Earlier is Better for Cholesterol Management, New Study Shows

Earlier, more aggressive cholesterol management could reap important cardiovascular benefits, a recent study reports. 

As published in The Lancet, a group of European researchers investigated the connection between cholesterol levels and the risk of having a cardiovascular event by age 75.  They amassed data from nearly 400,000 individuals, then studied each person’s cholesterol level and cardiac activity regularly until patients reached age 75. 

Lowering LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels reduces the risk of a cardiovascular event by age 75, researchers discovered.  But they also discovered an important distinction. The earlier LDL levels are lowered, the more a person’s lifetime risk of a cardiovascular event is reduced.  

The finding echoes recommendations in the recent 2019 guidelines on cholesterol management from the European Society of Cardiology and the European Atherosclerosis Society.  Both reflect the gravity of cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of mortality across Europe.  But while the guidelines reflect the connection between cholesterol levels and the risk of a cardiac event in the next 10 years, the new study takes a longer view of the issue – a lifetime view.  Thus, the new findings could influence future clinical guideline updates. A new easy-to-use tool for estimating long-term cardiac risk has also been developed by the researchers. 

Alongside the 2019 guidelines, this new research helps to boost consensus and build momentum about the value of cholesterol management.  People across Europe looking for a unified message can surely find one: Taking control of one’s cholesterol early offers maximum protection against cardiovascular disease.

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