“Cholesterol is No Longer a Numbers Game”
For over three decades, we were told that our risk of heart attacks and strokes were directly related to our cholesterol numbers (LDL, HDL), but that notion is changing. Gone are the recommended LDL- and non-HDL–cholesterol targets, specifically treating patients with cardiovascular disease to less than 100 mg/dL or the optional goal of less than 70 mg/dL. There is no evidence from randomized, controlled clinical trials to support treatment to a specific target number. Thus, the new guidelines make no recommendations for specific LDL-cholesterol or non-HDL target numbers for the prevention of heart disease. The new guidelines were issued by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. Yet, these guidelines will more than double the population of adults taking statin drugs, because a cholesterol guideline panel has set a lower threshold for using cholesterol lowering medicines to reduce risk.