Health & Fitness: A How-To Guide on Cholesterol

New federal recommendations aim to set doctors straight

Doctors too need prescriptions. Although the link between cholesterol and such ailments as heart disease and stroke has been growing stronger for nearly two decades, physicians have often been slow to put this lesson into practice. A 1986 survey, conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Md., found that 50% to 75% of physicians failed to provide diet or drug treatment for patients with dangerously high cholesterol levels. Their inaction reflects both long-standing confusion over what constitutes a high cholesterol level and inexperience with the therapies.

To send a clear signal, a panel of experts assembled by...

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