Cholesterol counseling - editorial

Date: April, 1989

Cholesterol Counseling More than one-half of all adult Americans have blood cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or higher, placing them at increased risk for coronary heart disease. About a half million Americans will die of this disease this year.

The National Cholesterol Education Program reports that most people with high blood cholesterol can reduce their risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 2 percent for each 1 percent reduction in the blood cholesterol level (e.g., the risk of coronary heart disease could be reduced by 30 percent by lowering the cholesterol level by 15 percent).

The American Medical Association has launched a major assault on high cholesterol levels with its "Campaign Against Cholesterol," a nationwide project that includes a media information campaign, a book and audiocassette on cholesterol reduction, national and syndicated television specials, and a five-week course on cholesterol reduction. The course, the first AMA-approved cholesterol reduction class, begins nationally this month, and the actual instruction will be delivered by qualified health professionals in each community. Classes will be conducted in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, schools, community meeting places and work sites. Designed for the general public, the courses will cover information about the causes of high blood cholesterol, instruction about food selection and preparation, and counseling designed to promote and support the behavioral and lifestyle changes necessary for cholesterol reduction.

"The key weapon in the Campaign Against Cholesterol is information," says Dr. Sammons, executive vice president of the AMA. "We have the ability to control this problem, but first we must educate the public about the risks of high blood cholesterol and the methods available for treating it."

The AAFP recommends that healthy asymptomatic adults have a serum total cholesterol test at least every five years, starting at age 20. With more of the general public aware of the dangers-of high cholesterol levels, family physicians are ideally suited to help patients with cholesterol-related problems. They are in a strategic position to encourage timely testing and disseminate further information about lowering dangerously high cholesterol levels--and keeping them down.

COPYRIGHT 1989 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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