Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death globally. It is well-established that elevated cholesterol levels, especially LDL "bad" cholesterol levels, are associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and cardiac events such as heart attacks and strokes. Cholesterol-lowering "statin" drugs are used by millions of people to reduce cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease.
A recent study published in Heart on April 15, 2019 followed 165,411 patients who had been put on statins to cut their risk of developing heart disease by lowering their cholesterol to a healthy level. Data was analyzed from years 1990 to 2016. The goal of statin use was to reduce cholesterol LDL levels by 40% or more. The study, which was conducted in the UK, revealed that statin therapy achieved optimal outcomes of a 40% or more LDL reduction in only 49% of the study participants within 2 years.
Researcher Dr Stephen Weng, from Nottingham University, said: "Our research has shown that in almost half of patients prescribed statins, they are very effective and offer significant protection against cardiovascular disease. However, for the other half - whether it's due to your genetic make-up, having side effects, sticking to the treatment or other medications - we don't see that intended benefit."
This study highlights the importance of statin therapy monitoring and other contributions to optimal heart health. Once statin therapy is initiated, cholesterol blood levels should be re-tested after 12 weeks. Most importantly, heart health includes a whole health approach. If you have a history of statin use, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease, there is so much you can do! Address your health using the foundations - nutrition, exercise, hydration, sleep, and relationships - all contributors to high cholesterol and cardiovascular health.