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National Cholesterol Education Month --- September 2005

High blood cholesterol is a modifiable risk factor for heart disease. To increase awareness of the importance of monitoring blood cholesterol and maintaining healthy levels, the National Cholesterol Education Program sponsors National Cholesterol Education Month each September.

Persons aged >20 years should have a complete fasting lipid profile (total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL], high density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL], and triglycerides) at least once every 5 years (1). LDL levels of <100 mg/dL are considered optimal (1). Atherogenesis is more likely to occur when LDL levels are borderline high (130--159 mg/dL), and risk for heart disease increases at levels that are >160 mg/dL. Total cholesterol should be below 200 mg/dL; total cholesterol of 200--239 mg/dL is borderline high, and total cholesterol exceeding 240 mg/dL is high. HDL cholesterol of <40 mg/dL is unfavorable (1).

Blood cholesterol can be reduced through lifestyle changes such as dietary improvement, physical activity, weight control, drug therapy, or a combination of these measures (1). Primary prevention should be targeted to persons with multiple risk factors (e.g., hypertension and family history of heart disease). During September, CDC-funded state heart-disease and stroke-prevention programs will work to increase awareness of high blood cholesterol and its relation to heart disease. Additional information is available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol, http:// www.americanheart.org/cld, and http://www.cdc.gov/cvh.

References

  1. National Cholesterol Education Program. Executive summary of the third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (ATP III). JAMA 2001; 285:2486--97.

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Date last reviewed: 9/7/2005

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