Before starting a statin, have a coronary artery calcium (CAC) test, advises Khurram Nasir, MD, MPH. The CAC test more accurately predicts cardiovascular risk than factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, current smoking and diabetes. In 35% of people considered high risk according to those factors, a CAC test showed that risk was relatively low and could be managed by lifestyle modifications instead of medication. The test is widely available... takes about three minutes... and costs $75 to $100, which may be covered by insurance.
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