Levels of total
cholesterol (TC), triglycerides, and low density lipoprotein
cholesterol (LDL-C) are used as part of a cardiac risk assessment to help determine an individual's cardiovascular health.
In a study published online by JAMA Cardiology
Rosinger of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues examined whether earlier
trends of a decline (between 1999 and 2010) in average levels of total
cholesterol, triglycerides, and low density lipoprotein
‘Removal of trans-fatty acids in foods has resulted in lowering the levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides, and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).’
Eight two-year National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
cross-sectional cycles between 1999/2000 and 2013/2014 were analyzed for
trends among adults 20 years or older. This study included 39,049
adults who had TC levels analyzed, and 17,486 and 17,096 who had
triglyceride levels and LDL-C levels analyzed, respectively.
Age-adjusted average TC decreased between 1999/2000 (204 mg/dL) and
2013/2014 (189 mg/dL), with a 6-mg/dL drop between 2011/2012 and
2013/2014. Age-adjusted geometric average triglyceride levels decreased
from 123 mg/dL in 1999/2000 to 97 mg/dL in 2013/2014, with a 13-mg/dL
drop since 2011/2012.
Average LDL-C levels decreased from 126 mg/dL to
111 mg/dL during the eight survey cycles, with a 4-mg/dL drop between
2011/2012 and 2013/2014. Between 1999/2000 and 2013/2014, these
decreasing trends were similar when stratified by lipid-lowering
"Removal of trans-fatty acids in foods has been suggested as an
explanation for the observed trends of triglycerides, LDL-C levels, and
TC levels. With increased interest in triglycerides for cardiovascular
health, the continued drop of triglycerides, LDL-C levels, and TC levels
at a population level represents an important finding and may be
contributing to declining death rates owing to coronary heart disease
since 1999," the authors write.