Cholesterol Guidelines for People with High Risk of Heart Attack
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) offers cholesterol guidelines for men and women.
Cholesterol and Heart DiseaseHigh levels of LDL cholesterol and/or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol, are major risk factors for heart attack and stroke, two of the most common causes of death in the US. The good news is that most people can control major heart disease risk factors, including cholesterol levels, smoking, excessive weight, lack of exercise, high blood pressure , and type 2 diabetes . Screening for lipid disorders like high cholesterol depends on your age and whether you have any risk factors for heart disease.
A Run-Down of the GuidelinesThe guidelines propose different recommendations depending on a person’s degree of risk of heart attack within the next ten years. This risk is determined by the presence of several risk factors, including history of heart attack or stroke, unstable or stable angina (chest pain), history of coronary artery procedures, evidence of clogged arteries (myocardial ischemia), diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, family history of heart disease, and age. There are 3 major risk levels:
- High risk (over 20% chance of heart attack within ten years) including those with coronary heart disease (CHD) or those having a CHD risk equivalent—diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, or carotid artery disease)
- Moderately high risk (10%-20% chance of heart attack within 10 years)
- Moderate risk (less than 10% chance of heart attack within 10 years, but still with 2 or more risk factors)
- Lower risk (a person with 1 or fewer risk factors)
|Risk Category||Drug Therapy Based on LDL levels|
|High risk|| |
|Moderately high risk|| |
|Moderate risk|| |
|Lower risk|| |