People who have high levels of LDL cholesterol should feel taking statins, revealed analysis from the University of Iowa, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Jennifer Robinson, a physician, professor of epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health, and study coauthor, says the findings show that doctors should more aggressively treat patients who have high levels of LDL cholesterol with statins, and patients should feel safe using them. Statins are the safest drugs we have to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death in a wide range of patients.
The study analyzed 34 previous studies that involved more than 270,000 participants. The analysis found that statins were more likely to reduce the risk of death when LDL cholesterol levels were 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or greater, whether or not they were used with other LDL-lowering drugs. Robinson says the study found the lives of an additional 4.3 in 1,000 people were saved every year when treated with LDL cholesterol lowering therapy. The greatest benefit--and the greatest reduction in death rates--came to those with the highest levels of LDL cholesterol, she says. LDL cholesterol causes fat and plaque to build up in arteries, increasing the risk for heart attacks and strokes. Levels below 100 mg/dl are considered optimal, as people with that reading are less likely to develop cholesterol plaques as they age. Readings above 100 mg/dl are considered unhealthy.
The study shows that LDL-lowering drugs can be effective for preventing heart attacks and stroke in people with risk factors even when LDL cholesterol levels are low, but even more heart attacks and death are prevented when people have LDL levels above 100 mg/dl.
The study, "Lipid lowering and mortality and cardiovascular outcomes," was published in the April 3, 2018, issue of JAMA.