Widespread screening programs and new guidelines by advisory panels to the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Md) are starting up a flood of patients coming to their physicians for assistance in lowering their blood cholesterol levels. A panel named by the National Cholesterol Education Program recently recommended that all adults in the United States with blood cholesterol values greater than 6.21 mmol/L (240 mg/dL) (or >5.17 mmol/L [>200 mg/dL] in men with one additional risk factor and women with two additional risk factors) should lower their cholesterol levels.1 Whether or not one agrees with the new recommendations, they will have a big impact on medical practice. Instead of just dealing with the occasional patient with severe hyperlipidemia, physicians will face increasing numbers of purportedly "normal" adults who now are being told that their blood cholesterol value is too high. These patients will descend on a
See also p 1046.