[ti:New Recommendations May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels]
[00:02.36]A new study says that a change in health recommendations might lead to lower cholesterol levels
[00:10.48]and more treatment for people with high levels of heart disease risk.
[00:16.96]Dr. Pankaj Arora, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, led the study.
[00:25.04]The news "is very heartening," Arora said, "but there is more to do."
[00:32.20]Heart disease is the world's leading killer and high cholesterol is a key risk factor.
[00:39.98]Doctors have long treated patients based mostly on their level of
[00:45.88]so-called "bad" cholesterol, known as LDL.
[00:51.56]In 2013, new guidelines in the United States
[00:56.59]urged doctors to examine people's overall heart risk.
[01:02.14]In other words, the guidelines recommended that doctors consider age,
[01:08.49]blood pressure, diabetes and other factors.
[01:12.68]The idea was that people with the highest risk would get the most benefit
[01:19.07]from cholesterol-lowering medications called statins.
[01:23.50]The researchers studied records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
[01:31.48]These records tracked cholesterol information
[01:35.40]from more than 32,000 adults between 2005 and 2016.
[01:43.60]Among people taking statins, the average level of "bad" cholesterol
[01:50.56]dropped 21 points over the study period.
[01:55.44]Total cholesterol levels and another kind of fat in the blood also decreased.
[02:02.28]The researchers reported their findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
[02:09.94]Dr. Michael Miller is a heart disease expert at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
[02:17.37]He was not involved with the study.
[02:21.60]Miller said, "these are surprisingly impressive results"
[02:25.92]that together predict a 15 to 20 percent reduction in risk of heart attacks and strokes.
[02:34.48]In addition, there was an increase in statin use by people with diabetes.
[02:40.84]Over the study period, that number increased from less than half to over 60 percent.
[02:49.64]"It's very important for those with a diagnosis of diabetes to not get that first heart attack,"
[02:57.77]said Dr. Neil J. Stone of Northwestern University.
[03:02.84]Stone led the development of the 2013 guidelines
[03:07.69]from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
[03:13.28]He also co-wrote an update last year.
[03:17.80]Dr. Arora warned that other high-risk groups have not seen an increase in treatment.
[03:25.83]He added that still too many people do not know if they have a cholesterol problem.
[03:32.68]The advice for patients?
[03:35.24]Dr. Miller suggested getting a cholesterol check if you have not had one recently.
[03:42.68]I'm John Russell.