Last week the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new guidelines with respect to the use of statin drugs (cholesterol lowering drugs) for the management of heart and stroke risk.
The new drug, according to this New York Times article, divides people needing treatment into two broad risk categories.
If you are at high risk–you have diabetes, have already had a heart attack, or have LDL cholesterol levels of 190 or more–you simply take the drug. The amount by which it lowers your cholesterol is irrelevant. You just need to keep taking it.
If you aren’t in the first risk group, you are to determine your 10-year risk. The risk assessor takes into account your gender, age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and smoking. If you score greater than 7.5%, you will be recommended to take the drug regardless of your cholesterol levels.
A Better Guideline
Statin research has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years. The argument in favour of statins is that they reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
In fact, there’s far better evidence to support that the following will decrease your risk of heart and stroke: Quit smoking, lose weight, exercise daily, get on an anti-inflammatory diet (by avoiding your food intolerances), manage your stress and support your adrenal glands.
The side effect of the drug? Muscle pain and liver damage (to name a few). The side effect of actually changing your risk factors? Better energy, better sleep, normal weight, better mood and self-confidence, balanced hormones and healthier body.
Taking a drug to manage risk might feel easier, but it sure isn’t better. Ask for help and make the changes to your life. You can do it!