National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) reports provide
recommendations for the management of LDL ("bad") cholesterol
using cholesterol-lowering drugs in patients at higher risk
for heart disease. The report guidelines consider factors
such as cholesterol levels, age, family history, high blood
pressure, and presence of diabetes. The third and most recent
report by the program redefines guidelines for eligibility
for cholesterol drugs based on "bad" cholesterol levels and
A study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart
Association determined the possible impact of the revised
recommendations on Americans, using a sample of almost 14,000
people. These individuals, who all had some cardiovascular
risk factors, were assessed for eligibility for cholesterol
drugs under the previous program guidelines, as well as the
new guidelines. The revised guidelines suggest that people
with much lower LDL cholesterol levels can receive drug treatments.
Under the new guidelines, almost two-and-a-half times as
many Americans are eligible for drug treatment for high cholesterol
and heart-disease risk. Approximately 15 million individuals
were eligible for cholesterol drugs under the previous guidelines,
but 36 million will now be eligible. The estimated increases
in eligibility by category include a 200% increase for all
those under age 45 and a 150% increase among men.
The long-term side effects of cholesterol drugs are largely
unknown, especially in younger patients. If you have high
cholesterol, talk to your doctor of chiropractic about conservative
treatment approaches instead of taking drugs, especially if
you are younger and have only marginally high cholesterol.
Fedder DO, Koro CE, L'Italien GJ. New National Cholesterol
Education Program III Guidelines for primary prevention lipid-lowering
drug therapy: Projected impact on the size, sex, and age distribution
of the treatment-eligible population. Circulation: Journal
of the American Heart Association 2002:105, pp. 152-156.
For information on the dangers of drugs, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/general/drugs/index.html.