Harvard Heart Letter

New studies support statin guidelines

Discuss your own situation and preferences with your doctor when deciding whether to take a statin.

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But if you are healthy, deciding if these commonly prescribed drugs are right for you is a personal choice.

For many years, the main deciding factor for taking a statin was how much harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was circulating though your bloodstream. That all changed about two years ago, when leading cardiology organizations issued new guidelines that shifted away from targeting LDL. The biggest change was for people ages 40 to 75 who have a 7.5% or higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years (see "What's your risk?").

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