Reviewed by Andrew Seibert on December 02, 2011


Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein, Medical Officer, Clinilabs Served as advisor to FDA Cardiovascular and Renal Drug Advisory Committee Author: Before It Happens to You: A Breakthrough Program for Reversing or Preventing Heart Disease

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Video Transcript

Jonathan Sackner Bernstein, MD: The bad cholesterol is referred to as an LDL. The way the standard guidelines work is that based on the number of risk factors you have, whether that be your age, are you over 55, over 60, over 60, over 70 as you get older, that becomes more relevant, even though the guidelines talk about a specific cut off, it's not a magic number. The second thing is whether you have a history of high blood pressure, then there's whether you have a history of diabetes, there's a series whether you smoke. Depending on a number of those risk factors, a different target would be recommended. But if you go back to the Framingham study, which was a landmark study in cardiovascular disease with over 40 years worth of data, it shows you that probably that's too loose of a recommendation. if you dig into the treatment guidelines, what you find is that group that wrote those guidelines felt that the reason they had to be focused on those levels was that it was too costly, not too dangerous, not effective, but too costly, to have tighter guidelines. So while the standard would be to look at the 100, 130 and 160 cutoffs, I think if you're really looking to optimize your health and minimize your risk, you'd be look at numbers closer to 80 and 100, 80 if you really have risk factors and 100 otherwise. And obviously, there has to be some individualization based on your particular medical situation.