Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Risk of Following Standard Reference Ranges

Standard laboratory reference ranges represent average populations and not optimal levels. In the 1960s, for instance, the upper reference range for cholesterol was 300 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). This number was based on a statistical calculation indicating that it was normalto have total cholesterol levels as high as 300 mg/dL. Of course, it was also considered normal for men to have fatal heart attacks at a relatively young age. As greater knowledge accumulated about the risk of heart attack and high cholesterol, the upper limit reference range has gradually dropped to 200 mg/dL (American Family Physician 2001; ADVANCEDATA 1977). Read more...

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