Sixty-nine percent of statin users who are discussing cholesterol goals with their healthcare provider and do not know their cholesterol goal, surprisingly, are not communicating with their doctor about ways to lower their cholesterol goal and 31 percent are not talking with their doctor about ways to maintain their cholesterol goal.
WomenHeart and the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. have joined together with AstraZeneca to launch the GOAL Standard, a national education campaign designed to highlight the importance of setting a cholesterol goal; promote better overall cholesterol management; and provide tools to enhance communication between doctors and patients, including those already receiving cholesterol-lowering treatment. To help raise awareness, empower and motivate Americans to put the same emphasis on health improvements as they do on home improvements, Paul DiMeo, designer and carpenter from ABC television's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, has also joined the GOAL Standard team.
“The results of this survey suggest there is a clear need for more effective patient-doctor communication about cholesterol because Americans are confused,” says Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and member of WomenHeart's Scientific Advisory Board. “It's not enough to educate patients about the risks associated with elevated cholesterol and ‘knowing numbers' unless it means something. We need to go one step further and set an appropriate goal that we can help patients reach by developing an individualized treatment plan with clear steps and an end-point.”
The GOAL Standard campaign will provide tools for men and women to work with their health care providers to identify target cholesterol goals and plans to successfully reach and maintain them.
“A cholesterol-lowering program is a lot like a home makeover project - you have to determine a specific goal, identify the necessary steps to reach that goal and work according to plan, checking in on your progress along the way,” says Paul DiMeo, who embarked on his own health makeover after being diagnosed with high cholesterol. “As one of the nearly 38 million Americans with high cholesterol, I know how important it is to talk with a doctor to pinpoint a target goal and make a lifelong commitment to maintaining it.”
Consumers can learn more about the GOAL Standard campaign by logging on to www.GOALstandard.com, which provides the blueprint for consumers to get started on their own cholesterol makeover. Informational resources available through the GOAL Standard include a fact sheet about understanding cholesterol and setting a treatment goal, a downloadable brochure, additional survey findings and an interactive cholesterol calculator that can help facilitate patient-physician dialogue about the condition. Consumers will also have the opportunity to share their own struggle with elevated cholesterol and learn more about Paul DiMeo's story as he offers tips on how he designed a cholesterol plan, in conjunction with his doctor, to meet his cholesterol goals. Links to WomenHeart and the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. are also available on the site.
Additional Survey Findings
- Sixty-three percent of patients* taking statin medications cannot correctly identify the maximum desirable level of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, for someone at high risk for heart disease.
- Eighty percent of U.S. adults who are concerned about high cholesterol do not know their target goal.
- Only 42 percent of U.S. adults who are worried about their cholesterol have had a conversation with their healthcare professional specifically about their cholesterol goal or number.
- Approximately two out of five adults and patients who use statin medications wish their health care professionals would spend more time discussing cholesterol with them.
About the Survey: Harris Interactive® conducted the online survey between September 22-29, 2005 among a nationwide cross-section of the following: 1,029 U.S. adults aged 18 or older, and 1,180 U.S. adults aged 18 or older who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol and are currently using statin medication to treat their high cholesterol. Physician data are weighted to represent their respective populations in the U.S. for years in practice within gender, as well as region.