The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 100 million Americans have high cholesterol. Statins are medications that lower cholesterol levels. But, who should take them? A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that statins lower the risk of cardiovascular events in people at medium risk without cardiovascular disease.
In this Mayo Clinic Minute, reporter Vivien Williams talks to cardiologist Dr. Stephen Kopecky about who should take statins.
Vivien Williams: Should you take a statin to lower your cholesterol? A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine found statins can lower your risk of heart attack or stroke, even if you don’t have cardiovascular disease.
Stephen Kopecky, M.D. Cardiology Mayo Clinic: “They gave patients a statin to lower their cholesterol, rosuvastatin. They based it on their risk for heart attack over the next 10 years.”
Vivien Williams: Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Stephen Kopecky says the study assessed risk in a new way.
Stephen Kopecky, M.D.: “We normally have things like blood pressure, we have things like diabetes, smoking.”
Vivien Williams: The study also looked at waist-to-hip ratio, family history, slightly elevated blood sugars and mild kidney dysfunction. Study participants were required to have a 10-percent risk of having a heart attack in 10 years. Even thought that risk doesn’t seem very high…
Stephen Kopecky, M.D.: “The statin significantly lowered their risk of their needing a bypass, stent, having a stroke or having a heart attack or dying over 5 years.”
Vivien Williams: Dr. Kopecky says lifestyle changes, such as moving more and eating right are key to lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, even if you do take a statin. For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I’m Vivien Williams.