One of the fundamental findings of modern medicine that Americans have embraced - lowering cholesterol will protect us from dying of heart attacks - does not apply to women, San Francisco researchers have found.
In the first major attempt to assess the case for cholesterol-lowering along gender lines, the researchers concluded there’s no evidence that healthy women, who don’t yet have heart disease, will die at a lesser rate if they lower their cholesterol.
“We as a nation have been very obsessed with cholesterol,” said Dr. Judith Walsh, an internist at the University of California in San Francisco and author of the report in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. “I think that deserves a bit of re-thinking.”
She emphasized these findings do not apply to women who have already had a heart attack or have medical problems that increase their risk of heart attack - such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Such women can cut their risk of death by two-thirds if they lower their cholesterol.