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For years, we've been told to lower our cholesterol levels to less than 200 mg/dL. Anything higher puts your heart health at risk--and could up your chances for heart disease (or worse, heart attacks). If you could't lower your cholesterol levels through diet and exercise, a doctor would frequently prescribe statins.
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Now a new study, done by an international team of M.D.s, is putting that practice into question. After looking at previous studies that examined the number of deaths from heart disease in roughly 70,000 people aged 60+, these researchers concluded that high cholesterol didn't cause heart disease in older folks. The conclusion of this study: Taking statins if you're over 60 is a waste of time.
One of the doctors was even bolder, saying that those with LDL (the so-called bad cholesterol) actually had less heart disease and lived longer. Other members of the research team said the best way to heart health was through diet and exercise, not medications.
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But this new study is causing controversy. Many experts, including those from the British Heart Foundation, said that it was flawed, and that much more research, using statins and placebos, HAD found a link between high cholesterol, heart attacks, and death.
So before you toss your cholesterol-lowering medications out, talk to a doctor about your cholesterol levels, and whether statins are still right for you.