Managing cholesterol is an important part of staying heart healthy. When it comes to understanding the new cholesterol guidelines, experts say there are a few things to keep in mind:
That’s why high LDL or total cholesterol levels should ideally trigger a conversation between you and your clinician about your personal risk, or chance, of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Similarly, you should review other factors — in addition to cholesterol — that raise your risk of a heart attack or stroke; for example, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, family history of heart attack or stroke.
And this shouldn’t be a one-time conversation because the risk for heart disease and treatments change over time. Your cholesterol levels should also be re-checked on occasion to see if your treatment is working.
A healthy lifestyle—exercising, heart-healthy eating, maintaining a healthy body weight and not smoking—will also help you feel better overall.
Making healthy choices every day can help to:
Statins are the go-to medication for lowering LDL cholesterol. Studies show they can also:
Non-statin therapies should be discussed and considered when:
That’s why the updated guidelines have been expanded to give clinicians the tools to tailor cholesterol treatments and be able to assess cardiovascular risk in many different types of patients. For example, people:
In addition, they are designed to offer guidance on preventing:
Be aware of other conditions that increase your chances of having a heart problems. Cholesterol is only one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Other things that increase your risk may also need to be addressed. For example:
Be sure to talk with your clinician about other health issues that worry you.
What You Can Do