After reviewing a research, scientists say that people over the age of 75 should be taking statins.
In UK, around 150,000 people die due to heart-related diseases, out of which about two-thirds are aged above 75.
Statins are cholesterol lowering drugs that reduce the fatty plagues in vessels and hence, help reduce the blockages in them.
More than thousands of lives can be saved every year if one third of people over 75s in UK take statins, claim researchers. These cholesterol-lowering drugs may improve the quality of life for many.
The benefits of these medicines for this age group are not yet clear and lack evidence. But statins are supposed to cut down the risks of major cardiovascular diseases in all age groups, including the over 75s.
There exists a controversy over the side effects of statins. Statins are said to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Other common side effects include digestive problems and muscle pain.
But its benefits are said to out-weigh these side effects highly. Statins are more advantageous for people who are already suffering from already from a vascular disease. The study points that more the reduction in bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), more the reduction in the risk cardiovascular diseases.
This does not indicate to people that they should choose statins over lifestyle changes and exercises to reduce cholesterol. “I think it’s not an either/or,” says Prof. Baigent.
The vice-chairman of Royal College of GPs, Prof. Martin Marshall, pointed that not all the patients want to be on long-term meditation. “But GPs are highly trained to prescribe and will only recommend the drugs if they think they will genuinely help the person sitting in front of them, based on their individual circumstances – and after a frank conversation about the potential risks and benefits.”