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July 19, 2000

Early Detection of High Cholesterol Levels in Young Adults

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Center for Human Nutrition, Departments of Clinical Nutrition and Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

JAMA. 2000;284(3):365-367. doi:10.1001/jama.284.3.365

Although an elevated serum cholesterol level is well established as one of the most important risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD), the long-term impact of elevated cholesterol levels in young adults (<40 years) has not been well documented. In this issue of THE JOURNAL, Stamler and colleagues1 present data from 3 cohorts of younger men from 3 well-known prospective studies that demonstrate a continuous, graded relationship of serum cholesterol levels with long-term risk of CHD, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and all-cause mortality. The authors also demonstrate that compared with younger men with favorable cholesterol levels, those with elevated cholesterol levels have substantial absolute risk and excess risk of death from CHD and CVD as well as shorter estimated life expectancy.