If you have gone to a doctor recently, chances are they checked your cholesterol. If it was too high, they put you on a statin such as Lipitor to help reduce it. Well now they are changing the standard by which cholesterol is treated. So if you’re not on medicine to lower your cholesterol yet, you might be soon.
New Treatment For Cholesterol
The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new treatment guidelines calling for a focus on risk factors rather than just cholesterol levels. So if you know your number, it might not matter anymore. The new guidelines could double the amount of people on medication to lower their cholesterol.
For many years, the goal was to get the ‘bad’ cholesterol levels — or LDL levels — below 100 but those targets have been completely eliminated in the new guidelines. In their place, the guidelines suggest using specific risk factors to determine who should be treated with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and who should simply make lifestyle changes.
Among the four questions to ask to determine risks: Do you have heart disease? Do you have diabetes (Type 1 or 2)? Do you have a bad cholesterol level more than 190? And is your 10-year risk of a heart attack greater than 7.5%? So if you answered yes to any of those four questions, you should be on a statin. Period.
The question everyone will have now is where do they fit in based on those questions. For some it will simply be a lifestyle and behavior change to help manage high cholesterol. For most an equation was set-up based on studies that factor in age, sex, race, total and HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, blood pressure treatment status as well as diabetes and current smoking status. Each of those factors is assigned a numerical value and can be used to determine individual risk percentage.
The greatest strength behind these guidelines is that they hit at the heart of prevention — which is that lifestyle, rather than treating isolated risk factors, is the key to reducing risk of chronic disease. It is no longer the focus on ‘quick fix’ answers such as a pill. Now the risk reduction from lifestyle changes, such as exercise three-four days a week, reduces risk nearly double to that from any one of the medication interventions.”
It is a good thing now that lipitor has gone generic and has become cheaper. Since there will be so many more people taking statins now. Some say that prescriptions will double which will bring more money to generic pharmaceutical companies. It is not, however, going to bring large amounts of money to the pharmaceutical companies. Most generic prescriptions cost about $10 for a 3 month supply. There is also the concern of side effects with prolonged use .
I guess diet and exercise are back in vogue. No more magic pill to control cholesterol and have you cake too. Do you agree with the new cholesterol standards?