Disease Prevention From a Doctor's Perspective (cont.)
Sometimes doctors are willing to recommend a long-term prevention treatment in the absence of any conclusive proof of benefit provided the treatment is safe. This is especially true if the rationale for the treatment also has a sound scientific basis and the treatment has been found to be beneficial in observational studies.
In this situation, doctors do not want to miss an opportunity to recommend something safe to possibly prevent heart attacks while waiting for absolute proof of its effectiveness, which can be many years away.
Today the prospective trials they started have been completed. These trials have conclusively shown that lowering cholesterol (especially the "bad" LDL cholesterol) reduces heart attack risks and prolongs life. These trials further showed that the benefits of lowering cholesterol outweigh the risks of side effects of the statin medications. Therefore doctors today are much more aggressive than doctors of yester-years when prescribing measures to lower LDL cholesterol. Doctors are much more willing to use medications such as statins to lower cholesterol, and the "normal cholesterol level" has been rapidly reduced.
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