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Wednesday, October 10, 2007 9:00 AM

HC411R - Cholesterol Levels

Rand: This is Healthcare 411. Adults are spending billions on cholesterol-fighting drugs. More next.


Announcer:  Seven time All Pro Darrell Green talks with kids about smoking.

Darrell Green:  What do you think you could tell someone who smokes that would make them quit?

Kid #1: They’re hurting their friends, they’re hurting everybody around them.

Kid #2:  It’s bad for you and it costs a lot of money.

Kid #3:  Every time they’re smoking they’re polluting the air.

Kid #4:  Cause you’re really special to us.

Darrell Green:  Is there any better reason to quit?

Be a champion and set a healthy exampleand remember it’s never too late to quit.

Announcer:  For help call 1-800-QUIT_NOW.

A message from the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Rand: This is Healthcare 411. The latest data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reveals that adults 18 and older spent more than $9 billion dollars in 2004 on Lipitor, a cholesterol-reducing medication. And they spent nearly $5 billion on Zocor, another cholesterol-fighting drug.  And yet not all adults have had their cholesterol levels checked.  Dr. Anita Soni, a survey statistician at AHRQ, talks about the findings.

Dr. Soni:  Well, from the data, it’s clear that practically all Americans who have heart disease get their cholesterol levels checked.   

Rand: But not people without known heart disease?

Dr. Soni:  Well, in spite of the much publicized link between cholesterol and heart disease, one in six Americans 20 and older have never had their levels checked -- that’s almost 36 million adults.

Rand: Who are these people? 

Dr. Soni:  Nearly 40 percent are people between the ages of 20 and 34.  One in four is Hispanic, 16 percent are either black or Asian, and 15 percent are white.   And almost 20 percent of men reported that they never had their cholesterol checked, whereas only 14 percent women said the same thing.

Rand:  High cholesterol can cause arteries to harden and increases the risk of heart attack, so know your cholesterol numbers. 

To learn more, go to healthcare411.org. I’m Rand Gardner.  Healthcare 411 is produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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