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CV risk and cholesterol

Understanding the role of cholesterol in cardiovascular (CV) disease

The higher your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels are, the greater your risk of heart attack, stroke, or certain types of chest pain conditions (unstable angina) requiring hospitalization. That’s why knowing your bad cholesterol levels can help you learn how to better manage your cholesterol and know when it’s time to make a change. It’s important to work with your doctor to decide on a cholesterol goal.

Below is a list of questions to help you understand the role of cholesterol in CV risks.

As your bad cholesterol levels rise, so do your risks for another CV event such as heart attack, stroke, or certain types of chest pain conditions (unstable angina) requiring hospitalization. This is typically related to a process called atherosclerosis—a dangerous condition that develops when bad cholesterol combines with other substances in the blood and turns into plaques that build up in your arteries.

As plaque builds up in the artery, it can make it difficult for blood to flow. Like a build up of cars can cause a traffic jam, plaque can continue to grow until it either blocks an artery or a piece of it can break off, causing a clot that may rapidly block the artery.

Even if you feel fine, keeping your bad cholesterol in check is an important part of helping to reduce your risk for having a heart attack or stroke.

Can you inherit bad cholesterol?

People with a family history of very high LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular disease have a greater chance of developing these conditions themselves. This is caused by an inherited condition called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), specific gene mutations that prevent the liver from removing bad cholesterol from the body. Let your doctor know if someone in your family has been diagnosed with HeFH, or has had a heart attack or stroke at an early age.

Learn more about HeFH and how PRALUENT can help lower your risk. Download brochure.

To fully understand cholesterol, it helps to know what your individual levels mean, especially when it comes to bad cholesterol. Knowing your bad cholesterol number and goal is important to your treatment plan. Use the chart below to talk to your doctor about your cholesterol goals.

LDL cholesterol level Risk level
Less than 70 mg/dL Ideal for patients at very high risk, or with existing heart disease
Less than 100 mg/dL Ideal for patients at high risk, without heart disease
100-129 mg/dL Near ideal if there is no heart disease; high if there is heart disease
130-159 mg/dL Borderline high if there is no heart disease; high if there is heart disease
160-189 mg/dL High if there is no heart disease; very high if there is heart disease
190 mg/dL and above Very high

It's important to let your doctor know about your cholesterol numbers and discuss how to best achieve a cholesterol goal. Even though you've made changes to your lifestyle and tried the highest dose of statin that you can tolerate, you may still need additional treatment. Talk to your doctor about finding a treatment plan that works for you.

Cholesterol myths and facts

Do you know which are which?

Myth:
When it comes to heart disease, high levels of bad cholesterol do not matter as much as other risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Fact:
Smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes are ALL major controllable risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. The more risk factors you have, the greater your risk.
Myth:
Having high levels of bad cholesterol can’t hurt you as long as you feel okay.
Fact:
High levels of bad cholesterol can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, the most common cause of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Plaque buildup most often starts early in life and progresses slowly, with no symptoms. Even if you feel fine, keeping your bad cholesterol levels in check can reduce your risk of plaque buildup.
Myth:
Making healthy changes, such as eating better and exercising more, is all anyone needs to manage cholesterol levels.
Fact:
Healthy lifestyle choices are an important first step toward lowering your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. However, for some people lifestyle changes may not be enough. If your bad cholesterol numbers are still not where they should be, talk to your doctor about your options.

What is PRALUENT® (alirocumab)?

PRALUENT is an injectable prescription medicine used:

  • in adults with cardiovascular disease to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and certain types of chest pain conditions (unstable angina) requiring hospitalization.
  • along with diet, alone or together with other cholesterol-lowering medicines in adults with high blood cholesterol levels called primary hyperlipidemia (including a type of high cholesterol called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia), to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or bad cholesterol.

It is not known if PRALUENT is safe and effective in children.

Important Safety Information

Do not use PRALUENT if you are allergic to alirocumab or to any of the ingredients in PRALUENT.

Before you start using PRALUENT, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including allergies, and if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any prescription and over-the-counter medicines you are taking or plan to take, including natural or herbal remedies.

PRALUENT can cause serious side effects, including allergic reactions that can be severe and require treatment in a hospital. Call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away if you have any symptoms of an allergic reaction including a severe rash, redness, severe itching, a swollen face, or trouble breathing.

The most common side effects of PRALUENT include: redness, itching, swelling, or pain/tenderness at the injection site, symptoms of the common cold, and flu or flu-like symptoms. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Talk to your doctor about the right way to prepare and give yourself a PRALUENT injection and follow the "Instructions for Use" that comes with PRALUENT.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Click here for Full Prescribing Information for PRALUENT.

Click here to learn more about Sanofi's commitment to fighting counterfeit drugs.

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Important Safety Information

Do not use PRALUENT if you are allergic to alirocumab or to any of the ingredients in PRALUENT.

Before you start using PRALUENT, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including allergies, and if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

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