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Younger doctors are more likely to treat high cholesterol with drugs

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Following unhealthy cholesterol test results or other measures of poor heart health, a patient may be more likely to be prescribed medication rather than lifestyle changes like improving diet and exercise if they have a younger doctor, according to a new investigation published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

Furthermore, prescribing more drugs did not result in any improvements in patients' conditions, the study found.

Regardless of whether a patient had high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, or diabetes, the researchers found in their survey of 1,078 doctors that physicians under the age of 45 were significantly more likely to prescribe pills instead of provide counseling on matters of diet, exercise and tobacco use.

The researchers said that their findings could have major implications for the way cardiovascular diseases like high cholesterol are treated and may reflect evolutions in the training of new doctors.

"While physicians recognize the importance of patients' age as a major driver for cardiovascular risk, little evidence is available on the potential impact of the doctor's age on how they manage clinical risk" says Massimo Volpe, the lead researcher on the study and a professor from Sapienza University in Rome.

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