`Average' cholesterol may be too high


Most people with heart disease have average, not high, blood cholesterol levels--below 240. Can they still benefit from lower cholesterol? Yes, says a new study.

More specifically, those who have had a heart attack can cut the risk of a subsequent heart attack by 24% and the risk of stroke by 31%. Those were the impressive results of five years of research on 4,159 men and women. Half took a cholesterol-lowering drug called pravastatin and half a placebo.

Besides suffering fewer fatal heart attacks, the pravastatin group required fewer angioplasties and coronary bypasses. Those with the highest LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels at the start saw the most benefit. All this suggests that perhaps "average" cholesterol levels are too high.

The New England Journal of Medicine, October 3, 1996.

Share this with your friends