Nearly 75 percent of patients hospitalized for a heart attack had cholesterol levels that would indicate they were not at high risk for a cardiovascular event, according to current national cholesterol guidelines, according to a new national study.

Specifically, these patients had low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or "good cholesterol," levels that met current guidelines, and close to half had LDL, or "bad cholesterol," levels classified in guidelines as optimal (less than 100 mg/dL).

"Almost 75 percent of heart attack patients fell within recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines may not be low enough to cut heart attack risk in most who could benefit," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study's principal investigator.

Dr. Fonarow, you may won't to read the numerous medical studies including the study that appeared in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, which reported in 1994 that most individuals with coronary artery disease have normal cholesterol levels! A follow-up study to the now infamous 1948 Framingham study shows that our rush to squelch total cholesterol levels may have been in error. In individuals who are over the age of 65, lowering cholesterol can increase the risk of mortality. To cite the Framingham authors: "For each 1 mg/dl drop of cholesterol there was an 11 percent increase in coronary and total mortality."