How the medical community treats patients with high cholesterol changed dramatically in November 2013 when a new set of Guidelines for recommending cholesterol-lowering drugs was published. The newly published 2018 Guidelines both affirms that approach and adds several more specific recommendations.
A little history: the standard of care for those with high cholesterol before the 2013 Guidelines was for doctors to prescribe a statin—a prescription drug like Lipitor—to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol to a target figure. But the 2013 Guidelines abandoned that ‘treat-to-target’ approach. Instead, the new Guidelines recommended doctors take a more holistic approach based on assessing a patient’s overall 10-year heart disease risk.
February is “American Heart Month,” which the CDC calls in the “Strong Men Put Their Health First” post as “a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.”
While I agree making changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health is important, why the CDC wrote this post about men is beyond me. Especially because heart disease is THE NUMBER 1 KILLER OF WOMEN in the US. Though this is frustrating, I provided a link to the CDC male-oriented page because there’s useful general info there.
It’s startling how much debate and disagreement exists about the guidelines for statin use.
Back in November 2013, new guidelines were published by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. The 2013 guidelines represented a significant shift in cholesterol management: essentially moving away from targeting/treating to a specific cholesterol level and instead encouraging treatment of all individuals with a 10-year risk of heart disease of 7.5% or higher (for specifics, see my post, The NEW guidelines for cholesterol-lowering statin meds).
There then ensued heated arguments over the published Risk Calculator that yields that all-important 10-year level of heart disease risk.
Exercise is one of the key methods for lowering cholesterol – and blood pressure, my new concern — without medications. So to reduce my blood pressure and to continue to keep my cholesterol in check without any meds, I’ve been wondering just how much, how hard, and how often I need to exercise.
In researching, I found this nifty chart from the American Heart Association. It’s a little busy, but the key is the bottom-most graphic, which is for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure (how handy that they are together goal-wise!)
Apparently, to lower cholesterol and blood pressure,
A new study published in March 2016 by McGill University’s George Thanassoulis, MD in the Circulation journal of the American Heart Association suggests that many identified as ‘Low Risk’ by the latest cholesterol treatment guidelines should be taking cholesterol-lowering statins.
The current guidelines for treating cholesterol, published with much fanfare and controversy in November 2013, moved away from targeting treatment to reach a specific cholesterol level and instead include a ‘calculator’ that measures risk. If a person’s risk is lower than 7.5% chance of heart disease in 10 years, statins are NOT recommended. (Details, including a link to the calculator,