Status and management of blood lipids in Greek adults and their relation to socio-demographic, lifestyle and dietary factors: the ATTICA Study

Blood lipids distribution in Greece


      Objective: In this work, we assessed the status and management of blood lipids in a sample of cardiovascular disease free adult men and women from Greece. We also evaluated the effect of several socio-demographic, dietary and lifestyle habits on lipid levels. Methods: The ATTICA Study is a population-based cohort that has randomly enrolled 1128 men and 1154 women (aged >18 years old), stratified by age–gender, from the greater area of Athens, during 2001–2002. Adherence to Mediterranean diet was assessed through a diet score that was based on a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Results: Forty-six percent of men and 40% of women had total serum cholesterol levels >200 mg/dl. Of them, 40% of men and 30% of women were unaware of their condition. Twenty-one percent of men and 7% of women had HDL–cholesterol levels <35 mg/dl. Twenty-eight percent of men and 13% of women had triglyceride levels >150 mg/dl. Fifteen percent of men and 12% of women had LDL–cholesterol levels >160 mg/dl and 52% of men and 48% of women had LDL >130 mg/dl. Of those who had known blood lipid abnormalities, 36% of men and 33% of women followed a dietary medication, 31% of men and 20% of women were receiving a pharmaceutical treatment (mainly statin) and the rest were untreated. Participants who adopted the Mediterranean diet and received statin, had on average 9% lower total cholesterol (P=0.04), 19% lower LDL–cholesterol levels (P=0.02) and 32% lower oxidized LDL–cholesterol levels (P<0.001) compared to those who were untreated and adopted a Westernized diet. Conclusions: We could speculate that about 3 million Greek adults had high total cholesterol levels. Adverse findings were also observed regarding the other investigated blood lipids. Mediterranean diet could be a complimentary mean to pharmaceutical treatment in reducing blood lipids.


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