Evidence from epidemiologic studies and clinical trials have conclusively demonstrated a direct association between coronary artery disease and levels of total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Data from a number of studies suggest that even "average" or "normal" cholesterol levels are too high with respect to coronary artery disease risk. Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol have also emerged as a coronary artery disease risk. A recent meta-analysis has eliminated much of the controversy surrounding triglyceride's contribution to coronary artery disease risk, establishing triglyceride levels as an independent risk factor. Lowering lipid levels by any means-including pharmacologic, surgical, and dietary/lifestyle changes--decreases coronary artery disease risk.