The goal in treating cholesterol is to lower your chance of having a heart attack or a stroke. The goal is not to lower your cholesterol numbers alone.
The following guidelines are from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS).footnote 1
The two types of treatment are:
The way you choose to lower your risk will depend on how high your risk for heart attack and stroke is. It will also depend on how you feel about taking medicines. Your doctor can help you know your risk. Your doctor can help you balance the benefits and risks of your treatment options.
Lifestyle changes are always important, even if you take medicines to lower your risk.
Your doctor may suggest that you make one or more of the following changes:
You and your doctor can work together to understand your risks and what treatment is best for you. Your doctor may recommend that you take statins if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Your doctor is likely to strongly recommend statins if you:
Your doctor is likely to recommend statins if:
For some people, it's not as clear if they need to take a statin. You and your doctor will need to look at your overall health and any other risks you have for heart attack and stroke.
You and your doctor may think about these things in deciding about medicine:
Other medicines can improve cholesterol levels, but they have not been proven to lower the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Your doctor may recommend these medicines if there is a reason you can't take a statin. These medicines include bile acid sequestrants, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, fibric acid derivatives, and nicotinic acid (niacin).
Anderson T, et al. (2012). 2012 update of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of dyslipidemia for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in the adult. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 29(2): 151–167.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineDonald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRobert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - CardiologyRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Current as ofApril 3, 2017
Current as of: April 3, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.