Lipid abnormalities in foreign-born and US-born patients in a medical group
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BACKGROUND: With an increasing foreign-born population in the United States, cardiovascular risk reduction through effective lipid treatment strategy is precluded by limited lipid profile information. OBJECTIVE: This study compares the patterns of lipid abnormalities of foreign-born and US-born patients treated by a single medical group. METHODS: We conducted a medical record review of 53,361 US-born and 6430 foreign-born patients in 2010. RESULTS: Compared with US-born, a higher proportion of foreign-born patients are younger than 40 years (26% vs 14%), receive Medicaid (24% vs 8%), and are less likely to be obese (26% vs 43%). More foreign-born patients have diabetes (25% vs 22%), are poor (4.7% vs 3.6%), and not on lipid-lowering drugs (63% vs 56%). Place of birth is not associated with total cholesterol levels. Adjusted for social and demographic characteristics, however, foreign-born are more likely than US-born to have elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (adjusted difference, 2.1; 95% CI, 0.6-3.7), depressed high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (adjusted difference, 6.1; 95% CI, 4.4-7.8), and elevated triglycerides (adjusted difference, 2.4; 95% CI, 0.8-4.1). Foreign-born patients, on lipid-lowering medications, are more likely to still have elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (adjusted difference, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.4-5.6). CONCLUSION: Despite having a similar distribution of total cholesterol as their US-born counterparts, the other lipid fractions among foreign-born patients are more likely to be pathologic. Therefore, dyslipidemia screening tests need to include the lipid subfractions. The higher prevalence of dyslipidemias, both among foreign-born patients with and without lipid-lowering medications, challenges medical groups to intensify effective lipid treatment strategies.
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