In connection with a screening investigation for high blood cholesterol in middle-aged men in general practice in the Municipality of Copenhagen, all participants with cholesterol values greater than or equal to 7.5 mmol/l were given brief advice by their own general practitioner and were invited to come for fasting blood lipid tests approximately ten days later. In cases with continued cholesterol greater than or equal to 6.8 mmol/l, the participants together with wives or partners were invited to formalized dietary advice in small groups. Already before the formalized dietary advice, an average decrease in serum cholesterol of 10% was observed. This was attributed to biological variation, absence of fasting, the degree of error between the measuring methods and also a genuine decrease on the basis of the brief dietary advice by the general practitioner. On control after dietary advice, a further decrease in cholesterol of 15% was observed while low density lipoprotein cholesterol fell by 20% and triglycerides by 23%. These decreases must be considered to result mainly from the dietary advice. It is concluded that a single but professional session of dietary advice in small groups and with involvement of the wives or partners is an effective method of treatment in hypercholesterolaemia. If the decrease in cholesterol obtained can be maintained, the literature suggests that the risk of development of ischaemic heart disease during the subsequent 5-7 years is reduced by 20-30%.
A screening investigation was carried out in a large industry in the Copenhagen region and 1,472 of the employees were offered examination of blood cholesterol and measurement of blood pressure. At this examination the employees completed a one-page questionnaire about other cardiovascular risk factors. 45% of those invited participated in the investigation, the poorest participation was among women and the greatest among the male officials. On account of the limited number of female employees, the majority of results were only calculated for men. Over 1/3 of these had hypercholesteremia (greater than or equal to 7.0 mmol/l) and nearly 1/3 had, simultaneously, at least two cardiovascular risk factors in addition to age and male sex. Extensive occupational investigations under the auspices of WHO have demonstrated that energetic intervention at the place of work aimed at the cardiovascular risk factors can reduce the risk of development of coronary heart disease and death within a six-year follow-up period. It is therefore emphasized that similar interventions are very necessary also in Denmark.
At present, it appears to be probable that both dietary changes and medicinal treatment can reduce the risk of development of coronary disease in middle-aged men with moderately to severely raised blood cholesterol values. Internationally, the limits for cholesterol intervention are considerably lower than in Denmark. Extensive cholesterol screening is, however, very expensive and the identified persons with high cholesterol values will frequently be found in sex and age groups where the beneficial effect of intervention is probably limited. A model for selective cholesterol screening in high risk groups in general practice is described here. In 20 general practices, all of the men aged 45-59 years belonging to the practice were invited to examination of cholesterol and blood pressure. Plasma cholesterol was measured by means of a Reflotron (results are available within three minutes) and the blood pressure and tobacco consumption were registered. After this, the patient's own general practitioner calculated with each of the persons the risk for development of myocardial infarction within the next ten years and intervention could be commenced immediately. 41% of those invited came for examination. Out of these, 29% had cholesterol values greater than or equal to 7.0 mmol/l (Danish limiting value), 44% greater than or equal to 6.5 mmol/l (limiting value in the remainder of Western Europe), and 5% greater than or equal to 9.0 mmol/l (severe hypercholesterolaemia) while only 18% had completely normal cholesterol less than 5.2 mmol/l. In every practice, two patients on an average were found with severe hypercholesterolaemia greater than or equal to 9.0 mmol/l. 28% of the participants had at least two of the three risk factors investigated. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)