Two-thirds of Americans with cholesterol levels high enough for treatment are not getting it, said researchers who criticized doctors for missing opportunities to reach more sufferers.
A report by the national Centers for Disease Control said the percentage of people receiving treatment to lower cholesterol rose by 50 percent between 1988 and 1990.But only one-third of the 36 percent of all Americans who need such treatment were getting it at the end of 1990, said Dr. Robert Anda of the Atlanta-based CDC.
"There are signs that rapid prog-ress is being made, but there's a long way to go, because this is such an important problem," he said. "It would be nice if more young people were being screened and educated."
He presented his findings Friday at the American Heart Association's annual epidemiology conference.
Providing cholesterol-lowering treatment for those in need who aren't getting it could lower the nation's heart disease rate dramatically, Anda said.
"There's the potential for it to make a great difference in heart disease incidence," he said.
High cholesterol can be treated by reducing fat in the diet or through drugs.