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Understanding the Heart

A quote from Dr Stephen Hussey DC, MS book, Understanding the Heart:

"It’s also important to understand that the “normal ranges” of LDL cholesterol have changed over the years. In 1984, the NIH (National Institute of Health) held a conference with the goal of coming to a consensus on whether cholesterol was good or bad.[i] As a result of their incorrect conclusion that it was bad, an organization called the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) was created to educate doctors on how to define and treat their at-risk patients. Unfortunately, the NCEP’s definition of “normal” started being heavily influenced by drug companies who profit from doctors using LDL lowering drugs.[ii] As the recommendation for what a healthy LDL is became lower and lower at subsequent meetings of the NCEP, the bigger the market for LDL lowering medications.  At first, it was supposed to be no higher than 250. Then they lowered it to 200. Then 150, then 100, now they say it needs to be under 100. To me this suggests we have lost a true understanding of what “normal” is. For what it’s worth, a 2020 study looked at the association of cholesterol levels and all-cause mortality and found that having LDL cholesterol between 117 mg/dL and 137 mg/dL (above the recommendation of lower than 100) associated with the lowest all-cause mortality and that lower than 84 mg/dL associated with the highest all-mortality.[iii]"

[i] The national institutes of health (NIH) consensus development program: Lowering blood cholesterol to prevent heart disease (7). (1984). National Institutes of Health.

[ii] Kolata, G. (1985). Heart panel's conclusions questioned. Science, 227(4682), 40-41.

[iii] Zhou, L., Wu, Y., Yu, S., Shen, Y., & Ke, C. (2020). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and all-cause mortality: Findings from the China health and retirement longitudinal study. BMJ Open, 10(8), e036976.


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