researchers – who have pushed people for years to lower their cholesterol – are
now calling on people with a risk of heart disease to lower their “bad
cholesterol” even more.
Cholesterol Education Program recently updated its recommendations, calling on
people who are at high risk for heart attack and death from cardiovascular
disease to lower their “bad cholesterol” level to 70. The previous
recommendation was 100.
“The lower the
better for high-risk people,” Dr. Scott Grundy of the American Heart
Association said in a statement.
guidelines were produced by a panel that examined five major clinical trials
involving cholesterol-lowering medications, the Heart Association said.
strong suggestive evidence that lower LDL cholesterol is better, but it has to
be balanced against the cost and side effects of achieving very low levels,” Grundy said.
require heavy doses of medication, many of which can have serious side effects.
The Heart Association stressed that people should also consider changing their
diet, losing weight and increasing physical activity.
“The idea that
you can use cholesterol-lowering drugs without lifestyle changes is incorrect,”
Grundy said. “Lifestyle changes have enormous benefits beyond lowering LDL
cholesterol, such as raising levels of good cholesterol, lowering
triglycerides, improving diabetes and reducing inflammation.”