Americans Lower Cholesterol with Medicine, Not Discipline

DECEMBER 01, 2005

Adults in the United States are more likely to control their cholesterol by taking medications than by making lifestyle changes recommended by their physicians.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (October 12, 2005), showed that the decreases in adult cholesterol levels stem more from the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs and less from positive lifestyle changes. Among patients aged 45 years and older, there was an increase in the number of doctor and hospital visits where statins were prescribed.

The report warned that the steady increase in US obesity rates might dull the effects of lower cholesterol. The investigators cited a slight increase in serum triglyceride levels among US adults, another indicator of potential heart trouble. Rather than using medicine alone, the researchers advise taking the following steps toward a healthy lifestyle: reducing fat and cholesterol intake, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, and exercising more.