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Cholesterol Awareness Month: Americans Urged to Seek Early Intervention

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- September is Cholesterol Awareness Month. The National Lipid Association (NLA) notes that recent controversies over perceived failures in drug trials, Tim Russert's sudden death, and the issue of early recognition and treatment of dyslipidemia in children have all led to increased attention on cholesterol and lipid management.

The NLA views these developments as reinforcing the importance of a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle to prevent cardiovascular disease, and drug therapy when appropriate. The Association urges patients to get an early start on managing their cholesterol. Despite controversy that has arisen about recent lipid-lowering trials, the preponderance of evidence indicates that lipid-lowering medications extend lives and improve the quality of life for dyslipidemic patients. The tragic loss of Tim Russert showed that aggressive therapies begun after the progression of cardiovascular disease are sometimes "too little too late." In the case of new guidelines for children at risk, we see the critical importance of starting the fight against heart disease early in life with proper screening, diet and exercise.

The relationship between cholesterol and heart disease has never been more clear, and patients need to be familiar with the established guidelines for lipid levels. Current studies show that among patients at higher risk, fewer than one in five are within guidelines. The NLA strongly recommends patients to stay with their treatment plan and to those who have lapsed, the Association urges them to continue therapy and attain their goal.

Depending on your age and current health outlook, there are only a few numbers you need to know-your total cholesterol, "bad" and "good" cholesterol, and triglycerides. Websites such as have more information, and your health care professional may have additional advice. You can't change your age or family history, but if you smoke, you can stop. If you have high cholesterol and blood pressure, these can be managed. As for losing weight, even modest reductions and small increases in the amount of physical activity can pay big health dividends.

"People need to know where they stand with respect to reaching their cholesterol and triglyceride targets," says Dr. Thomas Bersot, president of the NLA. "They need to know their numbers and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease."

SOURCE National Lipid Association
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