Features November 2007 Issue

Pushing Your LDL Cholesterol Even Lower May Save Your Life

Trials show that achieving an LDL level below 70 mg/dL with statin therapy reduces cardiac deaths, with only minor risks.

Statin drugs are highly effective in lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol to levels not possible to achieve with diet and exercise alone. As doctors gain experience with these drugs, the LDL target levels continue to change. Heart organizations now recommend an LDL level of 70 mg/dL for high-risk patients—100 mg/dL for everyone else (see box, page 7). Clinical trials are examining the risks and benefits of pushing LDL even lower.

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