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Am J Med. 2009 May;122(5):454-63. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2008.09.049.

Dyslipidemia and the treatment of lipid disorders in African Americans.

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University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson Heart Study, Jackson, Miss., USA.



Despite the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease documented among the African-American population, there has been little emphasis on the role of dyslipidemia as a prominent risk factor in this large subpopulation. Questions of medication efficacy also have been raised. Together, these factors may have affected awareness, diagnosis, and treatment rates.


Dyslipidemia was defined as the presence of either hypercholesterolemia or hypertriglyceridemia using National Cholesterol Education Program III criteria and the fasting lipid measurements, self-reported treatment history, and medication survey available from 5302 Jackson Heart Study participants. Dyslipidemia was more common in men (compared with women) aged less than 50 years and increased with age in both genders. Hypercholesterolemia prevalence rates approached 50% in women aged more than 65 years. The lifestyle-related attributes found to be related to prevalence were being overweight and less physically active, and all disease status variables exhibited significant (P<.05) associations. Awareness of hypercholesterolemia is approximately 55% or more in both men and women aged more than 35 years. Treatment rates lag far behind awareness, particularly in younger adult men, and less than 50% of women and men aged less than 65 years were treated for hypercholesterolemia.


Higher rates of identification and effective treatment of dyslipidemia are clearly needed in this, and probably other African-American communities. Despite the less than optimal treatment, the identification and importance of the known cardiovascular disease states and risk factors in these analyses suggest the adoption of National Cholesterol Education Program III "high-risk strategy" algorithms in treatment recommendations and decisions by providers is occurring.

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