Seniors Can Be Heartened by New Study on Statins
RESTON, Va., November 13, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, costing our healthcare system hundreds of millions of dollars and causing untold suffering. Now there is new hope for preventing this fatal disease - even among those who weren't thought to be at risk.
A new study has found that millions of people could cut their risk of a heart attack, stroke and death by taking statins. The study, released at the American Medical Association's annual meeting this week, found the benefits even for people with low cholesterol and no major risk for heart disease.
"This is the kind of news that could really save lives," said Michelle Plasari, President of RetireSafe's Senior Center for Health and Security. "According to this study, even people who believe they are at low risk for a heart attack could benefit from taking statins. This could transform the way we prevent heart disease."
About half all heart attacks and strokes occur in people who do not have elevated cholesterol. This study showed that a daily dose of a statin called rosuvastatin can prevent heart attacks and deaths in that group - people who would not normally be treated for heart disease.
Patients in the study had normal cholesterol. But they had higher levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that indicates a risk of heart disease.
"This study shows that even if you have low cholesterol levels, you aren't safe from heart disease," Plasari said.
According to the American Heart Association, Americans over the age of 65 are at the highest risk of developing heart disease. At this age, initial heart attacks tend to be more fatal than those suffered at a younger age.
The first step to protecting yourself from heart disease is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This can include a balanced diet, weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, and limiting the amount of alcohol consumed.
"This study shows statins could be one more way to protect yourself from heart disease," Plasari said.
Statins are a class of prescription drugs that lower the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. Combined with diet and exercise, statins are estimated to lower blood cholesterol levels by as much as 40 to 60 percent.
Statins have not only been clinically-proven to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, they have been linked to lowering the risk of dying from emphysema, chronic bronchitis, influenza, and pneumonia.
Posted: November 2008