterol Levels Are Now Leveling Off

Approximately one in every six adults—17% of the U.S. adult population—has high blood cholesterol. Anyone, including children, may develop high cholesterol. It greatly increases the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Statins, the widely-prescribed drugs often credited for keeping cholesterol in down in a large number of the population, may be reaching the limits of their effectiveness. Americans average cholesterol levels have stopped falling since about 2008, according to the latest figures.

It is suggested that the lack of decline in cholesterol levels may affect cardiovascular mortality rates as well. "There has been approximately a 70 percent decrease in cardiovascular disease mortality from 1970 through 2009,” said Dr. Harvey W. Kaufman, senior medical director at Quest Diagnostics and an author of the study. "A large portion of this was driven by the reduction in cholesterol, and this progress is now threatened.”

A combination of factors has brought down LDL levels, including improved diet and exercise. But statins had made a significant impact over the past 25 years.

Partly driven by the mass marketing push, the number of prescriptions for statins rose dramatically almost every year since 2001. This growth slowed in 2010, according to IMS Health, a health care information company. There also was a drop in physician office visits, which means that fewer people are getting their cholesterol tested and treated.

However, other experts suggested that LDL levels have flattened out simply because they may be as low as they can go with the available treatments. "We could conceivably be experiencing a bottoming out of the statin effect,” said Dr. Ronald M. Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, Calif.

According to Dr. Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, director of preventive cardiology training at Columbia University Medical Center, "There may be a rapid rate of change at first, and then you get to a threshold point for which you can’t do much more.”

To bring LDL levels lower, physicians may wish to increase statin doses, but doctors may also be reluctant to raise doses because of the risk of serious side effects like muscle pain, weakness and increased blood sugar levels.

Now the trend is to focus on "therapeutic lifestyle modification, for individuals to have a greater input into their health, rather than just popping a pill,” Dr. Giardina said.

Obesity may also be limiting the effectiveness of statins. Obesity raises the risks of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, obesity can raise LDL cholesterol, reduce HDL cholesterol, and lead to diabetes and high blood pressure. These are huge risk factors for heart disease.

There are many options for helping lower your cholesterol. Changing from an unhealthy diet to a healthy diet can reduce a cholesterol level. However, dietary changes alone rarely lower a cholesterol level enough to change a person's risk of cardiovascular disease from a high-risk category to a lower-risk category. However, any extra reduction in cholesterol due to diet will help. Harsh medications help many people keep healthier cholesterol levels. Many will instead choose more natural solutions.

An excellent cholesterol supplement that includes many important natural ingredients is Cholesterol Complete™ (click here to view). It’s a powerful all-natural formula that targets both types of cholesterol; LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL is the cholesterol you should be most concerned with, it is the "bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries and raises blood pressure. HDL is the "good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL from the body. You’re supporting healthy cholesterol with 100% natural approach!

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