The New Dyslipidemia Guidelines: What Is the Debate?
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Dyslipidemia is a major risk factor for the development of atherosclerotic disease. Therefore, lifestyle interventions and pharmacological approaches to decrease cholesterol are widely used in cardiovascular disease prevention. The introduction and widespread use of 3-hydroxy-3 methylglutaryl coenzyme A inhibitors (statins) for individuals at risk of atherosclerotic disease has been an important advance in cardiovascular care. There can be no doubt that better control of dyslipidemia, even in subjects whose low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level is not particularly high, has reduced overall event rates. On a background of lifestyle interventions, statins are routinely used to decrease risk along with aspirin and interventions to control hypertension and diabetes. More than other risk factors, the approach to the identification and treatment of dyslipidemia has been heterogeneous and widely debated. The recent release of the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association dyslipidemia guidelines has reignited the controversy over the best approach for risk stratification and treatment. In this article we review the importance of statin therapy for global cardiovascular risk reduction, compare the Canadian Cardiovascular Society dyslipidemia guidelines with other standards, and discuss the points of debate. Despite the seeming variety of recommendations, their common link is a systematic approach to risk stratification and treatment, which will continue to benefit our patients at risk.