Last week the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued a major change in their recommendations regarding the use of the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. For the past decade statins have been prescribed to lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) below 100.
The new recommendations shift from triggering the use of a statin when a cholesterol level reaches a certain number to prescribing the drug for people who fall into one of four risk groups: people who already have heart disease, those whose LDL is very high (190 or more), those who are middle-aged and have type 2 diabetes, and those between 40 and 75 years of age whose estimated 10-year risk of heart disease is 7.5 percent or higher. (Check here for a heart disease risk calculator.)
The new criteria may mean more people will be prescribed a statin. Those who are already on such a drug but who do not fall within one of the risk groups should consult their doctors.