Adv Nurse Pract. 1998 May; 6(5): 36-7, 39-41.
Cholesterol & atherosclerosis: a controversy resolved.
Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans, USA.
We should regard the so-called cholesterol "controversy" as resolved. Elevated cholesterol levels cause coronary disease and probably are an essential ingredient for the development of atherosclerosis. Elevated cholesterol levels should be a cause for concern. From a public health point of view, the ultimate treatment of atherosclerosis will depend on major changes in the lifestyles of populations in developed countries, including a shift to diets that are largely vegetarian, as well as the elimination of tobacco use, an increase in regular exercise, and a reduction in the propensity of to increase weight, particularly with age. For patients at high risk for coronary events, including those with other coronary risk factors and with clinically established coronary disease, cholesterol lowering is absolutely essential. In the majority of cases, it will require not only dietary change but also cholesterol-lowering medication. Taken together, these public health and medical measures can massively reduce, if not eliminate, the burden of atherosclerosis that currently plaques developed countries and now threatens the developing world.