New guidelines for treating heart disease - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New guidelines for treating heart disease

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WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Cardiologists are calling it the biggest change in treating heart disease in more than 20 years.

New guidelines released by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology give more people access to cholesterol lowering drugs.

The emphasis is now on the risk of heart attack or stroke, over bad cholesterol levels.

The old guidelines limited statins to patients with a 20% chance of developing heart disease in the next decade.

Now, that number has been reduced to 7.5% risk for heart attack or stroke.

Doctors say the number of patients with access to statins could double.

But just taking the drugs won't eliminate your risk.

Doctors are still stressing a healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats, as well as 40 minutes of exercise three to four times a week.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.

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