By the way, doctor: Do I need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug?
Q. I'm 53 and on the fence about taking a medication to lower my cholesterol. My father had three heart bypass surgeries during his lifetime. My cholesterol is high (256), but my good cholesterol is also high (62). My LDL cholesterol is 161, and my triglycerides are normal. Should I take a medication?
A. I can understand why you're uncertain about the need to treat your cholesterol. On one hand, your total cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, are elevated, and you have a significant family history of coronary artery disease. On the other hand, your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) — the "good" cholesterol — is very good.