Millions of Americans take "statins", a name for drugs to get cholesterol down to a specific goal.
New guidelines from American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology are suggesting doctors throw out that certain number, and instead just get those folks who are high-risk started on the medications.
So, who is high risk?
The new guidelines target several groups, those who've had a heart attack or stroke, most adults with Type Two diabetes, and any patient with extremely high levels of cholesterol, or a family history of that.
And there's one more.
"There's really a new target group and those are individuals that fall between the ages of 40 and 75 that have a certain percentage risk of developing heart disease or stroke in the next 10 years," says Dr. Lori Mosca, with New York Presbyterian Hospital.
That would include all those people with other risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure or a strong family history.
So, we just thought statins were common; now, millions more are likely to become users. But, the new guidelines suggest there is no specific formula for taking statins, so you need to talk to your doctor.
For now, the best advice is to treat patients on a highly individualized basis.
Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.