Big Shift: Forget Focus on Bad Cholesterol Levels

Big Shift: Forget Focus on Bad Cholesterol Levels

(NEWSER– Two leading heart groups have announced changes being described as "tectonic" and "profound" in the way doctors prescribe cholesterol-lowering statins. The shift from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology means that doctors will no longer focus on a patent's level of "bad cholesterol"—or LDL— and automatically prescribe statins when it reaches a certain level. Instead, they will focus on a range of overall health factors. "This is an enormous shift in policy as it relates to who should be treated for high levels of cholesterol," the chief of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic tells CNN. "For many years, the goal was to get the 'bad' cholesterol levels—or LDL levels—below 100," says Dr. Steven Nissen. "Those targets have been completely eliminated in the new guidelines, and the threshold for treatment has been eliminated."

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