Family doctors dont always feel that they can achieve healthy cholesterol levels in their patients even though they are aware of the dangers of cardiovascular disease, according to an international survey of practitioners published in the July issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK, and Lund University, Sweden, surveyed 750 doctors from 10 countries Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Mexico, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea and the UK - during their From the Heart study.
Doctors told them that only 47% of their patients reached their cholesterol goals, but 61% of them felt this was an acceptable statistic.
Although doctors appear to appreciate the risks associated with cardiovascular disease which they identified as a greater cause of death than cancer - the importance of lowering cholesterol does not appear to be widely endorsed says co-author Professor Richard Hobbs from the University of Birmingham.
Our study also highlighted discrepancies between what family doctors do when a patient has high cholesterol and what they are advised to do by national guidelines.
Key findings included:
- Doctors in South Korea (80%) were most likely to be happy with the 47% patient success rate statistic, while doctors in Finland were least happy (48%).
- Prescribing statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) and recommending lifestyle changes was the most popular overall course of action, recommended by 46% of doctors. This was followed by lifestyle changes alone (43%) and statin therapy alone (10%). Only 1.5% recommended no course of action.
- Doctors in South Korea (66%) and Portugal (61.5%) were most likely to recommend a combination of statins and lifestyle changes, with doctors in Finland (31%) and France (36%) least likely to adopt this approach.
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Contact: Annette Whibley
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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