The risk for heart diseases can be reduced with a healthy diet. Supporting this statement a report by leading doctors said that, the mediterranean diet is 'as effective as statins' in reducing heart attack risk.
Risk for heart disease should be lowered through a healthy diet and plenty of exercise than automatically relying on drugs to fix the problem said the paper which is published on September 7.
Bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which advise doctors how to treat patients, should rely less on medication to cut cardiovascular risk.
"For most middle-aged people wishing to avoid heart disease, a healthy diet offers a far more powerful, sustainable and enjoyable plan that lifelong statin tablets," said Professor Simon Capewell, Vice-President of the UK Faculty of Public Health.
In the UK, it is estimated that 7 million people are currently taking statins with the numbers expected to rise as NICE lowers its criteria for statin suitability. Earlier, people with a 20 percent chance of getting a heart attack in the next 10 years were considered suitable for statins but the new threshold is reduced to 10 percent.
Enough information is not given to patients about the risks and benefits associated with statins use nor do doctors fully explore the possibilities of making lifestyle changes to reduce risk of heart disease.
"Patients should be counseled about the nature and value of a healthy diet," the authors write. "A Mediterranean diet in moderation, with as little processed food as possible, is a cardiovascular intervention tested in randomized trials and shown to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) events."
"Patients should know that physical activities, particularly enjoyable ones, can lead to important, lasting health and quality of life benefits." Such measures are often less convenient than simply prescribing drugs, but they "rarely include significant harm risk, can prolong life, and have the added benefit of substantial non-cardiovascular benefits."
Statins have been repeatedly linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and thus their efficacy is being questioned. Few research show that "only...a limited percentage of patients benefit" from statins. It is estimated that somewhere between 1 in 50 and 1 in 200 are the actual number of people who prolong their life through statin use.
"We should not make treatment dependent on crude thresholds that handle patients in a cold, statistical manner," said Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA's GP committee. "Any decision on treatment should look at wider factors, including lifestyle, and empower patients to make informed choices about their own healthcare choices." The paper is published in Prescriber