African Americans and Hispanics at Heightened Risk for High Cholesterol and Heart Disease

September marks National Cholesterol Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to test cholesterol levels and learn more about staying healthy.

According to the American Heart Association, 39 percent of African-American men and 41 percent of African-American women have high cholesterol or borderline high cholesterol. Despite being at increased risk for high cholesterol and the cardiovascular diseases it can cause, about one in three Americans has not had his or her cholesterol tested in the past five years.

High cholesterol also is a serious health concern in the Hispanic community. According to the American Heart Association, 48 percent of Mexican-American men and 45 percent of Mexican-American women have high cholesterol or borderline high cholesterol.

“Regular checkups are important because there are no obvious symptoms of high cholesterol. Starting at age 20, individuals should get their cholesterol checked at least once every five years,” said Dr. Melanie Gordon. “High cholesterol can cause a number of problems, including heart disease and stroke. CCHHS doctors can help patients manage their cholesterol levels to help them stay healthy.”

CountyCare, an Illinois Medicaid Health Plan supported by the Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS), covers cholesterol testing at no cost for its members.

CountyCare offers access to expert doctors through a network of more than 130 locations, including all of CCHHS locations. CountyCare is available for any Cook County resident with Medicaid, AllKids or FamilyCare coverage. Covered benefits include medical, pharmacy, dental and behavioral health services. To learn more about CountyCare call 312-864-8200 or visit

Doctors and medical staff at CCHHS can help patients determine whether they have healthy cholesterol levels. Doctors and nurses can provide tips on how to plan meals, as well as starting and maintaining an exercise program.

Find out more about healthy cholesterol today by visiting a CCHHS health center.