September is National Cholesterol Education Month and SoFHA physicians would like to alert patients to new research published this year (2016) related to statin drugs.
Statins are medications often prescribed to reduce bad cholesterol or LDL (low density lipoprotein) in the blood. Having too much LDL is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke – two leading causes of death in our country.
In one study carried out by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark, it was found that simvastatin, a common cholesterol drug, may also benefit immune defense systems in people with certain chronic inflammatory diseases – such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. For these individuals, the drug – in addition to lowering cholesterol – acted to “plug” proteins that normally retain immune cells and contribute to disease-causing inflammation. This finding has important implications since many people can take statins without significant side effects.
Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine and reported on WebMD News found that giving moderate doses of statins to treat heart disease patients appeared just as effective as using higher doses. The study noted that further research was needed to confirm what the ideal target cholesterol level should be for patients already diagnosed with heart disease.
Notably, 71 million adults in our country have high cholesterol but only one-third of them control the condition. Talk with your SoFHA physician about how often you should have your cholesterol tested.
To learn more about the importance of controlling cholesterol, go to “September is National Cholesterol Education Month” posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Effect of cholesterol medicine on inflammatory diseases mapped,” news release posted on Aarhus University website, July 7, 2016.
“A Little of Statins’ Effect Helps Heart” by Alan Mozes, published on the Cholesterol & Triglycerides Health Center of WebMD News from HealthDay.