People suffering from narrowed leg arteries have a severe risk of amputation, however, a new study published by the School of Medicine at Emory University, Atlanta, suggested that statins and drugs designed for lowering cholesterol may help reduce this risk. The study was presented today at the American Heart Association meeting in Nashville.
Actually, the research, which was directed by vascular specialist Dr. Shipra Arya, has shown that increasing the dose of cholesterol drugs has a positive outcome in narrowed leg arteries patients. According to the Dr. Arya, arteries-related diseases are a huge health problem that can be the next epidemic, especially affections in arteries in legs, arms, and head.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) that precisely affects arteries in legs, arms, head and stomach, is quite common among the American population. The study used data from around 200.000 patients suffering PADs, mostly veterans from the Veterans Affairs’ database, identifying those who were on cholesterol drugs and statins. The results amazed the doctors from the Vascular Unit at Emory University.
Patients were divided into three groups: People with PADs that were not taking statins, those who took moderate to low doses, and those patients ingesting high doses of cholesterol drugs. The study went for a 5 year time period and resulted in those patients taking the highest doses lowering their risk for amputation to 33 percent while those ingesting moderate or low doses lowering the risk to a 29 percent. Patients that did not take statins, their risk lowered to a 22 percent.
According to Dr. Arya, this opens a new possibility to PAD patients, who can now consider using high doses on statins once they are diagnosed with arterial diseases. They can be combined with regular arterial medication and traditional therapy, as prescripted by their physicians. The risk in this tendency may be the tolerance that the patients will have to statins since they are a class of medication that inhibits important enzymes and the interaction between the statins and other chemical and biological components can react in an adverse way, affecting the patients’ health.
Most important adverse side effects of the ingestions of statins are muscle problems, increased risk of diabetes, and chemical interactions that can end in liver damage. However, the rate and frequency of these side effects are minimal in comparison to the benefits reported both to cardiovascular disease patients and people suffering high cholesterol index.