A survey of 1118 patients who reported having high cholesterol revealed that they did not know that high cholesterol comes from both the food they eat and what their body naturally produces. The survey also showed that 45% of patients with high cholesterol were more concerned with their high cholesterol than with other personal health issues, and 75% felt that they should lower their cholesterol. Eighty-five percent of the respondents were aware of national guidelines for where their cholesterol level should be, although only 27% knew that the optimal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level is <100 mg/dL.

Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals and Mended Hearts, a volunteer group affiliated with the American Heart Association, sponsored the survey. The 2 organizations are developing educational materials and local awareness campaigns on the importance of cholesterol screening and control.