All people with high cholesterol should eat a heathy diet and exercise regularly. This includes people who are white. Many people with high cholesterol should also take a statin. Statins are especially important for people who:
- have low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels of 190 mg/dL or more
- already had a heart attack or stroke
- have diabetes
- are over age 40 with other risks like high blood pressure or smoking
People with LDL-C levels that are less than 190 mg/dL may also take statins. This is especially true if their risk of having a heart attack or stroke is high. The risk is high if their odds of a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years is 1 in 5 or more. People with added risks like high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and age over 65 years are also high risk. Your doctor may also recommend statins if your risk is lower than that. You can check your 10-year risk online at ASCVD Risk Estimator Plus.
Everyone can benefit from a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, soybeans, nuts, certain vegetable oils, and healthy proteins is best for heart health. People who are overweight may also want to cut back on calories to lower their weight. Normal weight people have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you start to take a statin, your doctor will check your cholesterol often to see how well it is working for you. If you aren’t sure if statins are right for you, talk with your doctor.
Lowering your cholesterol is the way to keep heart disease at bay!