Mortality for cardiovascular disease has declined steadily since the 1960s, but these disorders still remain the leading cause of death for both men and women of all races and ethnicities in Western countries. Given that several epidemiologic studies have identified a variety of risk factors, population screening plays an important role in an attempt to reduce onset, progression and complication of cardiovascular events. Abnormal serum lipids are thought to play a causative role in atherosclerosis and have received prominent attention in the attack on cardiovascular disease. In particular, serum cholesterol has received the most focus when a direct relationship could be demonstrated between the levels of total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the cardiovascular risk. Hence, cholesterol screening programmes have become commonplace worldwide.
Inappropriate testing in some circumstances would be associated with unjustified expenditures for national healthcare systems, even for a simple and nominally inexpensive laboratory test.
Appropriateness of cholesterol screening: From recommendation to clinical practice
Image credits: Jessica O’Brien