New guidelines on heart health that were a decade in the making recommend stronger measures for patients at particularly high risk of heart attack or stroke, including more aggressive therapy with cholesterol-lowering drugs and bariatric weight-loss surgery.
The recommendations issued by two leading U.S. medical organizations Tuesday are likely to be followed by cardiologists and primary care physicians, as well as influence insurance coverage. They still emphasize a healthy diet and exercise as keys to avoiding the nation's No. 1 killer.
They stopped short of setting a lower target level for "bad," LDL, cholesterol and focused instead on identifying high-risk patient groups likely to benefit the most from intensive treatment with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.
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