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March 2014
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New Guidleines To Fight Heart Disease

heart 2The American Heart Association announced new guidelines and recommendations dealing with high cholesterol in people at risk for cardiovascular diseases caused by hardening and narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to strokes, heart attacks, or death.
The guidelines identified four major groups of patients that the use of statins have the best chance of preventing heart attacks and strokes.

Statins are a group of medicines that are frequently used to lower blood cholesterol levels. Some types of statins Lipitor, Pravacol, Crestor, Zocor and Lescol. There are also lower cost generic forms available.
Neil J. Stone, MD, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and chair of the expert panel that wrote the new guideline said the panel wanted those “who would likely benefit most”. He said it does not focus on a “specific target level…of cholesterol, but instead focused on defining groups for whom LDL lowering is proven to be most beneficial.”
heartThe new guidelines recommend moderate or high intensity statin therapy for these four groups:
 Patients who have cardiovascular disease
 Patients with an LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or higher;
 Patients with Type 2 diabetes who are between 40 and 75 years of age; and
 Patients with an estimated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease who are between 40 and 75 years of age (the report provides formulas for calculating 10-year risk).
“Statins were chosen because their use has resulted in the greatest benefit and the lowest rates of safety issues. No other cholesterol-lowering drug is as effective as statins,” said Dr. Stone.
The report also stresses the importance of lifestyle in managing cholesterol and preventing heart disease. “The cornerstone of all guidelines dealing with cholesterol is a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Stone. “That is particularly important in the young, because preventing high cholesterol later in life is the first and best thing someone can do to remain heart-healthy. On the other hand, if someone already has atherosclerosis, lifestyle changes alone are not likely to be enough to prevent heart attack, stroke, and death, and statin therapy will be necessary.”
If you find yourself a member of one of the groups, you should consult your Dr. and talk with them about these new recommendations. As always, you should not make any changes in your medications without your Dr’s approval.
If you have questions about the new guidelines, you should call your Doctor and/or speak with them at your next appointment.
To find ways to become more heart healthy, please see the American Heart Association’s web site for more information.

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