A new heart attack study in Minneapolis found that a high number of heart attack victims weren't taking Statins -- medications that lower "bad" cholesterol in the blood. Statins also works in the liver to prevent the formation of cholesterol
The study conducted by a group of Minneapolis cardiologists reviewed 1,000 patients who suffered their first heart attacks.
The doctors were surprised to find that, among the 1,000 patients, only 1 in 5 were taking cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. The patients who were taking Statins weren't taking the proper dosage to lower their bad cholesterol.
The study found that a majority of the patients weren't following the national guidelines that recommends who should be taking statins.
Doctors were also surprised at the number of Minneapolis heart attack patients who had "average" cholesterol levels.
Among heart attack patients, the median LDL (bad cholesterol) level was 110, which is slightly above the recommended level of 100.
“Even if you have a normal cholesterol level, that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from the medication,” said Doctor Michael Miedema, lead author of the research study and cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute.
“Lower is better. It's very much a linear relationship. As your cholesterol goes up your risk goes up, but as your cholesterol goes down your risk goes down. There’s no magic threshold.”
Lipoproteins (LDL and HDL) carry cholesterol in the blood. Doctors prefer their patients to have lower LDL and higher HDL cholesterol levels.
High density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) is known as "good" cholesterol because it absorbs the cholesterol and carries it to the liver to be digested.
Low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) is considered "bad" cholesterol because there is more of this type of cholesterol in the body and it lines the inside of arteries which leads to coronary heart disease.
It is important to know what your cholesterol levels are -- especially your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels which can lead to coronary artery disease.
Your doctor should test your cholesterol and triglycerides levels as part of your routine physical exam.
Talk to your doctor about which cholesterol medication is best for you. Also ask your doctor about potential drug side effects, if any.
The cardiologists' research findings were published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Heart Association.