The NIH Calls for Cholesterol Treatment
Have you had your cholesterol checked lately? According to the National Institutes
of Health, nearly three times as many Americans should be taking cholesterol-lowering
drugs as they are now to reduce their risk of heart disease. In addition, they
and millions more ought to be eating fewer cheeseburgers, fries and other fatty
foods. Most Americans should also be exercising more and losing weight as a general
health and heart protection strategy.
According to new guidelines from the National Cholesterol Education Program,
heart disease risk is much higher than has been recognized. Already, heart
disease kills 500,000 Americans annually, making it the number one killer of
men and women. The new guidelines, [published in the Journal of the American
Medical Association] call for early cholesterol testing, recommend a
diet with low levels of saturated fats and increased fiber, and urge people
to strive for at least 30
minutes of exercise daily.
estrogen protects most women from developing cardiovascular disease. Estrogen
raises good (HDL) cholesterol and lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol. After menopause,
though, a woman's body no longer produces as much estrogen. As a result, the
risk of cardiovascular disease in women rises steadily after middle age so that
by age 65, women have nearly the same rate of heart disease as men. One way
to reduce this risk is by taking hormone replacement therapy.
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Created: 7/4/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.