Background: The mortality rate from cardiovascular disease (CVD) among young adults has declined less than that in the older population, raising concerns about the increasing prevalence of obesity-related conditions including hypercholesterolemia in the younger population. We investigated the age-standardized mean levels of serum cholesterols and the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control rates of hyper-low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterolemia based on age. Methods and Results: Nationally representative samples of 19 489 subjects aged ≥20 years were analyzed from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2008-2010. Hyper-LDL-cholesterolemia was individually evaluated by the 2004 National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Age-standardized mean levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides were 186.8, 48.0, 112.9, and 136.0 mg/dL, respectively. Age-standardized prevalence of hyper-LDL-cholesterolemia was 23.2% (men, 25.5%; women, 21.8%). Among subjects with hyper-LDL-cholesterolemia, awareness and treatment rates were significantly lower in younger adults (<50 years) compared to older adults ≥50 years (awareness, 8.0% versus 21.5%; treatment, 5.1% versus 18.5%, all Ps<0.001), indicating significant discrepancies in awareness and treatment rates of hypercholesterolemia between younger and older adults. Among subjects aware of their hyper-LDL-cholesterolemia, younger adults were more likely to have controlled LDL-cholesterol than the elderly (82.1% versus 67.5%, P<0.001). Conclusions: Compared to the elderly, significant proportions of young and middle-aged adults are unaware of their hypercholesterolemia and are not treated with proper lipid-lowering medications. Early screening, education, and proper management should be stressed in national public healthcare policies to reduce the increasing burden of CVD in the younger population with undiagnosed hypercholesterolemia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine