Many Americans with high cholesterol and high blood pressure are not getting treated, putting them at higher risk for heart attack or stroke, the US government said on Tuesday.
Two out of three adults with high cholesterol and half of adults with high blood pressure did not have their health problems under control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its latest Vital Signs report.
People without health insurance showed the lowest rates of control, the CDC said.
However, 80 percent of those with uncontrolled high blood pressure or cholesterol -- both risk factors for heart disease which kills 800,000 Americans per year -- had either public or private health coverage.
"Although we're making some progress, the United States is failing to prevent the leading cause of death -- cardiovascular disease -- despite the existence of low cost, highly effective treatments," said CDC director Thomas Frieden.
"We need to do a better job improving care and supporting patients to prevent avoidable illness, disability, and death."
The study examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes health and nutritional information from about 5,000 participants each year.
The United States spends 300 billion dollars a year on cardiovascular disease, or one in every six US dollars spent on health care, the CDC said.
One in three adults has high blood pressure, which should be less than 120 over 80 and requires management if it is more than 140 over 90, the CDC said.
One third of adults with blood pressure problems do not get treatment, the study found, and half do not have it under control.
Similarly, one third of adults have high cholesterol. Half of them do not get treatment and two thirds do not have their cholesterol under control.
The CDC says LDL cholesterol (or bad cholesterol) levels should be less than 160 for people without heart disease or diabetes; less than 130 for people with two or more other risk factors; and below 100 for people with heart disease or diabetes.