(NAPSI)-The conventional wisdom on treating women with heart disease may be about to change.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death and disability in the Western world, affecting men and women in equal numbers. Despite the availability of a range of therapies, the number of people affected by heart disease continues to grow. A new study, called AIM-HIGH, is looking at a different way to approach heart attack and heart disease prevention in both women and men.
Researchers now know that managing heart disease takes more than simply lowering “bad” cholesterol – the traditional approach. Additional strategies, such as raising “good” cholesterol, exercising daily, and sticking to a good diet, are all keys to heart health and important to discuss with your doctor.
The AIM-HIGH study, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is measuring how combining two cholesterol medications to both raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol at the same time can reduce the risk of heart disease.
As heart disease risk is more difficult to detect in women and African Americans, these groups are of special interest to the doctors conducting the study. In fact, heart disease goes undiagnosed in as many as three million American females. The AIM-HIGH heart disease prevention study is designed to shed light on the mechanics of reducing heart disease risk, especially for women and minorities.
As the terms “good” and “bad” suggest, these two types of cholesterol work in very different ways. Bad cholesterol can build up plaque on artery walls and eventually cause heart disease. Good cholesterol serves the opposite function, acting as a “street sweeper” and helping prevent plaque buildup and heart disease.
For a healthy heart, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping bad cholesterol levels below 100 mg/dL in people with existing heart disease or diabetes and, for women, keeping good cholesterol levels above 50 mg/dL.
The AIM-HIGH study provides patients with access to two FDA-approved therapies to manage both good and bad cholesterol levels. The trial will look at how taking two proven therapies – Niaspan (once-daily extended-release niacin) and Zocor (simvastatin) – together may further reduce the risk of heart disease compared to taking Zocor alone.
“This program provides needed access to care and medications that improve both good and bad cholesterol to determine how much their combined treatment adds to the prevention of heart disease and stroke,” said Dr. Greg Brown of the University of Washington.
For more information on the study, call 888.315.2948 or go to aimhigh-heart.com.