New guidelines mean more Americans could be prescribed cholesterol meds

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- New guidelines could result in one in three adults being on cholesterol medicines called statins.  Previously, the focus was on cholesterol numbers in determining whether you should take statins.  But the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology put the focus on groups at risk for heart attacks and strokes.

For example, the guidelines say all people with type two diabetes between the ages of 40 and 75 should take statins.

"If you've had coronary disease, you have diabetes, if you have greater than a 7.5 percent ten-year risk of having a heart attack, you derive benefit from being on Crestor or Lipitor or Zocor no matter how low your cholesterol starts," said Dr. Stephen Gimple, a cardiologist at North Kansas City Hospital.

The guidelines also stress lifestyle changes and statins rather than additional medicines.


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