Lowering Cholesterol to Prevent Heart Disease

CARE Study
In 1996, the results of the Cholesterol and Recurrent Events (CARE) Study also showed the benefits of lowering cholesterol in those people who already have heart disease. This study reported that even in people with seemingly normal cholesterol levels (average of 209 mg/dL), lowering cholesterol with statin drugs reduced the risk of having another heart attack or dying by 24 percent. These people were also less likely to need bypass surgery (26 percent reduction) or angioplasty (22 percent reduction) during the study.
 
Women benefited even more than men, reducing their risk of having another heart attack by 45 percent. The CARE researchers estimated that treatment of 1,000 patients similar to those in CARE would result in 153 fewer heart attacks and deaths from heart disease. If the people were over 60, there would be 214 fewer, and if they were all women, there would be 248 fewer.
 

Lowering Cholesterol to Prevent Heart Disease in People With Diabetes

In these studies, people with diabetes benefited from lowering cholesterol as much as people without the condition. These studies, along with many others, support the need to lower cholesterol levels in people with diabetes. People with diabetes who do not have heart disease have a high risk for developing it -- more than 20 percent over the next 10 years. People with a combination of several risk factors may also have a high risk of developing heart disease in the next 10 years.
 
If your risk for developing heart disease is high (you have diabetes but do not have heart disease, or if you have a combination of risk factors and more than 7.5 percent risk in the next 10 years), you can expect benefits from lowering cholesterol similar to those in people with heart disease.
 
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