In 1960, the American Heart Association recommended cholesterol levels of 300 or less. Then food labels were created and enforced in 1994. In 2010, warnings of high cholesterol resulting in stroke, diabetes and heart attack were advised. Now in February 2015, the nations top nutrition advisory panel announced the potential drop of their longstanding warnings about cholesterol levels.
FDA advisory committee Tuesday recommended approval of a new type of experimental drug developed to fight cholesterol. It could be more potent and have fewer side effects than statins which are among the most prescribed drugs in the U.S.
Statin drugs such as Zocor, Lipitor and Crestor could be replaced by this new class of cholesterol-lowering medications. These new drugs aim at lowering LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) which can lead to vascular diseases. Those patients who experience major side effects to statins as part of treating high cholesterol could benefit tremendously from this. Even further, those patients who have LDL levels that are just above the desirable range could benefit.
One downside is the cost which is being forecast as $7,000-$12,000 a year per patient and the medication has to be injected which may be a bit more difficult for some patients versus simply taking a pill.
The Truth About Cholesterol
Generally, nutrition research is very complex and we've seen it come to the surface only recently. The finding follows an evolution of thinking from top nutritionists who believe the greater danger is in consuming too many foods high in saturated fats such as fatty meats, whole milk and butter.
HDL is considered "good cholesterol" and LDL is "bad." Your HDL levels should be over 60 and LDL less than 100, totaling to below 200. But the key fact about cholesterol to understand is our bodies individually metabolize it differently. Genetics and family history also plays a huge role in high cholesterol.
There's no prescription for eggs or other foods to stay away from. Everyone's metabolism and family history is different.
When it comes to dietary guidelines, we have to be very careful about how we educate Americans on cholesterol levels. They're looking at a mass population - We have to look at people individually and recommend the best health prevention path.
- Get an annual check-up with your doctor and have your cholesterol (both HDL and LDL) checked - get a baseline
- Talk to your doctor about your family history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes etc.
- Cholesterol Home Kits are available but do your research on these and consult with your doctor