Don’t Believe The Hype About Statins And Stroke Prevention

| May 21, 2015

I shook my head in disbelief when I recently saw this latest pro-statin news headline: Cholesterol drugs may curb stroke among low-risk older adults.

In this latest blatant statin push, French researchers claim that, according to the results of their latest study, people who take statins or fibrates (another type of cholesterol-lowering medicine) are 34 per cent less likely to suffer a stroke.

The French researchers analysed data from interviews with 7,500 elderly patients. At the start of the study, in 1999, participants were at least 65 years old, with an average age of 74. They had no history of vascular disease or stroke.

The lead researcher noted that participants in the study were richer, better educated and followed healthier diets than the typical person.

About 27 per cent (approximately 2,025) of the participants took either statins or fibrates to lower their cholesterol. During the 9 year follow up, 292 people had a stroke and 440 experienced other cardiovascular events.

The researchers added that strokes were more common among men and participants who were older or had other risk factors such as diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure.

So, let’s break this down:

  • The study only focused on healthier elderly people who did not have a prior history of heart disease or stroke — meaning their risk of stroke and vascular events was already low.
  • Just over a quarter of the participants took statins or fibrates. However, in their results the researchers do not specify how many of those taking the drugs were among the participants who suffered either cardiovascular events or stroke during the course of the study.
  • They also don’t say how many of the non-drug users ended up suffering a stroke or cardiovascular event… So, it is unclear what they base the final 34 per cent risk reduction on: Total number of participants at the beginning of the study, the total number of drug users who stayed healthy or the total number of non-drug users who had a stroke.
  • The results showed that strokes were more common among men and participants who were older or had other risk factors such as diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure. Suggesting that lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise played a big role in the increased risk of stroke.

Now, if you ask me, based on the study’s design and methodology, statin drugs and fibrates had very little to do with stroke reduction — it’s more likely that risk factors such as diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure played a bigger role and that those participants who had no history of cardiovascular events and who maintained a healthy lifestyle were the ones who kept a clean bill of health.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, even the researchers say that taking cholesterol-lowering drugs didn’t lower the risk of vascular events or heart disease. They also add that their study doesn’t prove that these drugs prevent strokes.

They are right. It doesn’t.

In fact, previous studies have linked low cholesterol levels with an increased risk of what is known as ‘haemorrhagic stroke’ (strokes caused by bleeding from blood vessels in the brain, rather than blockage in these vessels).

That’s not all. There is also some evidence that lowering cholesterol with statins can increase the risk of haemorrhagic stroke, therefore suggesting that low cholesterol may indeed cause this form of stroke…

Yet, you won’t see news headlines about these studies all over the papers.

It angers me to see researchers run to the media with botched trial results that frankly prove nothing… apart from blowing the so-called benefits of cholesterol-lowering drugs completely out of proportion in the hope that more drugs will be prescribed to more patients… even those who are at low risk.

What makes my blood boil even more, is to see the media jump on the statin bandwagon, sending a benefit-driven message to the masses without scrutinising the studies they are reporting on.

The fact remains that even mainstream doctors don’t recommend statin use for elderly patients because the benefits are less clear for the elderly… and since these drugs have been linked to side effects including diabetes, cognitive impairment, and liver injury they will almost certainly cause much more harm than good (if any good at all)!

If you are over the age of 65 and your doctor wants to put you on statin drugs, you have every right to question his decision… especially if you are low-risk. The last thing you want to do is to spend your old age battling with debilitating side effects like fatigue, muscle cramps, depression, memory loss, cataracts, liver and kidney dysfunction, and muscle deterioration.

Here's to keeping your heart strong and healthy

Francois Lubbe
Editor
for The Cholesterol Truth



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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


Sources:

Cholesterol drugs may curb strokes among low-risk older adults, published online 19.05.15, uk.reuters.com/

Amerenco P, et al. High-dose atorvastatin after stroke or transient ischemic attack. NEJM 2006;355(6):549-59

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Category: Latest Cholesterol Research

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Just RSVP below for immediate access to this valuable report, with our sincere compliments.

As you'll discover in your FREE report, there are safe, natural ways to protect your heart without the use of risky, side-effect-ridden drugs.

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