Panel releases new cholesterol guidelines for heart attack patients

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People at high risk for a heart attack should lower their ''bad cholesterol," or LDLs, to 70, according to new guidelines in Monday's issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The previous guideline was 100.

The guidelines are created by the National Cholesterol Education Program and endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. A panel of the education program examined five major studies involving cholesterol-lowering medicines.

Every year, 1.2 million people in America have a new or repeat heart attack.  The high-risk category identifies people who have just had a heart attack or those who already have cardiovascular disease plus diabetes, are persistent smokers and have high blood pressure, or other multiple risk factors.

The guidelines have not changed for those in the lower (who should be 160 or lower) to moderate risk categories (130 or lower).

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