By the way, doctor: Should I take a statin?

Q. My cholesterol numbers are as follows: Total — 220; HDL — 82 (it's been anywhere from 75 to 85 for the last 20 years); LDL — 130; total-to-HDL ratio — 2.7. I'm 85, and the heart doctor wants to put me on a statin. I feel great; I'm not overweight, and I don't have any heart problems. I don't take any medications except a daily 81-mg baby aspirin. Do I need to take a statin?

A. If you've reached the age of 85 without any evidence of disease from atherosclerosis, I can't say I would be pushing a statin on you.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »