The Basics of Cholesterol
How Is High Cholesterol Treated?
The main goal in lowering cholesterol is to lower LDL and raise your HDL. There are two key ways to lower cholesterol: eat a heart-healthy diet and take cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Doctors determine your "goals" for lowering LDL based on your chance of having a heart problem or stroke in the next 10 years. To determine that risk, your doctor will consider several factors including:
- Your cholesterol numbers
- Your age
- Your smoking habits
- Your blood pressure
- Your use of blood pressure medicines
The doctor will also consider whether or not you already have heart disease or diabetes.
Once your risk is known, you and your doctor together will work out a strategy for achieving and maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol in your blood. That strategy could focus just on healthy lifestyle choices. But it could also include taking a medicine that will lower cholesterol.
If you are at risk for heart disease and need medicine, your doctor will want your cholesterol to decrease by 30-50%.
What Drugs Are Used to Treat High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol-lowering drugs include:
- Bile-acid resins
Of these, statins are the only drugs proven to prevent heart attacks. These medications are most effective when combined with a low-cholesterol diet.