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Triglyceride Levels Continue to Rise in the United States Despite Increased Use of Cholesterol-Lowering Medications
Date:11/11/2008

al Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), a multiyear cross-sectional survey conducted from 1976 to the present. The study measured lipid types for the sample of adults in the morning after they had fasted for 8.5 to 23 hours.

Researchers found that total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol have continually decreased among U.S. adults. The increased use of cholesterol-lowering medication over the past 30 years is likely a major contributor to these positive trends. With available data, the average for LDL cholesterol among adults with at least one prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication decreased from 148.09 mg/dL between 1988-1994 to 121.26 mg/dL between 1999-2004.

During the same period, the study notes an increase in triglyceride averages from 1988-1994 and 1999-2006. The average triglycerides showed a continued increase in older adults; however, for other age groups, the averages decreased from 1976-1980 and 1988-1994 and then greatly increased from 1988-1994 and 1999-2006. Obesity and diabetes rates also increased during this period of time. The data suggest that an increase in use of cholesterol-lowering medications may help lower LDL, but triglycerides remain unaffected by these drugs. Interestingly, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels also improved among U.S. adults over the last 30 years, although it is not clear what may be affecting this change.

"This analysis underscores the need for renewed efforts that focus on identifying and treating multiple lipid types -- especially triglycerides -- to better manage risk for heart disease," said Jerome D. Cohen, M.D. Professor Emeritus, St. Louis University. "It is our hope that additional research into lipid levels and associated medication use be conducted so that heart disease and stroke risk can be lowered."

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Abnormal cholesterol levels have been considered a major risk factor for
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SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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