Try new meds to avoid statins' bad side e≠ects; e-cig vapors pose risks

June 10, 2014 6:44 AM

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A: Start by getting the genetic test for familial high cholesterol, also called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH); it affects about 1 in 500 folks. It happens because a genetic mutation makes your body unable to clear lousy LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream. In adults, it's diagnosed when there's a family history of premature heart disease and lousy LDL cholesterol is 190mg/dL or higher (in kids it's 160 and up). Genetic testing is recommended to confirm a diagnosis of FH if there's some doubt about the cause of elevated LDL. Without effective treatment, guys with FH have a 50 percent chance of having a heart attack before age 50; gals with FH have a 30 percent chance.

Statins normally would be your first line of defense, and for many people they're life-savers, but for you, their side effects are a deal breaker. There are other cholesterol-lowering medications, such as niacin and ezetimibe (used singly they lower LDL 19 percent to 32 percent) that you might toler...

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