Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The New Cholesterol Guidelines Leave the Choice Up to You

The new American Heart Association guidelines for preventing cardiovascular events mandate that the doctor estimates your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.  If that risk is greater than 7.5%, you are considered eligible for taking a statin drug.  A problem is that the risk calculators in common use, such as the Framingham Risk Calculator, consider only a few factors (age, sex, total cholesterol, HDL, and blood pressure).  According to researchers at Duke University, for men 60 years or older, 87% are now statin eligible, whereas only 30% were eligible under the old guidelines.  The good news is that doctors are now required to have a discussion with their patients explaining their overall cardiac risk, which might include other risk factors, such as obesity, stress, inactivity, and in my opinion, toxic metals.  Then the patient is supposed to decide whether he or she wants to take the drug or not.  The doctor is then required to accept the choice made by the patient.  This is a big change in guideline history.  Just say “no”; the choice is up to you.

See the Toledo Blade, March 20, 2014 issue, section A, page 4.

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