When A Cholesterol Test Becomes A Vice Instead Of A Virtue

That is the title of an NPR news story by John Henning Shumman. A doctor was featured describing the overuse of cholesterol testing and how that test had become a national obsession  but for all the wrong reasons.

The MD featured was John Henning Schumann, a primary care doctor in Tulsa, OK, and a medical school teacher. Yes, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US.  “But cholesterol isn’t a disease. It’s what we euphemistically label as a risk factor.”

Further, “And though strong medical evidence compels us to treat certain patients for high cholesterol, it’s much less clear what to do with those of us who have higher cholesterol in the absence of additional risk factors, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, smoking or high blood pressure.”

Schumann also says, “… the longer I practice medicine, the more convinced I’m becoming that less is often more.”

Less is more is popping up more and more these days.  This is an emerging trend…I hope.

Hat’s off to Vik Khanna for the tip on this story.


Tom Emerick

Cracking Health Costs, the book, an Amazon best seller, is available on Amazon at a deeply discounted price.  Click here:  Cracking Health Costs: How to Cut Your Company’s Health Costs and Provide Employees Better Care by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting and co-founder of Edison Health. In December 2012, Tom was listed in Forbes.com as one of 13 unsung heroes changing healthcare forever. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in healthcare in the US for his work on medical ethics. Prior to consulting, Tom spent a number of years working for large corporations: Walmart Stores, Burger King, and British Petroleum.


  1. Al Lewis says:

    This excellent article and posting undermines the entire wellness industry, since they are basically all about testing cholesterol, the more the better.

  2. Tom Emerick says:

    Agreed. Thanks Al.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *