Medication adherence, cascade screening, and lifestyle patterns among women with hypercholesterolemia: Results from the WomenHeart survey

Gretchen Benson, Dawn R. Witt, Jeffrey J. VanWormer, Susan M. Campbell, Arthur Sillah, Sharonne N. Hayes, Matt Lui, Martha Gulati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Women with hypercholesterolemia and familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) are a high-risk group often underdiagnosed, undertreated, and unaware of the need for cascade screening. Objectives The objectives were to identify the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia and FH in 2 national databases, explore lifestyle/medication adherence, and examine rates of cascade screening (lipid testing in all first-degree relatives) among those with FH. Methods This was a cross-sectional study of women who completed an online survey in 2014. Outcomes were examined for 3 groups: diagnosed, probable, and no FH. For FH, multivariable logistic regression was used to examine the association between family member screening for FH and sociodemographic and/or clinical characteristics. Results There were 761 respondents with a mean (±standard deviation) age of 59 ± 10.1 years; 26% reported FH, 22% probable FH, and 51% no FH. Eighty-three percent of the total sample and 95% with FH take a statin. In those with hypercholesterolemia and FH, 65% and 58% reported high medication adherence, respectively. Women with probable FH consumed significantly fewer fruits/vegetables and were less active. FH cascade screening was: siblings 54%, parents 37%, and children 34%. Marital status, annual household income, and diabetes were significantly associated with cascade screening. Conclusion In a survey of informed women with hypercholesterolemia and FH, cascade screening is underused. Our findings warrant increased efforts to identify cascade screening barriers. Early detection and treatment of hypercholesterolemia/FH is a priority for women, and their first-degree relatives, as this may dramatically reduce cardiovascular disease impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-943
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Lipidology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Cascade screening
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Lifestyle
  • Medication adherence
  • Nutrition
  • Prevention
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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