New Cholesterol Guidelines Take Aim at Heart Attacks and Strokes
For the first time in a decade, America has new guidelines for preventing heart attacks and strokes, including a recommendation that twice as many adults be steered towards cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. A combination effort by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology used a new formula to estimate a person’s risk for not only heart attacks, but strokes as well.
While the definition of high cholesterol remains the same, treatment goals are receiving a makeover. “The emphasis is to try to treat more appropriately,” said Dr. Neil Stone, the Northwestern University doctor in charge of the panel. “We’re going to give statins to those who are the most likely to benefit.”
Under the new guidelines, 33 million Americans (44 percent of men and 22 percent of women) would meet the standard for statin drug consideration. Currently, about 15 percent of adults take statins. High cholesterol creates a hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart attack or stroke. Since cholesterol is produced in the liver, dietary changes have a limited effect in reversing the process.
Many members of the cholesterol panel have financial ties to one or more heart drug manufacturers, but those who did were not allowed to vote on the recommendations. (Derek Dowell – VNN) (Image: Flickr | aSIMULAtor)