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Cholesterol Treatment Changes After 4-Year Review

A new approach to how doctors treat heart disease was released by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology Tuesday. The guidelines target four specific groups of patients to further prevent stroke and heart disease.

The guidelines are meant to start a conversation between doctor and patient on how to personalize treatment. This will mean less emphasis on specific blood cholesterol scores and more focus on comprehensive approaches to lowering patient risk through early treatment.

Under the previous guidelines that had not been updated since 2001, risk needed to be higher for patients in order to receive preventive treatment. The new approach will extend to nearly double those that may be at risk of stroke or heart disease.

According to Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University, this is a more cost-effective approach for those affected.

“Even though there is a burden for those patients taking one pill a day, we are preventing more strokes and at minimal cost to patients,” he said.

We discuss the guidelines with Dr. Lloyd-Jones, who also co-chaired the review committee, tonight.