do statins prevent strokes or is it myth? Any support to answers welcomed


I am in UK. I have AF and sick sinus disease, emphysema and a lot of other stuff. Currently been in AF since Friday tea time. No thinners as consultant says I dont need them yet. (I take selenium and lycopene for that aspect), and put me on statins based on a reading of cholesterol some time ago of 5.2. Said it reduces my stroke risk by 21 percent. I said about side effects and bad press and she said try it and see. I asked if she would take them and was told yes. I have asked for a cholesterol test before starting as a point to work from.

If anyone has any medically valid information on trials or benefits or risks etc, please can you send some to me. I don't mind PM for that.


10 Replies

  • Statins may have many benefits but not for stroke prevention in AF. If your risk factors (CHADSVASC) say yes then warfarin or NOACs are required. Please note that none of these are blood thinners. They do not affect the viscosity of the blood one iota but what they do is to help prevent the blood form forming clots if the flow is interrupted and eddies formed by the fibrillating atria. May I suggest that you look up CHADSVASC on the main AF-Association website and do your own risk calculation.


  • Did the check, says Im a score of 1. I think the Dr meant reducing cholesterol by taking the simvastatin lowers the risk of stroke. I did realize the statins aren't blood thinners. Thanks for the good advice.


  • I guess anticoagulants provide immediate and direct protection from stroke; whereas statins hypothetically might provide a bit of indirect and long-term reduction in stroke risk by interfering with one potential risk factor (cholesterol). But as you are female I would also check the scientific evidence on the benefits of statins. From what I've read, those benefits are most obvious for men who have heart disease, and a bit controversial for other populations. Statins can also have side effects, including memory impairment and muscle weakness. So monitor your reaction to this drug carefully.

  • I had no idea women and men react differently to statins, thanks for that, will do some investigating. I have a lot of muscle aches and pains anyway so not sure I will know on that level but will be aware in case I can tell. Thankyou for letting me know.

  • No statistical evidence I'm afraid - just a simple patient example which I'm pretty sure I would find was replicated extensively if I could be bothered to research it. I had a cholesterol check when I was about 40. It was 6.2, which is higher than it should be but I did nothing about it. I had a similar check ten years later and the level was 6.4. I was put on statins and have been on these for the last 15 years. I have cholesterol checks every year now and the reading has never been above 4. It usually hovers around 3.5. That's a healthy figure and it has to be good for me. The various 'heart tests' I have had since developing AF have shown that I have no furring of the arteries and no faulty valves. In fact the 'plumbing', if not the 'electrics', is in excellent condition.

    So you can imagine, I have a high regard for statins but here's something interesting. If I had to choose to take a statin or an anticoagulant for my future health - it would be a no brainer. The anticoagulant every time.

  • That's really interesting, thanks. Im not being offered a choice between AC and statins, just the statins. I am trying to research but not great it so it takes forever. Many thanks for reply.

  • Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead you by suggesting there was a choice between statins and anticoagulants. They don't do the same job, so there isn't. I was simply emphasising my own strong belief in anticoagulation with AF - above almost all else.

    It's not universally shared but.... I live and sleep well.

  • Hi, its ok, I think I figured that out ;-) Ive fought the idea of anticoags but starting to come round, although Consultant says I don't need it, my GP and pacemaker team seem to think I should, but cnsults word rules. I just take lycopene, selenium for other reasons, but they seem to do a good job on thinning blood, so Im ok with it for now.

  • Lycopene may assist in cell renewal and selenium among other things is thought to cure dandruff but I promise you, neither have anticoagulant properties.

  • Thanks for enlightening me. I have had oral leukoplakia for about 20 years and lycopene helped a good bit with it, but since taking selenium (to reduce thyroid autoantibodies) the leukoplakia has greatly improved too. Im happy with the results anyway, and since taking them my blood flows much easier when I prick finger. I used to struggle t get one drop out, but not now, so Im pleased anyway.


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