Study finds link between high cholesterol, heart disease and its inconsistency

There’s a link between ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL-C) and poor health outcomes, like heart attacks and strokes, according to a new study from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences RCSI . The results of the study were published in the journal “JAMA Internal Medicine”.Also Read – 10 Things Indian Women Should Do To Protect Their Hearts

Research questions the effectiveness of statins when prescribed for the purpose of lowering LDL-C and therefore reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). ALSO READ – Study reveals how daily activities can help reduce risk of heart disease in older women

Previous research has suggested that using statins to lower LDL-C positively affects health outcomes, and this is reflected in the various iterations of expert guidelines for CVD prevention. Statins are now commonly prescribed by doctors, with a third of Irish adults over 50 taking statins, previous research shows. Read also – Is Covid-19 risky for people with heart disease? Does it induce a rate of heart attacks? Everything you need to know – Watch

The new findings contradict this theory, finding that this relationship was not as strong as previously thought. Instead, research demonstrates that lowering LDL-C using statins has had an inconsistent and inconclusive impact on outcomes for cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and all-cause mortality.

Further, this indicates that the overall benefit of taking statins may be small and will vary depending on an individual’s personal risk factors.

The lead author of the article is Dr. Paula Byrne of the HRB Center for Primary Care Research based in RCSI’s Department of General Medicine. Commenting on the results, Dr Byrne said: ‘The message has long been that lowering your cholesterol will reduce your risk of heart disease and that statins help to do this. However, our research indicates that in reality the benefits of taking statins are varied and can be quite modest.

The researchers go on to suggest that this updated information should be communicated to patients through informed clinical decision-making and updated clinical guidelines and policies.

This important discovery was a collaboration with Professor Susan M Smith, also from RCSI and with researchers from the University of New Mexico, USA, (Dr Robert DuBroff), the Institute for Scientific Freedom in Denmark (Dr Maryanne Demasi), Bond University in Australia (Dr Mark Jones) and independent researcher Dr Kirsty O’Brien.

(With ANI inputs)