Many of us are fighting high cholesterol. In many cases this fight is limited to adjusting our diet and exercise. A smaller number of us take medications, typically a drug selected from a group of drugs called Statins. New guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend that far more of us jump on that statin train. Here’s why.
These new guidelines recommend treatment decisions based on your answers to four simple questions.
1. Do you have heart disease?
2. Do you diabetes (type I or type II)
3. Is your “bad” cholesterol over 190?
4. Do you have more than a 7.5% chance of a heart attack over the next 10 years?
People with even one of these risk factors should be taking statins, according to these new guidelines. But how do you know your chance of having a heart attack, especially 10 years down the road? Part of the new guideline is a medical model that considers a number of factors (your age, gender, race, blood test results, blood pressure and overall medical condition) to arrive at a probability for a heart attack.
Will statins alone solve the problem? Probably not. Equally important are lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. Statins can’t counteract the impact of a high fat diet or a couch-potato life style. But taken together these actions can rapidly reduce the risk of heart disease caused by high cholesterol.
So continue to eat responsibly, exercise regularly, and get that cholesterol under control!