Nearly half of Hispanics unaware they have high cholesterol; less than a third treated

June 25, 2015

Nearly half of Hispanic adults were unaware they have high cholesterol, and less than a third receive any kind of cholesterol treatment, in a new study in Journal of the American Heart Association.

Hispanics are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in America, with 52 million among the U.S. population, yet their awareness and management of high cholesterol lags behind other ethnic groups. Educating Hispanics/Latinos about the importance of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels could have a significant public health impact on reducing the burden of heart disease in America.

Researchers reviewed data from 16,415 Hispanics, between 18 to 75 years of age, who participated in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. They found:

  • 49.3 percent of Hispanics were not aware that they had high cholesterol levels. Of those who were aware, only 29.5 percent received treatment.
  • High cholesterol was more common among men than women, 44 percent versus 40.5 percent. However, men had lower rates of cholesterol treatment compared with women, 28.1 percent versus 30.6 percent.
  • 40 percent of participants were obese, 25 percent had high blood pressure and 17 percent had diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Participants with these conditions were more likely to be aware that they had high cholesterol.
  • Younger adults, women, the uninsured, those with lower income, and more recent immigrants were less likely to have their high cholesterol controlled.
  • Hispanics born in the United States were more likely to be unaware of their high cholesterol compared with foreign-born Hispanics, however, longer U.S. residency was associated with cholesterol awareness, treatment and control.

“Many Hispanics have high cholesterol, approximately 45 percent, probably due to a mix of genes and diet,” said Carlos J. Rodriguez, M.D., M.P.H., study lead author and an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Read the entire American Heart Association news release.

Media Relations

Marguerite Beck:, 336-716-2415