Are cholesterol lowering statins for everyone?

New guidelines are still controversial for older adults who don't appear to have heart disease.

The debate is still raging over last November's guidelines that changed who should take statins, the drugs that help lower cholesterol. For seemingly healthy adults, the guidelines take the focus off LDL or "bad" cholesterol as a marker for statin use, and place the focus on a person's risk factors for developing heart disease or stroke—such as older age, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, other family members with heart disease, tests that show calcium in the heart's arteries, or blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). "That's a huge change," says cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cannon, a Harvard Medical School professor.

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