Research Study Reveals Black Consumer Attitudes on Treatment For Cholesterol

Consumer misperceptions reported on the effectiveness of dietary or herbal supplements versus statins

New York, NY – The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) conducted a primary research study designed to investigate attitudes among Black consumers regarding their use of dietary and/or herbal supplements as a treatment for cholesterol in place of statins.  Black U.S. residents, diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia who are using dietary and/or herbal supplements – with our without statin therapy – were the entry criteria for this study. 

In the United States, high cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease, remains critical. While trends have shown an increase in treatment, and control of high cholesterol; racial and ethnic disparities persist, particularly among African Americans.

Survey respondents believe that dietary/herbal supplements are equally (21%) or more effective (57%) than prescription statin medication for cholesterol health, study results indicate.   A majority of respondents (57%) report using dietary and/or herbal supplements instead of prescription medication. There was no difference by gender; however this differed by age significantly.  Younger respondents (30-45 years old) are significantly more likely to take supplements instead of statins while older respondents (46-70 years old) are significantly more likely to take supplements in addition to statins. 

“These results confirm that there is a significant need for patient education and suggests that we have a real opportunity for improvement in lipid management in African Americans” according to Karol E. Watson, MD, PhD, FACC, Professor of Medicine/Cardiology,  Co-director, UCLA Program in Preventive Cardiology, Director, UCLA Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program. 

Study respondents cited control over one’s health (76%), cost of medication (62%), and perceived health benefits (67%) as the most significant contributors for taking dietary and/or herbal supplement.

Dr. Watson will present the research results during the “Cardiology Update 2016: Management of Heart Failure in Primary Care” symposium at the 114th National Medical Association’s annual convention and scientific assembly.  

This study was supported, in part, by AstraZeneca.

Trends in hypercholesterolemia, treatment and control among United States adults.  Ford ES; Li C; Pearson WS; Zhao G; Mokdad AH. Int J Cardiol.  2010; 140(2):226-35.

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