Background: Despite improvements in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, recent national data are limited regarding the proportion of adults at recommended lipid levels according to the presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and related comorbidities. We evaluated the proportion of US adults with and without these conditions at (and distance to) recommended levels of LDL-C, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C), HDL-C, and triglycerides.
Methods: We analyzed data from adults aged > or =20 who had fasted for 8 or more hours (n = 2,883, weighted to a US population of 128.5 million) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey. The number of adults at National Cholesterol Education Program recommended levels for LDL-C, non-HDL-C, HDL-C, triglycerides, and combined lipids, stratified by sex, age group, ethnicity, and the presence of CVD comorbidities was determined.
Results: Although 85% to 89% of persons without CVD or related comorbidities were at recommended levels for LDL-C, non-HDL-C, HDL-C, and triglycerides, only 36% to 37% of those with CVD or related comorbidities were at recommended levels for LDL-C and non-HDL-C, and only 17% were at recommended levels for all lipids. Treated persons compared with those untreated had significantly lower LDL-C (112.3 vs 156.7 mg/dL, P < .001) and non-HDL-C levels (145.9 vs 188.7 mg/dL, P < .001), but similar HDL-C (52.0 vs 50.1 mg/dL, P = .09) and triglyceride (160.1 vs 148.7 mg/dL, P = .20) levels.
Conclusions: Despite improved LDL-C levels, many adults, especially with CVD or related comorbidities, are not at recommended levels for all lipids. Improved treatment efforts to target the spectrum of dyslipidemia are needed.