April 2, 2010 – Should healthy people take a cholesterol-lowering drug to prevent heart disease even if they don't have high cholesterol?
The answer, for some people, is yes. It's a controversial answer that raises a lot of questions. Here are WebMD's answers to those questions. Read more @ WebMD.
Cholesterol makes vital contributions to health, a major component of all human cell membranes and a building block of steroid hormones, including cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. However, high levels of cholesterol, particularly LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol"), have a long association with many diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases (CVD), the leading cause of death in the world. CVD are diseases of the heart and blood vessels that can cause heart attacks and stroke. More than 100 million adults in the United States have high cholesterol.
A century or so ago, the biggest health threats for Americans were infection, malnutrition, and poor sanitation. But today, more lives are in jeopardy from chronic conditions largely attributable to diet-chief among them, heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.Research shows that more than 80% of heart disease can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising daily, not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, and eating a healthy diet.