Researchers collected data from 1,116 people aged 35-74 living in the rural southeast of Australia over five years, and they found that reducing cholesterol and blood pressure in the general population would reduce the incidence of heart disease by 19.3 percent.
More drastic reductions in the high-risk group, people who have dangerously high cholesterol and blood pressure, would only reduce heart disease by 12.6 percent.
And the best results can be achieved by a combination of both strategies, as the research published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia found that applying both strategies would reduce disease by 24.1 percent.
The study was conducted by Professor Erkki Vartiainen from the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and Flinders University in South Australia.
“These results of the analyses support the need for combining high-risk and population strategies,” Prof. Vartiainen told Australia Associated Press on Sunday.
He noted that more data was needed to estimate the proportion of the population at high risk and the resources that would be needed to intervene.
These estimates are crucial for planning national preventive and management programs, he said.