New results from Cholesterol Counts show most americans polled do not know their bad cholesterol (LDL-C) levels
Despite the fact that high LDL-C (bad cholesterol) is a critical heart health factor for adults,1 71 percent of Americans surveyed (n=2,033) are not sure of or do not recall their LDL-C (bad cholesterol) levels, according to the initial results from the Cholesterol Counts Poll released today during American Heart Month. Because high levels of bad cholesterol can contribute to cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke,1 knowing levels and talking to a doctor are important to help manage cholesterol and assess the risk of potential cardiac events.2
“It is concerning that the majority of Americans in our poll are not sure of or do not recall their LDL-C, or bad cholesterol, levels,” said Ralph M. Vicari, MD, and vice president of Foundation of the National Lipid Association (FNLA). “As a cardiologist, I make it a point to write down and give my patients their numbers, and explain what they mean. We want every American to get ‘counted’ by taking the poll, go to their healthcare provider to get their cholesterol checked, learn their numbers, and encourage friends and family to do the same.”
Initial results from more than 12,000 Americans are available on the website via interactive maps that compare national and state-by-state cholesterol awareness data. Sanofi US and Regeneron are collaborating with nationally-recognized patient and professional heart disease organizations, Foundation of the National Lipid Association, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association and Mended Hearts on the program.
The initial results from the Cholesterol Counts Poll provide a snapshot of the current state of cholesterol knowledge in America. Out of the 2,033 Americans surveyed:
- Nearly a third report having high bad cholesterol: 29 percent of Americans surveyed have been told by a doctor or healthcare professional that they have high LDL-C (bad cholesterol).
- Gaps in knowledge exist: 44 percent of those surveyed reported they are not sure if LDL cholesterol is referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
- Also, while more Americans surveyed ages 55 and older report being personally concerned (52 percent, n=418) about cholesterol compared to those ages 35-54 (37 percent, n=253), the percent of those surveyed who are not sure of or do not recall their LDL-C (bad cholesterol) levels are fairly similar for both age groups (79 and 77 percent, n=633 and n=524, respectively).
- Some people are not being treated: About a quarter – 27 percent (n=156) – of those surveyed who reported being told they have high LDL-C (bad cholesterol) say they have not taken a prescription medication to manage it.
At the state level, approximately 200 adults (18+) in each of the 50 states were surveyed:
- Four states tied for the highest percentage of people surveyed (37 percent) who reported being told by a healthcare provider that they have high LDL-C (bad cholesterol) – New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
- Massachusetts had the lowest percentage of people surveyed (21 percent) who reported being told they have high LDL-C (bad cholesterol).
“The results of the Cholesterol Counts Poll uncover a concerning situation. About a third of Americans surveyed self-reported high levels of LDL-C, but many of those surveyed are not sure that LDL-C is bad cholesterol,” said Michele Packard-Milam, CAE, executive director of Mended Hearts. “There seems to be a gap in knowledge about LDL-C – we need to rally Americans to become educated about their LDL-C numbers and what they mean to their heart health.”1,2
Cholesterol Counts continues to take a pulse on how much American adults know about cholesterol and their own cholesterol levels. The first wave of the poll was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll among a nationally representative sample of 2,033 U.S. adults ages 18 and up from December 14-29, 2014, and representative samples in all 50 U.S. states among 10,024 adults ages 18 and up (about 200 per state) from December 15, 2014 – January 9, 2015. Results are based on a survey of 2,033 adults 18+ across the U.S. and approximately 200 adults 18+ in each of the 50 states. The results are weighted demographically and attitudinally to be representative of the national population and the population of each state.
View the interactive multimedia release here: here..
1 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “What is Cholesterol?” September 2012. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc/#. Accessed January 2015.
2 American Heart Association. “Symptoms, Diagnosis & Monitoring of High Cholesterol.” April 2014. Accessed January 2015. The poll was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Sanofi US and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, is available on www.CholesterolCounts.com.