Cholesterol Advice

Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines for People with High LDL Cholesterol

The type of cholesterol treatment to be administered depends upon the levels of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood stream of an individual. According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, treatment guidelines depend upon the following types of risk faced by individuals:

* Low risk: The LDL cholesterol level in a person facing low risk should be less than 160 mg/dl. If the level of LDL goes beyond that then doctors should recommend therapeutic lifestyle changes. However, if the level of LDL cholesterol is above 190 mg/dl then apart from recommending therapeutic lifestyle changes, they can also prescribe medicines to bring down LDL cholesterol levels.

* Moderate risk: People facing a less than 10 per cent risk of developing coronary diseases in the next 10 years come in the moderate risk category. Their target LDL cholesterol level is less than 130 mg/dl. If tests indicate any figure above that, therapeutic lifestyle changes can be recommended to the person. If the results indicate a figure above 160 mg/dl, drugs can be administered apart from therapeutic lifestyle changes.

* Moderately high risk: People facing a 10-20 per cent risk of developing coronary diseases in the next 10 years fall into the moderately high risk category. The target level of LDL cholesterol in them is less than 130 mg/dl (they can further drop it down to 100 mg/dl). Therapeutic lifestyle changes can be recommended to them if test results indicate a figure above 130 mg/dl. Drugs can also be recommended within the same LDL limit.

* Very high risk: For people facing extremely high risk of developing coronary diseases, the target LDL cholesterol level should be less than 100 mg/dl. However, a figure around the 70 mg/dl mark would be safer. Therapeutic lifestyle changes can be recommended treatment for them if LDL cholesterol level is more than 100 mg/dl. Drugs can also be prescribed within this limit.

* High risk: The target LDL cholesterol level for people facing high risk is 100 mg/dl. Therapeutic lifestyle changes as well as LDL cholesterol lowering drugs can be recommended if the figures for LDL cholesterol are above 100 mg/dl.

Some Other Treatment Guidelines:

* Age should not be considered when formulating a treatment plan for high LDL cholesterol levels. However, it should be duly noted whether elderly people are on any type of liver and kidney disorder medication which might interfere with LDL cholesterol-lowering medication.

* Combining nicotinic acid or a fibrate with a statin can be considered if a person suffering from high LDL cholesterol also has high levels of triglycerides.

* Drugs used to lower LDL cholesterol in moderately high, high and extremely high risk cases should be powerful enough to bring about a 30 to 40 per cent reduction in levels of LDL cholesterol.