Coronary heart disease (CHD) remains the leading cause of death in the United States today, despite significant declines over the past 20 years. Coronary heart disease is not a chance occurrence, but rather is largely attributable to known risk factors. The major risk factors are elevated blood cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and smoking. Elevated blood cholesterol level (defined here as a level ≥5.17 mmol/L [≥200 mg/dL]) may be the most important of these three in that it may be a prerequisite for the development of CHD.1
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The recently released Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program's (NCEP) Expert Panel on the Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults recommended that levels of blood cholesterol of 6.21 mmol/L (240 mg/dL) or greater be classified as high, levels of 5.17 to 6.18 mmol/L (200 to 239 mg/dL) be classified as borderline high, and