Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Statins May Halve Heart-Attack Risk: Time

By Alice Park

MedicalRF / Getty

A much-anticipated study released Nov. 9 at the American Heart Association's annual meeting confirms what doctors have long suspected: that inflammation may be as critical a predictor for heart-disease risk as is a patient's cholesterol score.

The study's results suggest that using statins to treat the symptoms of inflammation, an oft-overlooked condition, may nearly halve people's risk of future heart attack, stroke and heart-related death.

Led by Dr. Paul Ridker at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, the study tracked about 17,800 people in 26 countries. Participants included men ages 50 and older and women ages 60 and older, who had high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) but normal cholesterol levels and no history of heart disease. Half the participants were given rosuvastatin (Crestor), and half were given a placebo daily for just under two years. The statin group reduced their CRP levels by 37%; their LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels dropped 50% to about 55 mg/dL. Among the 8,901 statin-takers, 31 suffered a heart attack and 33 suffered a stroke. When compared with the placebo group, those figures translated to a 54% lower risk of heart attack and a 48% lower risk of stroke in people taking a statin for inflammation — double the reduction of risk in patients who lower their cholesterol alone.

For more on this article, please click on the following link: Statins May Halve Heart-Attack Risk: Time

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