Women Don't Know Cholesterol Levels
Survey Shows Less Than a Third of Women Know Their Cholesterol Numbers
WebMD News Archive
Aug. 22, 2007 -- Most women are seriously lacking when it comes to knowing
their cholesterol numbers, according to a new survey.
Researchers found that twice as many women knew how much they weighed in
high school than knew their current cholesterol level -- despite the fact that
heart disease is the No. 1 killer among women.
"Clearly, strides have been made in educating women on the risks of high
cholesterol, but the disconnect between awareness and action needs to be
addressed," says researcher Phyllis Greenberger, president and CEO of the
Society for Women's Health Research, which sponsored the survey, in a news
release. "Knowing your cholesterol number is the first step in controlling
cholesterol. That number is certainly more important than what you weighed in
The survey showed nearly nine out of 10 women recognize that cholesterol can
cause the development of plaque in the arteries. Yet less than a third of women
knew their own cholesterol numbers.
Cholesterol Levels: Knowledge Gap
The random survey, which included more than 500 women, showed that most
women know about the importance of diet and exercise in maintaining healthy
But when it comes to knowing their cholesterol levels or actively managing
their own cholesterol-related health risks, there's a big gap in knowledge. For
- Only about a third of women knew any of the four key numbers for monitoring
cholesterol: total cholesterol level, LDL level, HDL level, and triglyceride
(blood fat) level.
- More than a third of women reported being very surprised or somewhat
surprised to learn that high cholesterol has no symptoms.
- Sixty percent of women said they are somewhat or very actively trying to
manage their cholesterol levels.
- A third of women were very surprised or somewhat surprised to learn that
women can exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet but still have
dangerously high cholesterol levels.
In contrast, 79% of the women surveyed could remember what they weighed in
high school, which researchers say is much less likely to play a serious role
in heart disease risk than high cholesterol levels.
The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 3%.