Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. It has, for the most part, been recognized as a severe health threat but the avenue of approach for prevention and treatment leave a lot to be desired.

Cholesterol has been given the blame for causing heart disease but it is merely one of the culprits. Eliminating or dramatically reducing cholesterol is not the answer. Eliminating cholesterol from your diet will do little or nothing to reduce total serum levels since the majority of cholesterol is made in your liver. Currently, a lipid panel consists of total cholesterol, HDL or good cholesterol, LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol, the cardiac risk ratio which is the total cholesterol divided by the good cholesterol and triglycerides.

There are independent factors that are major contributors to heart disease and are even more important than cholesterol in the assessment of the risk for heart disease and stroke. High Sensitivity C- Reactive protein measures inflammation of the vascular system. Homocysteine is a substance that scars the arterial wall so that the passing fats have something to adhere to as the pass through the artery. Fibrinogen can be measured as an indicator of potential clot formation. LDL cholesterol should be broken down into more specific categories to reveal a more accurate potential threat. Triglycerides are one of the easiest lipids to get under control and elevation of these could also be an indicator for the potential for diabetes.

Accurate assessment should be performed early on and then nutritional intervention established to prevent or reverse cardiovascular risk factors. Heart disease is, for the most part, preventable. It is a chronic disease of poor lifestyle and nutrition. It is not just a disease of elevated cholesterol. Patients should not be lulled into a false sense of security because their cholesterol is below 200.