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Raised total cholesterol (Indicator 17)

Published

The indicator describes the following: Percentage of persons aged 18+ years with raised cholesterol.

The indicator describes the following: Percentage of persons aged 18+ years with raised cholesterol.


To determine the percentage with raised blood cholesterol, blood samples must be taken from the general population.  This is done in the Health Surveys in Tromsø and Nord-Trøndelag.

Results

The prevalence of blood cholesterol levels ≥ 5 mmol/l has fallen since the mid-1990s in all age groups. This is shown by results from the Tromsø Study and the Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT). 

The prevalence of raised blood cholesterol appears to increase with higher age groups up to the 50-69 age group. From the age of 70 and older, the prevalence of raised cholesterol decreases somewhat with increasing age. The higher age groups contain many individuals who use cholesterol-lowering medicines, which may partially explain this pattern. 

cholesterol men tromso NCD.jpg

Figure 1: Proportion of men with raised cholesterol in Tromsø, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Tromsø Study.  

cholesterol women tromso NCD.jpg

Figure 2: Proportion of women with raised cholesterol in Tromsø, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering medication and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Tromsø Study.

 

cholesterol men NT NCD.jpg

Figure 3: Proportion of men with raised cholesterol in Nord Trøndelag, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering medication and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT).

cholesterol women NT NCD.jpg

Figure 4: Proportion of women with raised cholesterol in Nord Trøndelag, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol lowering medication and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT).

 

Table accompanying Figure 1

 

2007–08

2015–16

Ages 30–39

53

 

Ages 40–49

72

68

Ages 50–59

77

72

Ages 60–69

69

65

Ages 70–79

61

51

Ages >=80

51

44

Table 1Proportion of men with raised cholesterol in Tromsø, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Tromsø Study. 

 

2007–08

2015–16

Ages 30–39

40

 

Ages 40–49

57

51

Ages 50–59

82

77

Ages 60–69

84

81

Ages 70–79

80

74

Ages >=80

80

71

Table 2Proportion of women with raised cholesterol in Tromsø, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Tromsø Study.

 

1995–97

2006–08

Ages 20–29

41

31

Ages 30–39

69

60

Ages 40–49

83

74

Ages 50–59

88

75

Ages 60–69

88

70

Ages 70–79

87

60

80+ years

78

57

Table 3Proportion of men with raised cholesterol in Nord Trøndelag, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT). 

 

1995–97

2006–08

Ages 20–29

43

34

Ages 30–39

56

43

Ages 40–49

75

63

Ages 50–59

90

84

Ages 60–69

95

84

Ages 70–79

95

77

80+ years

92

77

Table 4Proportion of women with raised cholesterol in Nord Trøndelag, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT). 

Data sources

The data sources for this indicator are the Tromsø Study and HUNT. A description and definitions follow below.

Data source: Tromsø Study

Description  

The Tromsø Study started in 1974 and consists of repeated health checks on Tromsø municipality’s population. The last two studies are particularly relevant to the period WHO would like Member States to report on: 2010-2025. Tromsø 6 (2007-2008) included almost 13 000 adults between the ages of 30 and 87, and had an attendance rate of 63 per cent. Tromsø 7 (2015-2016) included more than 21 000 adults aged 40 and older, and had an attendance rate of 65 per cent.

Effect measure 

  • Proportion of individuals with raised cholesterol in 10-year age groups of men and of women, as a percentage. 

Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. 

Interpretation and sources of error 

The higher age groups contain many individuals who use cholesterol-lowering drugs. This is one of the contributing factors to lowering cholesterol levels throughout the population. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose total cholesterol level is under 5.0 mmol/L will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. 

To make observations about the proportion of the population that has raised cholesterol, irrespective of cholesterol-lowering treatment, we can look at the proportion of individuals with raised cholesterol in the youngest age groups, in which very few individuals use cholesterol-lowering drugs. 

The proportion of individuals attending health checks has gradually declined over time. The figures and tables we present do not include any assessment of the possible implications of changes in the attendance rate. 

Data source: Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT)

Description  

The Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT) began with HUNT1 in 1984-86 and consists of repeated health checks performed on the population of Nord Trøndelag county. The last two studies are particularly relevant to the period WHO would like Member States to report on: 2010-2025. HUNT2 (1995-97) covered over 65 000 individuals aged 20 and older and had an attendance rate of 70 per cent. HUNT3 (2006-08) covered over 51 000 individuals aged 20 and older and had an attendance rate of 54 per cent. HUNT4 is being conducted between 2017 and 2019 and will contribute new data.

Effect measure 

  • Proportion of individuals with raised cholesterol in 10-year age groups of men and of women, as a percentage. 

Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/L. 

Interpretation and sources of error 

The higher age groups contain many individuals who use cholesterol-lowering medicines. This is one of the contributing factors to lowering cholesterol levels throughout the population. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering medication and whose total cholesterol level is under 5.0 mmol/L will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. 

To make observations about the proportion of the population that has raised cholesterol, irrespective of cholesterol-lowering treatment, we can look at the proportion of individuals with raised cholesterol in the youngest age groups, in which very few individuals use cholesterol-lowering medication. 

The proportion of individuals attending health checks has gradually declined over time. The figures and tables we present do not include any assessment of the possible implications of changes in the attendance rate. 

Tables accompanying the figures

 

2007–08

2015–16

Ages 30–39

53

 

Ages 40–49

72

68

Ages 50–59

77

72

Ages 60–69

69

65

Ages 70–79

61

51

Ages >=80

51

44

Table 1: Proportion of men with raised cholesterol in Tromsø, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Tromsø Study. 

 

2007–08

2015–16

Ages 30–39

40

 

Ages 40–49

57

51

Ages 50–59

82

77

Ages 60–69

84

81

Ages 70–79

80

74

Ages >=80

80

71

Table 2: Proportion of women with raised cholesterol in Tromsø, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Tromsø Study. 

 

1995–97

2006–08

Ages 20–29

41

31

Ages 30–39

69

60

Ages 40–49

83

74

Ages 50–59

88

75

Ages 60–69

88

70

Ages 70–79

87

60

80+ years

78

57

Table 3: Proportion of men with raised cholesterol in Nord Trøndelag, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT). 

 

1995–97

2006–08

Ages 20–29

43

34

Ages 30–39

56

43

Ages 40–49

75

63

Ages 50–59

90

84

Ages 60–69

95

84

Ages 70–79

95

77

80+ years

92

77

Table 4: Proportion of women with raised cholesterol in Nord Trøndelag, as a percentage. Raised cholesterol is defined as a total cholesterol level of ≥ 5.0 mmol/l. Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering drugs and whose cholesterol level is under this threshold will not be counted here as having raised cholesterol. Source: Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT).

 

Global indicator definition

WHO’s definition of the indicator

Indicator 17. Age-standardised prevalence of raised total cholesterol among persons aged 18+ years (defined as total cholesterol ≥ 5.0 mmol/l or 190 mg/dl); and mean total cholesterol concentration. 

National adaptation

The national data is shown in gender and age groups instead of in age-standardised format.  

Authors and contacts

The web page is compiled by the Tromsø Study at the University of Tromsø, the Health Survey in Nord Trøndelag (HUNT)at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.