My Cholesterol Is Too Low for the Heart Attack Risk Calculator!

I tried to use the Nation­al Cho­les­terol Edu­ca­tion Program’s Risk Assess­ment Tool for Esti­mat­ing Your 10-Year Risk of Hav­ing a Heart Attack. I entered my data on the form, and I got back an error mes­sage, telling me to enter a total cho­les­terol val­ue of 130 or greater! Accord­ing to the cal­cu­la­tor, even if my cho­les­terol went up to 130 mg/dL, I’d still have less than a 1% chance of hav­ing a heart attack with­in the next 10 years.

(Note: here’s a live ver­sion of the tool, which does not give an error mes­sage:

If I ran the Nation­al Cho­les­terol Edu­ca­tion Pro­gram, I’d real­ly edu­cate peo­ple about cho­les­terol. I’d tell them the sim­ple truth: that when you keep your total cho­les­terol at less than 150 mg/dL, coro­nary artery dis­ease ceas­es to exist. Near­ly every­one can eas­i­ly achieve that goal by eat­ing a low-fat (<10% of calo­ries), plant-based diet.

Instead, the NCEP tells peo­ple that a total cho­les­terol lev­el of  up to 200 mg/dL is “desir­able.” Lots of peo­ple with this “desir­able” cho­les­terol lev­el are dying of heart attacks, which is why many peo­ple, includ­ing many doc­tors, are con­fused.Pho­to by win­nifredx­oxo