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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cholesterol Level Increasing in Some Young Adults

Cholesterol levels in middle-aged and older adults have decreased in the last 20 years, but have increased in younger adults, according to a survey issued in the Dec 20 issue of journal Circulation.

The possiblitity of cholesterol levels decrease in middle-aged and older adults is because of the increase of statin drugs (a type of drug that inhibits cholesterol production in the liver) intake. While the increase of cholesterol levels in younger adults are mostly caused by a decrease in physical activities.
Increased use of statin drugs are probably why older adults have lower cholesterol levels than 20 years ago, said Donna Arnett, chair of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and lead author of the study.

Arnett and other researchers analyzed the health data of nearly 5,000 patients who were enrolled in the Minnesota Heart Survey between 1980 and 2002.

While the survey was good news for older adults, young adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s had little to no change in their cholesterol levels over the same period, and among one group — women aged 25 to 34 — a small but statistically significant increase was noted, Arnett said.

Even though there's been an overall decrease, about 50 percent of all the adults surveyed still had total cholesterol concentrations that fell into "borderline-high risk" for heart disease, Arnett said.
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