Medical Q&As

Cholesterol - drug treatment?

I am 29 years old and my father died of a heart attack when he was 45 and there is a history of heart disease in my family. I get my cholesterol checked every year and it is right at the top end of the scale. I am physically fit and play lots of sport and train frequently. Should I be considering a course of cholesterol lowering drugs? I have already adjusted my diet to avoid most foods that are high in cholesterol.

Your question encapsulates a modern medical dilemma because there are no clear guidelines about using cholesterol-lowering drugs in a scenario such as you describe. Apart from considering your cholesterol level you should also ensure that you do not smoke and also have your blood pressure checked periodically since these are additional risk factors for coronary artery disease. I am hesitant about recommending cholesterol-lowering drugs to you because I donít believe that we have strong enough evidence to recommend them in a healthy 29 year old. If you were ten years older I would be less likely to hesitate about such a recommendation particularly because of your fatherís early demise in his mid forties. I think the jury is still out in relation to a decision about prescribing these drugs in young healthy adults. I hasten to add that I am not concerned about their safety but rather the appropriateness of prescribing them. You might like to read further about cholesterol by following this link: http://www.irishhealth.com/clin/cholesterol/welcome.html