Deciding with your doctor whether you should initiate cholesterol-lowering statin therapy—rather than the doctor making that decision alone—is an important component of the latest cholesterol guidelines, released in November 2018. But what exactly should that conversation (known as shared decision-making) entail? Use these tips to guide you:
- Make your personal values and preferences known.
- Repeat back to your doctor what he or she has told you about your personal risks, such as adverse effects and drug interactions, and treatment options to be sure you fully understand the information.
- Be honest with your doctor about whether you can stick with the recommended lifestyle and drug regimen. If you don’t think you can, ask for suggestions on how to adhere, such as simplifying your dosage to once daily and using telephone, calendar, text, or email reminders. Also consider working with a specialist like a dietitian or personal trainer.
- Ask your doctor if he or she has any written materials to share that might help you better understand the benefits and risks of your treatment options.
This article first appeared in the February 2019 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.
Also see Adverse Effects of Statins: What to Do.