Michigan Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Indicators:
Diagnosed with High Cholesterol

By Local Health Department (View full size.)


By Prosperity Region (View full size.)
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Indicator:  Adults who reported that they have high cholesterol

What it measures:  Percent of adults who reported that they have ever been told by their doctor that their blood cholesterol level was high

Why it is important:  Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in the blood and is used by the body to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help digest food. Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream in small packages called lipoproteins, which get their name from the way they are made (fat, also called lipid, on the inside and proteins on the outside). There are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol throughout the body: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Too much LDL ("bad") cholesterol is a bad thing, because it can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries and the formation of plaque, which can pile up, block the artery, and reduce the flow of blood. If a plaque blockage is in the heart, the result is a heart attack. If a blockage is in blood vessels that lead to the brain or are in the brain, the result can be a stroke.

It's the opposite with HDL ("good") cholesterol: High levels of HDL cholesterol are a good thing. HDL cholesterol works to gather cholesterol from various places in the body and carry it to the liver, where it can be removed. So, the higher a person's HDL cholesterol level, the more cholesterol is being removed and the lower his/her risk of getting heart disease.

Doctors check blood cholesterol levels with a blood test. It is recommended that adults who are age 20 and older have their cholesterol checked at least once every five years. An LDL cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dL is considered best, and an HDL cholesterol level of 60 mg/dL and higher is considered protective against heart disease. Total blood cholesterol levels should be under 200 mg/dL.

(Sources:  Impact of Heart Disease and Stroke in Michigan;  What Is Cholesterol?)

MDHHS programs that address this indicator:   MDHHS data for this indicator:  Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

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