trend for high cholesterol incidenceAccording to the latest reports, over the last ten years, the average cholesterol levels in the US are dropping.  The reports claim 27% over this ten year period: no not 27% of the population, but 27% of the population that used to have high cholesterol.  What this means is that before 18% of the population had high cholesterol, and now the number of people that still do are only about 13% of the population, so it’s really a 5% drop.  Still considering the population in the US at 313 million, this means that 156000 went from high to healthy cholesterol.

It is clear that greater awareness of cholesterol issues has increased exercise and decreased consumption of fatty foods.  It used to be commonplace to hear of and/or know people in their 40s that had heart attacks/strokes.  Now it is a rare occurrence.  Public awareness has certainly made an impact.

However, the removal of fat from the diet seems to have spurred an obesity epidemic, and this is another cause of high cholesterol.  The decrease in number of people with high cholesterol over the last ten years is more likely due to increased number of prescriptions than anything, now at 45 million in the US alone.

In an ideal world, it would be great if this decrease were due to people eating better, moving better and taking better care of themselves, so we can lower the obesity epidemic.   Despite lowering heart attack and stroke rates, we have had some years in which life expectancy decreased.  Live expectancies have steadily increased since the fifties when the average in the US was about 67.  It now sits somewhere in the mid seventies, but different reports, between 77 and 78 for the entire US population.

We are not the longest lived country, but we should be because of the incredible health care system we have.  We actually rank 38th, behind an incredible array of countries, including most of Europe, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Chile, and Costa Rica and many other “poor” countries.  And their prescription rates of statins is not nearly what it is here.

Studying these countries would do us more good than more medicine, don’t you think?

Only 13.4 percent of U.S. adults have high cholesterol, a federal agency said on Tuesday, possibly reflecting better diet, more exercise and the increased use of prescription drugs to lower the risk of heart attacks.  From Health news

So, the cholesterol levels in the US dropping is good news.  But we should be amongst the longest lived instead of 38th.  Looks like we have more work to do.  What do you think we should do?  Leave a comment or if you like the article, click like or share it.