Cardiologists have long believed the hypothesis that heart attacks and angina caused by narrowing and blockages to heart arteries are caused in part by high cholesterol levels. Not only does LDL cholesterol (so called “bad cholesterol”) build up in the wall of the coronary artery as it narrows, but many studies in thousands of patients across many different parts of the world (including Northern Ireland and Ireland) have shown that reducing LDL cholesterol levels with statins dramatically reduces the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
It has also been comprehensively shown that lowering LDL cholesterol after a stroke or heart attack dramatically reduces the chance of a further heart attack or stroke and increases your life expectancy.
Despite the wealth of good data, some prominent commentators have called into question the benefit that statins have. Although it is likely that long-term use of statins can very slightly increase the risk of the development of type 2 diabetes, this risk is tiny compared with the benefit that a statin gives in terms of reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients at risk.
Statins like all tablets can cause side effects and very rarely these can be severe. However, because they are so effective they are recommended for the prevention of heart attack and stroke in at risk individuals by numerous international guidelines including the National Institute for Clinical excellence (NICE), European Society of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
You can be confident that as a Heart Specialist, I can provide you with an honest and open appraisal of the evidence and ensure we come to a treatment decision tailored to your individual requirements.