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UK adults lack cholesterol awareness

Millions of people in the UK are increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by failing to take simple steps to lower their cholesterol, according to research recently carried out by HEART UK, the cholesterol charity.

The research, sponsored by Hovis Hearty Oats®, tested 1,177 UK adults on their knowledge and concerns about high cholesterol, revealing that more than 40% of respondents thought that raised cholesterol resulted from drinking too much, while almost 60% did not know that the condition can be hereditary.

Almost half the population have never had a cholesterol check and only 2% of those surveyed named high cholesterol as their biggest health concern, even though almost one in ten fear a myocardial infarction (MI). According to the survey, the top health worry for people was cancer, although CVD is still the UK’s biggest killer.

HEART UK ambassador, Dr Chris Steele, admitted that he was shocked by the findings. He said: “Raised cholesterol isn’t called the silent killer for nothing and I never cease to be amazed at how few people can be bothered to find out what their cholesterol level is. It is vital that people in the UK start to take their cholesterol level seriously and I know, from my own experience, how heart disease can affect your life, whether it is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle or an inherited condition. Simple changes such as adding oats to your diet and cutting back on fried or fatty foods can make such a difference”.

Only half of all those surveyed correctly identified that oats, being rich in soluble fibre, are an easy and affordable way to lower harmful cholesterol levels.  Four of the top five foods thought to have a cholesterol-lowering effect, by members of the public, do not directly lower cholesterol at all and almost a fifth of people had no idea at all of which foods can do so.

HEART UK Chief Executive Jules Payne said: “HEART UK is passionate about helping people with raised cholesterol and the results of this survey underline the challenges we continue to face about the public’s misunderstanding of the condition and the simple changes that can save their life.

“Younger people in particular don’t think that raised cholesterol or heart disease can affect them and sadly we see too many cases of younger people who are afflicted by the condition. National Cholesterol Week gives us an opportunity to remind people that getting their cholesterol level checked may well save their life.”

Regional figures

Belfast

24% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

48% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

38% of people have never had a cholesterol check

52% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

29% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Birmingham

47% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

60% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

52% of people have never had a cholesterol check

47% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

24% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Brighton

42% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

67% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

42% of people have never had a cholesterol check

33% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

36% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Bristol

47% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

51% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

41% of people have never had a cholesterol check

51% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

40% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Cardiff

43% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

47% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

43% of people have never had a cholesterol check

62% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

45% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Edinburgh

45% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

55% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

41% of people have never had a cholesterol check

47% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

40% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Glasgow

36% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

52% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

44% of people have never had a cholesterol check

46% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

36% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Leeds

50% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

56% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

48% of people have never had a cholesterol check

48% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

44% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Liverpool

50% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

59% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

24% of people have never had a cholesterol check

48% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

35% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

London

42% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

51% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

46% of people have never had a cholesterol check

55% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

38% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Manchester

41% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

64% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

37% of people have never had a cholesterol check

52% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

33% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Newcastle

39% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

61% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

40% of people have never had a cholesterol check

51% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

39% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Norwich

41% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

54% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

44% of people have never had a cholesterol check

59% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

28% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Nottingham

40% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

61% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

36% of people have never had a cholesterol check

57% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

42% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Plymouth

55% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

36% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

55% of people have never had a cholesterol check

46% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

12% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Sheffield

36% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

74% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

60% of people have never had a cholesterol check

31% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

38% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Southampton

53% wrongly thought that high cholesterol results from drinking too much

54% did not know that you can inherit the condition.

41% of people have never had a cholesterol check

61% correctly identified oats as having cholesterol lowering benefits

36% knew that spreads fortified with plant sterols could lower their cholesterol levels

Published on: September 28, 2011

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ENDORSED BY

  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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