The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) today issued major new clinical practice guidelines on the prevention and management of high cholesterol in adults. The guidelines are the first major update from NCEP in nearly a decade.
NCEP, which is coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), develops new guidelines as warranted by research advances. Earlier guidelines were issued in 1988 and 1993.
An executive summary of the new guidelines, the "Third Report of the NCEP Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults," also known as Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III, appears in the May 16, 2001, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Key changes in the new guidelines are: more aggressive cholesterol-lowering treatment and better identification of those at high risk for a heart attack; use of a lipoprotein profile as the first test for high cholesterol; a new level at which low HDL (high-density lipoprotein) becomes a major heart disease risk factor; a new set of "Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes," with more power to improve cholesterol levels; a sharper focus on a cluster of heart disease risk factors known as "the metabolic syndrome;" and increased attention to the treatment of high triglycerides.
The new guidelines are expected to substantially expand the number of Americans being treated for high cholesterol, including raising the number on dietary treatment from about 52 million to about 65 million and increasing the number prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug from about 13 million to about 36 million.
"Americans at high risk for a heart attack are too often not identified and, so, don't receive sufficiently aggressive treatment," said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant. "Yet, studies show conclusively that lowering the level of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the bad cholesterol,' can reduce the short-term risk for heart disease by as mu
Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute