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ABSTRACT

This editorial outlines the data supporting aggressive lipid goals and options for treating low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to a range of approximately 30 to 70 mg/dl. The physiologically normal cholesterol range is approximately 30 to 70 mg/dl for native hunter-gatherers, healthy human neonates, free-living primates, and virtually all wild mammals. Randomized statin trials in patients with recent acute coronary syndromes and stable coronary artery disease have demonstrated that cardiovascular events are reduced and cardiovascular survival optimized when LDL cholesterol is reduced to <70 mg/dl. Secondary prevention trials have shown a decrease in all-cause mortality in proportion to the magnitude of LDL cholesterol reduction. An original analysis of available data shows that the ability of a lipid-lowering therapy to reduce the C-reactive protein level is closely correlated with its efficacy in LDL cholesterol reduction. Randomized trial data have shown no relation between either percentage LDL cholesterol decrease or final LDL cholesterol level achieved and the risk for myopathy or hepatic transaminase elevations associated with statins. Therefore, intensive LDL cholesterol reduction to levels of 30 to 70 mg/dl should be pursued in subjects with or at high risk for coronary artery disease.

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