Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the main cause of death in Europe. Elevated plasma cholesterol, specifically low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), is the main causative risk factor for CVD, most prominently associated with coronary heart disease. A widespread disinformation about cholesterol and CVD is one factor underlying a poor compliance to lipid-lowering therapy. To investigate how cholesterol, CVD and cholesterol reduction is perceived in the population, a survey was commissioned by the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS). Nearly half of people above 25 years of age are most worried about cancer (45%), compared to just over one in four who are worried about heart disease (27%). A majority believe being overweight (72%), blood pressure (70%) and smoking (67%) most affect heart health, far more than note cholesterol (59%) and family history (39%). The majority of adults recognize that high LDL (or "bad") cholesterol should be a health priority for everyone, including those younger than 40 and those who are not overweight. However, 1 in 4 (25%) incorrectly believe that it does not need to be a concern until someone shows signs or symptoms. Although 89% of adults surveyed agreed it is important for people to know whether or not they have high LDL-C, an overwhelming 92% did not know their LDL-C levels or had never had their cholesterol levels tested. A high 63% had never heard of familial hypercholesterolemia: France had the lowest level of awareness (41%) to Denmark with a high 80%, and the association of the disease with high levels of LDL-C is quite poor (only 36%), with Sweden only at 22% versus a high in Spain of 54%. A large part of the people participating in the survey were quite uncertain about the modality of transmission for familial hypercholesterolemia in the family. All in all, this survey highlights the need for more information among citizens for the role of cholesterol in determining CVD.
- High-density lipoprotein
- Low-density lipoprotein
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Internal Medicine