What You Must Know About New Cholesterol Guidelines

What You Must Know About New Cholesterol Guidelines

November 13th, 2013 // 5:46 pm @

The American Heart Assn. and the American College of Cardiology this week came out with new cholesterol guidelines that are designed to cut down on cardiovascular risks. They are a marked change from the last guidelines, which were last updated 9 years ago. Here are the most important things that people must know:

1. The Guidelines Move Away from Target Cholesterol Levels

Americans have always been told to focus on their cholesterol numbers and many people now want to always check their lab results and try to get better numbers. Doctors were told to focus on the numbers. That is not going to happen anymore. These new guidelines stress not if drug therapy is making your cholesterol numbers better but if your risk for heart disease and stroke is being reduced. Studies in recent years show that improving your cholesterol numbers does not mean you are lowering your risk of heart attack. Drugs have many effects on the body, and the drug dropping your cholesterol numbers does not mean it will stop a heart attack.

2. Be Aware of Your Risks

The new guidelines are going to focus on your overall heart disease and stroke risk, not on the cholesterol numbers. Drug treatment will be recommended for those with higher risks. So, the new advice is to know your risk level. There are online calculators to help you calculate your risk of heart attack.

3. Use Drugs That Are Proven to Cut Risks

In the previous era, there was an idea that any drug that would lower your LDL was most important, as long as the bottom line number dropped. But there have been many studies that show that the popular drugs that drop the lab test numbers do not actually reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.

The new information shows that statins are the most likely to have a positive effect on lowering risk. Statins actually seem to lower your risk of heart attack regardless of what your overall cholesterol numbers read.

So, the data show that if you are using drug therapy, you should really be using statins to drop your risk of heart attack.


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