Health & Wellbeing

Statins beneficial for the heart, beyond just lowering cholesterol

Statins beneficial for the hea...
New research has revealed that in addition to lowering cholesterol, statins may have improve heart structure and function
New research has revealed that in addition to lowering cholesterol, statins may have improve heart structure and function
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New research has revealed that in addition to lowering cholesterol, statins may have improve heart structure and function
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New research has revealed that in addition to lowering cholesterol, statins may have improve heart structure and function

In recent years, statins have come under fire with indications side-effects from these drugs could potentially outweigh any benefits in low-risk patients. While several follow up studies showed the negative side-effects of statins to be relatively minimal compared to their benefits, new research has revealed that the drugs may have positive effects, far beyond simply lowering cholesterol.

As a result of research published in 2013, an estimated 200,000 people in the UK stopped taking the medication, which the British Heart Foundation said could lead to 2,000 extra heart attacks within the next 10 years. But new research presented at EuroCMR 2017 might help convince people to stick with the drugs.

The study examined the relationship between statins and heart structure and function in 4,622 people, 17 percent of which were taking statins. The scientists used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging to study each participant's heart, and found patients taking statins had lower left and right ventricular volumes and a 2.4 percent lower left ventricular mass.

"People using statins were less likely to have a thickened heart muscle (left ventricular hypertrophy) and less likely to have a large heart chamber," explains lead author Dr Nay Aung. "Having a thick, large heart is a strong predictor of future heart attack, heart failure or stroke and taking statins appears to reverse the negative changes in the heart which, in turn, could lower the risk of adverse outcomes."

Dr Aung suggests this research should be conservatively applied and doesn't encourage broader prescriptions of the drug to be extended to lower risk groups just because of these findings.

"There is debate about whether we should lower the bar and the question is when do you stop," Dr Aung notes. "What we found is that for patients already taking statins, there are beneficial effects beyond cholesterol lowering and that's a good thing."

The debate over statins is far from over, but it is increasingly clear that the drug is an important tool in the battle against heart disease. This latest study affirms that, despite the potential side effects, the drug is valuable to those facing higher risk of heart attacks.

The study was recently presented at EuroCMR 2017, the annual Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) conference of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging in Prague.

Source: European Society of Cardiology

8 comments
Bob
Taking statins gave me terrible muscle and joint pain. I could barely climb a short set of stairs after one month on the drugs. Other people have liver problems. Somehow most of the articles about statins fail to mention the large percentage of people who are harmed by them. The article above mentions that 1% of the people who stopped taking statins could possibly have a heart attack within ten years. What percentage were harmed by staying on the drug??? I did manage to find a statin that I could take but it took several tries.
AsToz
It is important for the public to recognize that most of the "scientific" research in favor of cholesterol-lowering statins is flawed and fraudulent (read Dr. Uffe Ravnskov's work). This new "study" and hyped claims are more of the propaganda of the medical racket. The most reliable evidence has long tied statin use with memory problems, muscle disorders, liver damage, cataracts, nerve damage, arterial calcification, pancreatitis, erectile dysfunction, brain dysfunction, diabetes, and with an increased risk of cancer and higher mortality (statins only somewhat reduce the risk of non-fatal heart attacks). The physiological mechanisms of how statins do serious damage are also well understood, such as by their impairment of oxidative cell metabolism, the increase in inflammation and cell destruction, the lowering of cholesterol and sex hormone production, the promotion of pancreatic injury, etc. - rather thoroughly explained in this scholarly article on how statins, and a cholesterol-lowering popular diet pill, promote diabetes if you search online for the scholarly article "Do Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects Boost Diabetes?" by Rolf Hefti - look at Figure 7 to see how irrational it is to block the production of cholesterol! Yet despite of the existence of that scientific knowledge, the medical business and the public health authorities keep ignoring it and, for example, continue to recommend statins to diabetics and make claims that they have a low risk profile despite that they are also significantly linked to cancer and higher mortality (just look at the propaganda put out by the Mayo clinic on statin drugs: "the risk of life-threatening side effects from statins is very low"). And because of such medical propaganda, few people are aware that the medical claims of benefits of statins are mostly based on junk studies conducted by people with vested interests. And, logically, it's mostly the corporate medical business and other people with similar vested interests tied to it (eg, mouthpieces, hacks) who promote the alleged value of these highly lucrative products. So the real truth is that statins have almost no real benefit in the very vast majority of users. They do more harm than good (read Uffe Ravnskov's "The Cholesterol Myths" and Malcolm Kendrick's "The Great Cholesterol Con"). It's one of many "scientific" scams of the mainstream medical business.
JPKaudiS4A
I do not believe this article because: 1) There is no mention of who exactly did the study, 2) There is no mention of who paid for the study, Without those two important facts, this report is just big pharma propaganda. This is BIG money talking and selling there snake oil. In all cases natural medicine trumps man-made synthetic medicine. From Andrew Saul's site: Results are all that matter to me. Alternative medicine works. The natural treatment of illness can be accomplished safely, inexpensively, and effectively. We've all been taught that anything that is safe and inexpensive cannot possibly be really effective against "real diseases." It is time to rethink that, and especially to see for yourself what works. For every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect. Carl C. Pfeiffer, M.D., Ph.D. Medicine doesn't get to the root of the trouble. It only conceals it. The result is a more highly poisoned condition which may become chronic disease. All drugs are harmful to the system. They are contrary to nature. . . . Mark my words. There is no way to health except the natural way. "M," to James Bond 007, in Ian Fleming’s Thunderball.
BradTurner
I went to the article linked to see who funded the study. I didn't find that but I did find it was 11 months old and there's really nothing new here at all. They're just recycling articles to make it look like more evidence. I take with great skepticism any "results" from the the British who did the original greatly flawed study that Big Pharma quotes endlessly.
jerryd
I agree with Bob, bad reactions to Statins are far more than claimed. Both my mother and I got 'Fibromialia' from Lipitor which I think it's rise as did statins is not an accident. It likely killed my mother and had I not caught it, maybe me too. And likely permanently weaken my legs. After 3 wks of stopping it I was much better . Then they switched me to Zocor which after a while caused depression. Again stopping 3 wks later it was gone, neither to come back. Statin effect cholesterol which they don't tell you makes up a lot of your brain and various cells including muscle cells especially. So if you have great muscle pain, aches , being touched pain in stages and taking any kind of statin, stop for a month which isn't going to hurt, and see if the pain, depression goes away.
asninsp
Most likely the "new study" is work of big pharma to ensure they continue to make obscene profits out of peoples misfortune. Take it with a ton of salt.
rederje
"2.4% lower left ventricular mass" is quite a small improvement with respect to quite strong secondary effects. There is no information on the proportion of real death avoided, likely less than 1%, impossible to measure. To prevent cardiovasculer deaths, it is proven that strong exercice, even young, all along your life, decreases by two ( 50% less ) the number of deaths, proved since 1953 by Jerry Morris ( not flauwed or fraudulent, verified by thousand studies since 1953 year ), http://www.bmj.com/content/2/5111/1485 on London bus drivers, and what you eat, avoiding junk food, and eating natural fruits and vegetables and eating three times less salt, decreases by another factor 2, all others illness. Taking statins against the obesity epidemy is a wrong solution with only "2.4% lower left ventricular mass". Exercice and eat natural, with no industrial food, 3 times less salt, will save you, like for me, retired old with no statins, running or cycling, easily 4 kilometers in strong slopes, each day.
HeldemanCloete
I had a heart attack at the age of 47. Now 65 i have been using 10mg Simvastatin daily for the last 5 years. I do not get any great muscle joint pain, pain, aches, or being touched with pain in stages. I do not feel/notice any good or bad affects. I design websites and do digitizing for embroidering and there is no increase or decrease of my work over many years. I feel healthy with no medical problems, OK a cold or flue every few years. So what must i believe.