Should I get on the statins conveyor ... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Should I get on the statins conveyor belt

Fred66
Fred66

Following a blood test at my doctors they came up with a score of 15% as the likelihood of me having a heart attack etc in the next 10 years. I've looked at the test and it scoring mechanism and it seems very rough and ready to me. Also, it doesn't fit with the way I feel. I am a healthy 66 man who runs a 5K Parkrun every week, I do bits and pieces in the gym and never have I felt dizzy or ever had any problem that would suggest I have a problem with my heart.

It seems to me that I've got a fairly healthy heart and before I take a statin tablets every day for the rest of my life does anyone know of any tests that I could take that would give me a better indication of whether this is a sensible course of action

38 Replies
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MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star

Hello and welcome to the forum! Many people have no symptoms before they are hit by angina or a heart attack. What was the blood test you referred to. If it was cholesterol the result is important. If not too much over normal lifestyle and dietary changes may get it in the normal range. Without any figures it is hard to comment further.

Hello, I can’t answer your question directly but I can tell you my friend’s experience. He was offered statins by his GP as his blood results were borderline for needing them. He decided not to. A year later he found himself as an emergency admission having a stent fitted to a blocked artery. As he and the medics said, hindsight is a wonderful thing! Obviously we’re all different and his experience may not be replicated by others. In the end you’ve got to make the decision you can live with knowing the risks. And that your nearest and dearest can live with too if it doesn’t go to plan.

If you look at some of the posts on here a lot of the people who have had heart attacks are fit me included I eat sensibly don't drink or smoke have an active job do

lots of walking but I still had a HA if I could have prevented this happening by taking a station I definatly would have

Unfortunately I am not totally convinced how much statins prevent heart attacks,they can also impact with unwanted side effects.

Osidge
Osidge in reply to bobaxford

The ASCOT trial showed that they can prevent heart attacks.

bobaxford
bobaxford in reply to Osidge

Looking at the data, Fig 1 roughly the same number about 2000 took the placebo as in the statins arm and roughly the same number, 90 placebo and 83 statins died, so not very convincing to me.

Osidge
Osidge in reply to bobaxford

The study was not only looking at deaths but also stroke and cardiac events that were not fatal. I was part of the study and also part of another cardiac study a few years ago when by heart was great (cardiac MRIs) and there was no thickening of my arteries (specialist ultrasound).

“ASCOT FINDINGS: Treatment was stopped after a median follow-up of 3.3 years. By that time, 100 primary events had occurred in the atorvastatin group compared with 154 events in the placebo group (hazard ratio 0.64 [95% CI 0.50-0.83], p=0.0005). This benefit emerged in the first year of follow-up. There was no significant heterogeneity among prespecified subgroups. Fatal and non-fatal stroke (89 atorvastatin vs 121 placebo, 0.73 [0.56-0.96], p=0.024), total cardiovascular events (389 vs 486, 0.79 [0.69-0.90], p=0.0005), and total coronary events (178 vs 247, 0.71 [0.59-0.86], p=0.0005) were also significantly lowered. There were 185 deaths in the atorvastatin group and 212 in the placebo group (0.87 [0.71-1.06], p=0.16). Atorvastatin lowered total serum cholesterol by about 1.3 mmol/L compared with placebo at 12 months, and by 1.1 mmol/L after 3 years of follow-up”

bobaxford
bobaxford in reply to Osidge

Thank you, but I still don’t find the stats very convincing, I would say there is marginal benefit, 195 deaths vs 212 is still in the same ballpark to me. No fatal events can be very subjective, lowering LDL was achieved, but latest research indicates that just looking LDL is meaningless. Sorry if I seem negative, but taking statins for over 10 years didn’t seem to prevent my condition worsening to the point that while taking themmy risk of a fatal HA increased significantly.

bobaxford
bobaxford in reply to bobaxford

Non fatal events I meant to say are subjective

Osidge
Osidge in reply to bobaxford

You might not be bothered by a non-fatal stroke or cardiac event but I am guessing most people would not want them and all that flows from them

Adaboo
Adaboo in reply to bobaxford

I agree with you, in new studies that were done not funded by pharma they concluded statins only increased your like by 1-2 days, that those with lowest cholesterol died first! With all the money in pharma it’s hard to know what to believe now

I've been told that it's not so much the overall cholesterol reading but the good to bad ratio. My reading overall is 3.8 which looks ok but my triglycerides are 2.8 of that so I'll stay on statins for now. As I've been on them for 2 years since stents fitted I would have hoped that things would be better, but perhaps it's the genetic effect that is holding me back.

jobe1968
jobe1968 in reply to benjijen

I had very good reduction in triglycerides using a high quality fish oil. About 2 to 4 grams per day of EPA DHA. Went from 3.5 to 1.1

Hi, please read some of the studies done on statins. They showed an increase of life of 1-2 days in people who have not had any cardiac event. They say it’s to lower cholesterol so if yours is high you could do this by diet. Yet now studies are saying cholesterol causing attacks or disease is a myth, it’s inflammation that’s damaging our arteries and blocking them up. I’m not a fan of statins due to the studies being kept from any other bodies to analyse properly and because GP trusts were paid to prescribe them to everyone over 50 and because they can cause untold muscle damage. There’s no money is making us better is there. Oh sceptical me. This is just my point of view 🙂

jobe1968
jobe1968 in reply to Adaboo

Statins have been shown to reduce the “inflammation” you quote. So perhaps the benefit if not just LDL reduction.

Adaboo
Adaboo in reply to jobe1968

But there are much better and safer ways of getting inflammation down with diet and natural supplements

jobe1968
jobe1968 in reply to Adaboo

Yes. My post did say go for lifestyle changes if possible

Fred..I'm not a fan of statins either, due to side effects....raising blood sugar is just one of them....I stopped them after a number of years....and if you were told that you are 15% likely to have a heart attack.....then you're 85% likely not to have one...

This is an interesting piece of research. More people report should de effects if they know they are taking a statin than those who do not! thelancet.com/journals/lanc...

I guess that you are more likely to have a side effect if you convince yourself that you will have one! Of course, no medications are without side effects but most people will not get them.

On the long-term benefit of statins: academic.oup.com/eurheartj/...

Adaboo
Adaboo in reply to Osidge

That study was funded by one of the biggest pharma companies. Huge conflict of interest which to me makes it void.

conflict of interest: P.S.S. and N.R.P. have served as consultants or received travel expenses, or payment for speaking at meetings, or funding for research from one or more pharmaceutical companies that market blood-pressure-lowering or lipid-lowering drugs, including Pfizer for ASCOT.

Osidge
Osidge in reply to Adaboo

Of course it is not void because of the funding from a Pharma company. Do you have evidence of malfeasance on the part of the researchers?

Adaboo
Adaboo in reply to Osidge

Sorry but to me it is. I don’t look for reviews on a product that are only made by the manufacturer, that would be madness. They never allowed any other researchers to look at the statin studies for years, now some have been independently looked at the outcomes changed. TBH if any study is funded by the manufacturer of that product I don’t bother reading it.. each to their own.

Osidge
Osidge in reply to Adaboo

In the ASCOT trial, the research was not carried out by pharma but by a respected research team that continues cardiac research funded by various organisations to this day. I sincerely hope that you are not besmirching that team. As a researcher (mainly in the fields of dementia and screening and early diagnosis of cancer, pharma funds are welcome as their is insufficient public funding to do all the research that needs to be done.

Adaboo
Adaboo in reply to Osidge

I’m not besmirching anyone. It’s my point of view which I’m sure I’m allowed. I repeat. This is MY opinion 🙂

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Adaboo

All care and advice is offered by clinicians.

It is our choice whether we accept this advice.

We then have to take responsibility for the decision we make.

Adaboo
Adaboo in reply to Milkfairy

Totally agree Milkfairy 🙂

Osidge
Osidge in reply to Adaboo

I wonder why I bother to do research as it is obviously not appreciated. Without the support of those with the money, there would be less new drugs and treatment advances. I despair.

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Osidge

I am extremely grateful to researchers who undertake their reseach into my under recognised condition.

It has meant my care has improved.

However I find some of the greatest resistance to this research is from clinicians.

Osidge
Osidge in reply to Milkfairy

It is a big problem. Many rarer conditions do not get the research they need for a whole variety of reasons. I do see change, however, with research into rare conditions often being carried out in specialist centres.

jobe1968
jobe1968 in reply to Adaboo

Then you will void an awful lot of very good research. If the state does not fund research into medicines who will other than “Big Pharma”

Adaboo
Adaboo in reply to jobe1968

There are loads of research labs who look into study results and peer review them. The statin ones funded by pharma weren’t released for review for years. You have to wonder why. It’s just my view. As I said, each to their own.

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Adaboo

The BHF is the largest independent funder of Cardiovascular research in the UK.

bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/our-r...

bhf.org.uk/for-professional...

bhf.org.uk/for-professional...

Osidge
Osidge in reply to Milkfairy

Two of the largest funders of research generally in the UK are the National Institute for Health Research and the Medical Research Council. I am proud to be working with both of them.

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Osidge

These are government funded orgsnisations. The BHF is independent of government and only researches into Cardiovascular disease. It quite often co funds research with the National Institute for health research and the Medical Reseach council. These organisations are therefore bigger funders overall if all medical research.

The BHF is a charity and receives its income from the generosity of the public nothing from the government.

Keep doing your research it is important.

All reseach should involve patients working in equal partnership with the researchers throughout all the stages of the study.

This has to be demonstrated by all the research applicants to the NIHR, MRC and BHF.

No meaningful patient and public involvement can jeopardise a funding award.

Osidge
Osidge in reply to Milkfairy

That is true. More and more, funders expect to see a high level of patient and public involvement from deciding research topics through to having people like myself as PPI Co-applicants for grants and co-researchers. There is, however, a great need for more people to get involved. I have always said that getting involved with research should be as important as the treatment you receive.

My risk factor was just below the cut-off to be prescribed statins but because for decades I had eaten a Mediterranean diet, exercised daily for at least an hour, a mix of cardio and weights and was a moderate drinker. I had never smoked. 6 months ago I had a heart attack . I have a 70% blocked artery which is being managed with medication- 9 a day. I wish I'd been prescribed statins because the shock and anxiety are only slowly wearing off. There is controversy around all meds. and diets and ultimately we have to read the research and make a decision. You get all different viewpoints about both on this forum which I have found really helpful because people often send links to research.

If I was healthy and no symptoms - I’d probably stick with whatever you’ve done up to now. I’ve just finished my NHS rehab and plenty of people in there who were on statins and still blocked up. I had a 95% blocked LAD - I wouldn’t say my diet was too fatty and my cholesterol wasn’t very high. I DID have a sugar addiction though ....which makes me lean towards the inflammation explanation. I’m on statins now as no point gambling.

Despite my registering a high cholesterol score my GP said my risk score did not merit Statins. Raised this each year with the test results and got the same reply. One major cardiac event later I take the view stuff the treatment statistics your health is a personal issue. It took my heart attack to wake me up to you are your best “Health monitor “ your GP is last resort when it’s gone wrong. Knowing what I know now I would say any man or women over the age of forty should seek a regular check up maybe one a year or so with a doctor who has an interest in interventional medicine. Interventional in that they measure your stats against diet and lifestyle and advise changes to prevent the problems. Not that they are practicing any form of quackery!

Do the research regards Statins I did and happily take them. I am however in the group of people shown to really benefit them, post heart attack middle aged man.

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