A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology is getting a lot of attention for suggesting that many people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (called statins) may not need them at all. The study found that for people with an elevated risk of heart disease but a heart scan showing no coronary calcium (an indicator of plaque—a dangerous mix of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that can accumulate in arteries), their overall risk was low enough to skip the meds. But not so fast: Heart scans don't pick up noncalcified, soft plaque—the kind that's more likely to rupture and trigger a heart attack. Bottom line: While a more detailed scan may prevent overmedication in the future, the results aren't conclusive yet.


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