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Prev Cardiol. 2005 Summer;8(3):173-7.

Non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: why lower is better.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Preventive Cardiology Center, Division of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Recent comparative trials of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) suggest that lower is better and that reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels to below 100 mg/dL can provide additional clinical benefit. Non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) contains more atherogenic cholesterol than LDL-C and is considered a more accurate measurement of the total amount of atherogenic particles in the circulation. Therefore, the principle that "lower is better" may also apply to lowering levels of non-HDL-C. In persons with high triglycerides (200-499 mg/dL), LDL-C remains the primary target of therapy, but non-HDL-C is an important secondary therapeutic target. Non-HDL-C is strongly correlated with small dense LDL as well as apolipoprotein B, an established predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. Current evidence indicates that statins not only rapidly and dramatically reduce LDL-C, but also have a similar effect on non-HDL-C, and that the greater the reduction in LDL-C, the greater will be the reduction in non-HDL-C.

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