Cardiovascular (CV) disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for approximately 31.4% of deaths globally in 2012. It is estimated that, from 1980 to 2000, reduction in total cholesterol accounted for a 33% decrease in coronary heart disease (CHD) deaths in the United States. In other developed countries, similar decreases in CHD deaths (ranging from 19%-46%) have been attributed to reduction in total cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) has now largely replaced total cholesterol as a risk marker and the primary treatment target for hyperlipidemia. Reduction in LDL-C levels by statin-based therapies has been demonstrated to result in a reduction in the risk of nonfatal CV events and mortality in a continuous and graded manner over a wide range of baseline risk and LDL-C levels. This article provides a review of (1) the relationship between LDL-C and CV risk from a biologic, epidemiologic, and genetic standpoint; (2) evidence-based strategies for LDL-C lowering; (3) lipid-management guidelines; (4) new strategies to further reduce CV risk through LDL-C lowering; and (5) population-level and health-system initiatives aimed at identifying, treating, and lowering lifetime LDL-C exposure.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Epidemiology; Guidelines; LDL-C; Lipid-lowering therapy; Morbidity; Mortality; Risk.
Copyright © 2015 National Lipid Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.