Of all age groups, men and women over 60 years of age have the highest prevalence of elevated serum cholesterol levels. Now that detection and treatment of high serum cholesterol levels are increasing, we need a rational approach to managing elevated cholesterol levels in elderly patients. Recent data indicate that high total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels predict risk for coronary heart disease in patients over 60 years of age. However, selecting appropriate candidates for cholesterol-lowering therapy requires clinical judgment of the relative risks and benefits of each therapy and consideration of each patient's overall health status as well as of competing risks. Active medical management of high cholesterol levels, therefore, should be restricted to a limited fraction of elderly patients who are most likely to benefit from long-term therapy. The first line of treatment is diet modification; however, drug therapy for appropriate patients is not contraindicated because of age alone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine