New Statin Guidelines

A recent list of recommendations from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology discusses the idea of a broader application of statin medications, which help lower cholesterol.

Both organizations say this change in statin guidelines can help more people and that doctors shouldn’t simply prescribe the medications based on a certain cholesterol number. The guidelines help physicians do what many of us have already been doing when it comes to broadening the appropriate use of statins.

The medications can help patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease in the form of prior overt or silent heart attacks; anginal syndromes from a cardiac cause; with a coronary stent; history of heart bypass; and those with diabetes other peripheral vascular disease; and elevated heart and stroke risk assessed patients. This is so because statins’ benefits clearly outweigh their potential drawbacks, as long as patients discuss it with their doctors.

Aside from lifestyle modification, higher-risk patients deserve aggressive medical interventions. If, by some estimates, there are more than 700,000 heart attacks per year in America — especially with rampant “diabesity,” hypertension and smoking — we need to stem the tide with every tool we have at our disposal, including this change to statin guidelines.

If you wonder if the new statin guidelines affect you, consult your personal physician. Your doctor will use your medical history, cholesterol level and other guidelines to determine if this medication is appropriate. Of course, a healthy diet and good amount of exercise are also critical in improving your cholesterol level.

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