The largest ever study of 147 million people has claimed that most people around the globe with high cholesterol are not getting the right kind of treatment.
The report, based on the data from England, Scotland and six more nations, has suggested that very few people are given cholesterol-lowering medicines, reports the BBC.
AdvertisementFor the study, between 1998 and 2007, information on cholesterol levels and prescribing patterns was gathered for England, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Scotland, Thailand and the US.
The analysis found many at-risk people in middle-income and western countries alike are not on cheap and widely available statin drugs that would substantially cut their risk of heart attack and stroke.
The report authors, which included Gregory Roth from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in the US, said, "These findings support the growing recognition that cardiovascular diseases are not merely 'diseases of affluence' and that some middle-income countries are beginning to face a double burden of both chronic and communicable diseases."
For example, in Thailand 78 percent of adults surveyed, who were found to have high cholesterol, had not been diagnosed, while in Japan, 53 percent of adults were diagnosed but remained untreated.
Although England fared slightly better, in 2006, two-thirds of people remained undiagnosed and around a fifth were diagnosed but untreated.
Mexico did the best, diagnosing and treating nearly 60 percent of cases.
"Cholesterol-lowering medication is widely available, highly effective and can play an essential role in reducing cardiovascular disease around the world.
"Despite these facts, effective medication coverage for control of high cholesterol remains disappointingly low," said Roth.