A third of Americans may need cholesterol medicine

FRESNO, Calif.

Under the new standards put forth by The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, the number of people who need to take statin drugs like Lipitor could double.

As many as a third of all Americans may need statin drugs which lower cholesterol - according to The American Heart Association. Jackie Sullivan of Fresno was not surprised by the findings.

Sullivan said, "It's probably a pretty good correlation with the obesity thing."

Sullivan has been taking Lipitor to lower her cholesterol level. "I know I'm on it. My dad's on it. My husband's on it. I had a doctor who said he thought it should be in the drinking water."

ABC News medical editor Dr. Richard Besser told Action News statins are recommended for four groups of people:

Those with high cholesterol, heart attack and stroke patients, diabetics between 40 and 75 and those with a 7½% risk of having a heart attack or stroke within ten years.

Dr. Besser explained a risk calculator and your doctor can make that determination. He said, "These drugs reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke not only for people with high cholesterol. Heart disease is the number-one killer of men and women in the US."

The risk calculator looks at age, sex, cholesterol, blood pressure and whether or not you smoke. Dr. Besser said of the results, "I think many people be will very surprised."

If you get regular exercise, eat healthy and don't smoke you're in a good place.

T.J. Gill knows heart disease runs in his family so he's taking steps to avoid going on medication.

Gill said, "That's the plan, try to eat healthy. Cut down on red meat and try to stay away from fast food."

Click on the link to check out the risk calculator: http://1.usa.gov/1e4iRjV. It is important you discuss the results with your doctor.

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