Help Curb Cardiovascular Disease by Focusing on Risk Assessment and Hyperlipidemia Screening

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. The major risk factors contributing to the development of cardiac conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and tobacco use. Data from the CDC indicates that 71 million adults have high amounts of “bad” low-density lipoproteins (LDL) indicative of hyperlipidemia. High LDL cholesterol levels contribute to arterial plaque buildup and increase the risk of atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiac failure, and stroke. Hyperlipidemia is a co-morbid condition that often accompanies other chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

Hyperlipidemia is a significant concern for the communities we serve. According to the most recent data captured by the Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) tool, a combined average of 64 percent of the Medicare beneficiaries from across our regional service area are estimated to have hyperlipidemia. The state-wide prevalence of hyperlipidemia among Medicare beneficiaries is over 50 percent within each of our states. Screening patients for hyperlipidemia by ordering a lipid panel or lipid profile that includes results for total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides can help identify and treat this key cardiovascular disease risk factor promptly. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends annual screening for older adults. Lipid profile results will help assess the 10-year risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), heart attack, and stroke of patients at risk for heart disease to help guide the implementation of timely pharmacologic, lifestyle, and behavioral risk-reducing interventions.

Three Steps You Can Take to Curb Cardiovascular Disease Among Your At-Risk Patients

  1. Ensure that your patients take advantage of their Medicare Part B preventative screening benefits which include blood tests for cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels which help detect conditions like hyperlipidemia that may lead to a heart attack or stroke. (CPT/HCPCS Codes: 82465, 80061, 83718, 84478).
  2. Complete a 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk estimation for all your high-risk patients to determine their risk of heart disease or stroke.
  3. Provide patients with tools and resources to keep track of their risk factors for cardiovascular disease.