High cholesterol can lead to heart disease and doctors are hoping new tools can help improve treatment and outcomes for patients. Led by Dr. Todd Anderson, Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta's director, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society has published updates to Canada’s cholesterol guidelines this week.
The guidelines committee reviewed the latest research including clinical trials to come up with its recommendations.
“These guidelines are not absolute, but are meant to launch one-on-one discussion between practitioner and patient in a process of shared decision making,” says Dr. Todd Anderson, professor at the Cumming School of Medicine and lead author on the guidelines.
The guidelines will be used to determine how patients should be screened, if they should be on treatment, and how they should be followed. One-third of Canadians have high cholesterol and at least half of individuals who are considered high risk are not on medications. Based on the patient’s assessment, the guidelines will then state what medications they should be on to attenuate cardiovascular risk.
Major highlights of the new guidelines include:
- Patients are no longer required to fast for 14 hours before they get their screening blood test.
- Dietary pattern style eating (what you eat over the course of the week) such as the Mediterranean diet is preferred to specific macronutrient diets. These types of diets have shown a decrease in cardiovascular events in people.
- Individuals who smoke should receive clinician advice to stop smoking as quitting is probably one of the leading ways to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Statin drugs are the mainstay of pharmacological therapy and are now indicated in a wider range of subjects. New drugs will be available in the future for those who continue to be at risk despite taking statins.
“More individuals are aware of their blood pressure issues and less are aware of their cholesterol,” says Dr. Anderson, also who is a cardiologist with Alberta Health Services.
“The overall goal of the process was to produce a document based on the best available evidence-based guidance that would allow medical professionals and patients to make collaborative treatment decisions.”
The updates are published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.
Dr. Todd Anderson is the lead author of the new cholesterol guidelines published by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Dr. Anderson is a professor and researcher at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine as well as the Director of the University’s Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta. He is also a cardiologist with Alberta Health Services.