The reason more people report having high cholesterol is that more people are getting checked for it — a hopeful sign for preventive medicine, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“From 2005 to 2009, the overall percentage of adults screened for high blood cholesterol during the preceding five years increased from 72.7 percent to 76 percent,” says the study published September 7 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Those who had ever been told that they have high cholesterol increased from 33.2 percent to 35 percent.
The study refers to an earlier CDC finding that overall level of high cholesterol for those 20 and older had decreased from 18.3 percent to 13.4 percent between 2000 and 2009.
“This suggests that the increasing prevalence of self-reported high blood cholesterol was more likely a result of improved awareness of the risks of high blood cholesterol than an actual increase in the prevalence of high blood cholesterol,” the authors write.
The data are from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which is a “state-based, random-digit-dialed telephone survey conducted annually since 1984 with the assistance from CDC.”
Another hopeful sign: “Increases in the percentage of persons screened for high blood cholesterol were observed across all age, sex, racial/ethnic, and education categories.”