Medical Minute: Cholesterol Control

Posted at: 03/24/2014 3:14 PM
Updated at: 03/24/2014 5:47 PM
By: Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABC News

Should you be taking a statin?  According to guidelines issued in November, more Americans should be. A new study shows how many more Americans should take these pills and the numbers are shocking. ABC medical contributor, Dr. Timothy Johnson has more in this Medical Minute.

Cholesterol-busting statins are already among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the country, and they may soon be even more popular.

Their popularity is due to revamped guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Last November, new guidelines were released that may urge nearly half of American adults to take daily statins, according to a new study.

Duke University researchers say the new guidelines will mean that 56 million U.S. adults may be told to make a statin part of their daily routine.

That's nearly 13 million more American adults than before, and 10 million of these adults don't even have heart disease. Most older Americans will also fall into the group for which statins are recommended under these guidelines.

Ultimately, though, the decision to take statins is between a patient and his or her doctor. These drugs are relatively safe but not completely free of side effects. So remember the choice is yours.