BACKGROUND: High cholesterol is identified as a major risk factor for chronic non-communicable diseases, especially cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Monitoring trends of cholesterol levels and comparing trends across population groups are important to assess population distribution and risks related to cholesterol change over time. Cholesterol surveillance data are lacking, even in high-income countries.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the trends in cholesterol and triglyceride levels in different population groups and to estimate the risk of developing hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia in Västerbotten County, Sweden during 1990-2010.
DESIGNS AND METHODS: Since 1990, 133,082 individuals living in Västerbotten County, Northern Sweden, invited on their 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th birthdays, participated in the Västerbotten Intervention Program. Ten years after baseline data collection, 34,868 individuals were surveyed for a second time. In addition to a self-administered health questionnaire (that included information on socioeconomic status, demographics, self-reported health and lifestyle behaviours), blood cholesterol and triglyceride were examined.
RESULTS: The level and prevalence of hypercholesterolemia decreased significantly from 1990 to 2007, but the trends began to increase during 2008-2010 in men, women, and in all educational groups. Men had significantly higher serum triglyceride levels than women and their cholesterol levels were similar to those of the women. This study shows that those with basic education and who live in rural inlands had consistently higher triglyceride level than those who live in the city and have higher educational attainments. People with basic education are also at higher risk of developing hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia at 10-year follow-up; the risk is much higher among the older cohorts, particularly women. During 1990-2010, the proportion of participants who reported treatment with lipid-lowering agents increased from 1.1% to 9.6% among men and 0.5% to 5.3% among women. About 60% of those treated achieved treatment goals for cholesterol or triglycerides.
CONCLUSIONS: The increasing trend in cholesterol level in the Västerbotten population during 2008-2010 needs to be closely monitored. Addressing the unequal distribution of cholesterol, as well as other risk factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, high blood glucose, among those with basic education, and particularly among populations in rural areas are important to prevent higher burdens of chronic non-communicable diseases in this population.
Co-Action Publishing , 2012. Vol. 5, 10367- p.
cholesterol, hypercholesterolemia, triglyceride, dyslipidaemia, trends, education, longitudinal studies, Sweden