For years doctors have been telling these patients and preaching to people with high risk that they should strive to get their low-density lipoproteins (LDL) count down to at least 100 or below.
If you’re in either of these categories and working with medications and diet to reach that magic number you know how difficult that can be.
Well hang on to your hat because things just got worse.
A study presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology and published in the New England Journal of Medicine proposed that individuals could significantly reduce their risk of heart attacks and stroke if they can get their LDL below 80. This would translate to your total cholesterol level to be well below 180.
The study, sponsored by Pfizer, involved over 10,000 patients and was one of the first studies that really suggested having much lower LDL is one of the most significant tools in reducing heart disease risk.
Some time ago, the American Heart Association suggested that high-risk patients should receive treatments that would bring their LDL below 70.
Individuals who are in the high-risk categories or those who cannot control their cholesterol levels with diet and exercise alone need to be in partnership with their physician and may need to use aggressive drug therapy to get within these ranges.
Statin drugs such as Lipitor (Pfizer manufactures Lipitor) or Zocur have been used in higher than recommended doses in high-risk patients to bring levels within acceptable ranges with very little side effects.
There are a few more studies under way and the findings from these will certainly shed a little more light on the subject but one thing is certain, LDL levels are not going to get any higher.
Want a financial tip? Buy stocks in companies that produce these statin drugs because these studies are going to certainly make these companies busy!
I lectured, not very long ago, about what I believe is the overuse of the medical system.
I received numerous calls and letters from people on both sides of the issue.
Those who believe you can’t be too careful and go to their doctors often and those who see a physician only in emergency situations.
Of course there are a lot of us who are somewhat in the middle.
If you are over 30 years of age, 20 pounds over your normal body weight, haven’t exercised in years and your hit and miss on your dietary needs you should be seeing your doctor on a regular basis.
Now, if you have a mother or father who has or had heart problems you have just tripled the reasons you should being seeing your doctor…now!
If you are overweight and haven’t done anything about it in years you have probably entered into the high-risk category that is talked about in that study, but you don’t have to stay there.
Most people can control their cholesterol levels with exercise and proper nutrition.
It is not the norm to be on statin drugs. Unfortunately we’ve become such an obese society that taking drugs to lower cholesterol seems to be “the rage.”
I have heard everyday conversations that speak to the commonality of using drugs to control cholesterol.
“Did you take your Lipitor today?” “No, I’m on Zucor, but just a very low dose.”
“Is it helping you?” “Oh yes, I’m just so thankful it’s available.”
“By the way I heard your doctor suggested that you should start exercising and eating a little differently.”
“He certainly did and I am going to start next week...no not next week, I’ve got meetings.”
“The following week then?”
“Yep, well no, we start our vacation that week I will start the week after, yeah that’s what I’ll do!”
Get my drift?
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