As long as I can remember we have been told to get our good cholesterol numbers up and our bad cholesterol numbers down, except when the total cholesterol is very good, etc. etc. etc. And, of course, almost everyone we know is on one statin or another. I got my "numbers" in September. But in mid-November new Guidelines were issued, followed within days by skeptics saying the methodology was flawed.
Recently an article in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/ *explained the "calamity"-
"It was supposed to be a moment of triumph. An august committee had for the first time relied only on the most rigorous scientific evidence to formulate guidelines to prevent heart attacks and strokes, which kill one out of every three Americans. The group had worked for five years, unpaid, to develop them. Then, at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, it all went horribly awry."
"What went wrong? Some critics say the drafting committee mistakenly relied only on randomized controlled clinical trials, the gold standard of medical evidence, but ignored other strong data that would have led to different conclusions. The group’s efforts were severely underfunded. And it announced fundamental changes in medical practices without allowing a public debate before its guidelines were completed."
"When the new guidelines were released, many doctors were shocked that they were suddenly being told to stop their decades-long practice of monitoring levels of LDL cholesterol, the kind that increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, after patients begin taking statin medicines."
"Many leading cardiologists now say the credibility of the guidelines, released Nov. 14, is shattered. And the troubled effort to devise them has raised broader questions about what kind of evidence should be used to direct medical practice, how changes should be introduced and even which guidelines to believe."
Now that experts have created confusion, we will each have to rely on our primary care physician to determine what to do given the ambiguity over the "evidence." More to follow as efforts are made to clarify the cholesterol kerfuffle.
*to read the full NYTs article, Bumps in the Road to New Cholesterol Guidelines by Gina Kolata, highlight and click on hyperlink http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/health/heart-and-stroke-study-hit-by-a-wave-of-criticism.html?_r=2&
Note: This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.