Cholesterol/blood pressure combo not being treated

A large number of adults with both high blood pressure and High cholesterol are not receiving treatment, a study shows.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, and High cholesterol (a.k.a., hypercholesterolemia), are two important modifiable risk factors for heart and circulatory disease.

“We were surprised that, despite well-publicized guidelines and treatments available for hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, less than a third are being treated for both conditions and only one-tenth are controlled to recommended levels,” Dr. Nathan D. Wong, director of the Heart Disease Prevention Program at the University of California, Irvine, noted in comments to Reuters Health.

Based on a study of 2,864 adult men and women, he and his colleagues estimate that roughly one-fifth (18 percent) of U.S. adults overall have both elevated cholesterol and blood pressure; however, this increases to approximately 50 percent in those 60 years of age and older.

Yet, less than one-third (29 percent) of such persons with both elevated cholesterol and blood pressure are actually being treated, Wong and his colleagues report in the American Journal of Cardiology.

“Worst of all,” Wong said, only 9 percent have their blood pressure and cholesterol lowered to goal levels.

Not surprisingly, combined high blood pressure and High cholesterol was most often seen in adults with heart and circulatory disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome - a cluster of heart disease and diabetes risk factors such as obesity and elevated blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol - or a combination of these.

This study shows that treatment and control of combined hypertension and hypercholesterolemia are “suboptimal,” concludes the study team.

“The very important message,” Wong concluded, “is that many persons with hypertension also have hypercholesterolemia (and vice versa), and that we have to do a better job at identifying when both of these are present and treating both of these conditions, as their coexistence dramatically increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology, July 15, 2006.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.