Total cholesterol levels falling but not all good news

MORE than a third of Australians still have high cholesterol despite lipid levels falling over the past six years, a study shows.

The report, Australia’s Cholesterol Crossroads, which examined nearly 200,000 GP patient cholesterol records from 2004 to 2009, showed 37% of patients had total cholesterol levels above the recommended 5.5 mmol/L.

However, the latest finding was an improvement on 2004 levels, when 43% of patients had elevated total cholesterol.

The study, conducted by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and sponsored by AstraZeneca, showed total cholesterol levels fell from 5.3 mmol/L in 2004 to just below 5.15 mmol/L in 2009.

Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol ­(LDL-C) was particularly prevalent, with 56% of men and 54% of women having LDL-C above 3.0 mmol/L at the end of the study.

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels also worsened over six years, falling from 1.13 mmol/L to 1.05