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        Treatment for high cholesterol

Will I need to take medication?
Whether you need to take cholesterol-lowering drugs or not depends not just on your total cholesterol, HDL and LDL levels, but also on your overall risk of coronary heart disease.

Doctors prescribe cholesterol-lowering medicines for people who are at greatest overall risk of suffering from coronary heart disease. So your doctor is likely to prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins:

if you have diabetes
if you have high blood cholesterol levels, particularly if you also have other risk factors – for example, if you have high blood pressure or you smoke
if you have already had a heart attack or stroke
if you have angina or peripheral arterial disease, or
if you have had bypass surgery or angioplasty.

The higher your risk of coronary heart disease, the more likely it is that your doctor will recommend cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Even if you don’t have high cholesterol levels, your doctor may still feel that you will benefit from taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, if you have a combination of major risk factors for coronary heart disease. These include, for example, if you have high blood pressure, if you smoke, if you have a strong family history of coronary heart disease (if a close relative developed coronary heart disease before the age of 55 for a man, or 65 for a woman). Your age is also relevant as your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke usually increases with age. Your sex is relevant too as women’s risk of heart disease lags about 10 years behind that of men.

There are various sets of guidelines to help doctors decide whether to recommend that you take cholesterol-lowering drugs. All of this means that people with a wide range of cholesterol levels may be treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs. For example, someone with low cholesterol levels but with several major risk factors might be given statins. On the other hand, a person with a high cholesterol level but with no other risk factors might not be treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Cholesterol-lowering medicines are a long-term and effective treatment. However, it is important to lower your overall risk of coronary heart disease as much as possible. This includes getting your lifestyle right as well as taking cholesterol-lowering medicines. Stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet, taking regular physical activity, controlling your weight and making sure your blood pressure is normal, will all help.

      Doctor Tips
Angina is an uncomfortable feeling or pain in the chest.
It usually feels like a heaviness or tightness.
      For healthcare professional
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