Ask the doctor: Should I be taking a statin?

Q. I had a heart attack three years ago at age 78. My doctor started me on lisinopril, carvedilol, and aspirin. My total cholesterol is 190, and my LDL is 128. Should I be taking a statin?

A. Almost everyone who has had a heart attack should be on a statin for life. There are some exceptions, of course, such as individuals whose heart attacks stemmed from unusual causes, like an infection, and those who have had an exceptionally severe problem from taking a statin, like severe skeletal muscle breakdown (called rhabdomyolysis). I recommend that you ask your doctor why you aren't taking a statin; if he or she doesn't know, then you should see a cardiologist.

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