In a recent study, patients using a popular cholesterol medication lowered their levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff), but didn't have clearer arteries than another group whose LDL levels were much higher.
But don't reach for the double-cheeseburger just yet. "Years of research points to a connection between low LDL and a decreased risk of heart disease," says cardiologist Dr. Brian Kahn. Plus, the things we do to lower our cholesterol—eat healthy food and get regular exercise—have benefits far beyond the walls of our arteries.
And one class of cholesterol meds called statins may do double-duty, Kahn says. In addition to lowering LDL, those drugs also reduce inflammation in our blood vessels, lowering our risk for heart attacks.