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Findings Support More Targeted Approach to Cholesterol Screens

TUESDAY, May 16, 2017 -- The prevalence of elevated cardiovascular risk is low in normotensive, nonsmoking women younger than 50 years and men younger than 40 years, according to a study published online May 16 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Krishna Patel, M.D., of Saint Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues analyzed data on 9,608 U.S. adults aged 30 to 49 who were part of a government health study. The team sought to evaluate the prevalence of elevated atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk among adults without diabetes who were younger than 50 years.

The researchers found that among nonsmokers with normal blood pressure, very few were at heightened risk of ASCVD in the next 10 years. These findings held true as long as they didn't smoke or have high blood pressure. In the absence of those two risk factors, 0.09 percent of men younger than 40 were at elevated risk, while 0.04 percent of women younger than 50 were. Among male smokers in their 40s, one-half to three-quarters were at elevated risk.

"Given the low prevalence of patients at elevated cardiovascular risk, our findings would support the targeted approach of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force over the more general screening of the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association," the authors write.

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Posted: May 2017