Cholesterol Check Up

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Story Updated: Oct 18, 2012

S. adults.

There's good news about Americans and their cholesterol levels. Things are getting better...thanks to modern medications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spearheaded an analysis of three separate sets of cholesterol data taken between 1988 and 2010. Average levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL and other measures were tracked from nearly 38-thousand cases.

We had found in the past that there had been decreasing trends in the bad cholesterol and in total cholesterol and we wanted to see whether these trends have continued.

On average, total cholesterol declined in American adults from 206 to 196.

Levels of LDL, often considered the "bad" cholesterol, dropped from 129 to 116.

While HDL, the "good" cholesterol climbed from 50-point-7 to 52-point-5.

The data also takes into account the percentage of participants who were using cholesterol-lowering medications. In the first survey, just 3-point-4 percent of adults were taking statins. By 2010, that rate had risen to 15-point-5 percent.

Researchers say the favorable trend in cholesterol levels may also be due in small part to fewer trans-fatty acids in our diet and other healthy lifestyle changes such as a decrease in cigarette smoking.

The complete report is this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com