Work With Your Doctor to Manage Your Risk Factors
High cholesterol is one of many risk factors for heart disease. A risk factor is a condition or behavior that increases your risk of a disease. It can also be a warning sign.
If your cholesterol is high, it’s important to talk to your doctor about lowering it. 80% of people who have had a heart attack have high cholesterol, and about every 34 seconds in the United States, someone has a heart attack.
Family history is another risk factor that can also be a warning sign. If your parent, brother, or sister had heart disease at an early age, then you are considered to have a family history of early heart disease.* Be sure to let your doctor know whether anyone in your family has or had heart disease. It’s an important part in assessing your overall risk.
What Are Your Risk Factors?
Many factors contribute to your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Some factors are beyond your control. But there are risk factors that you and your doctor can manage.
Risk factors you can't control
- Your age
- Family history of early heart disease*
Risk factors you can try to manage
- High LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or "bad") cholesterol
- Low HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or "good") cholesterol
- High triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood)
- High blood pressure
Where Should Your Cholesterol Levels Be?
Recommended LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels depend on how many risk factors you have for heart disease or stroke. Your doctor can tell you the numbers you should be aiming for based on your risk. The chart below shows recommended LDL levels for people with different combinations of risk factors.
*Per NCEP guidelines, "early" is defined as under 55 for men and under 65 for women.
The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk for heart disease.
The good news is that you can do something about high cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease. Talk to your doctor about what treatment option is best for you.
The Lipitor For You program provides helpful tips about adopting healthy habits to manage your high cholesterol levels. Visit the Lipitor For You and Smart Living website at LipitorSmartLiving.com to view more information on how you can blend healthy habits into your daily life.
LIPITOR® (atorvastatin calcium) tablets are not for everyone, including anyone who has previously had an allergic reaction to LIPITOR. It is not for those with liver problems. And it is not for women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant.
If you take LIPITOR® (atorvastatin calcium) tablets, tell your doctor if you feel any new muscle pain or weakness. This could be a sign of rare but serious muscle side effects. Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and all medications you take. This may help avoid serious drug interactions. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver function before starting LIPITOR and during your treatment if you have symptoms of liver problems. Tell your doctor if you have diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including LIPITOR.
Common side effects are diarrhea, upset stomach, muscle and joint pain, and changes in some blood tests.