The U.S Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has published online a draft with recommendations about the use of statin for prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults.

The institution recommended adults over the age of 40 should take statins in order to reduce their cholesterol levels since it could be an important variable to decrease the chances of dying of a heart disease.

Photo: BBC News.
Photo: BBC News.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) explains that cholesterol is a substance found in the cells of the body and it is used to make hormones, vitamin D and substances that help to digest food. When the levels of this substance that is produced by the body but can also be found in some foods, are very high in the blood, the opportunities of getting coronary heart disease are increased, said the NHLBI.

Statins are drugs used to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, which interfere with the production of the substance in the liver and lower bad cholesterol levels while they raise good cholesterol levels and also slow the formation of plaques in the arteries, wrote MedlinePlus from the U.S National Library of Medicine.

“Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death, and people with no signs or symptoms or past history of cardiovascular disease can still be at risk. Our review indicates that some of these people can take a statin to prevent heart attacks and strokes,” told task force member and Stanford University professor Dr. Douglas Owens to WebMd.

In the United States more than 36 million people take statins, the USPSTF declared that adults in ages between 40 and 75 years, that have at least 10 percent of risk of getting heart diseases, should take the medicine. Also people with a risk of 7.5 percent should do the same as a preventive measure.

Heart diseases are the primary cause of death for men and women in the nation, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year approximately 610,000 Americans die from heart disease, which represents an amount of 1 in every 4 deaths is the country. The CDC wrote that the main risk factors of the disease are high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity.

Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, of Northwestern University in Chicago said to MedPage “There has been some debate in some quarters that we shouldn’t use statins for primary prevention because they don’t reduce total mortality. That argument is dead because this is now the third systematic review in a row that showed statins reduce total mortality in addition to all the other things. That debate needs to end.”

That being said, members from the task force explained that the pill should not be a substitute for leading a healthy lifestyle, they even recommended people with lower risk of getting heart disease can be benefited if they change their habits, eat healthy and make exercise. People with higher risks should change their lifestyle but should also take statins.

There is an online calculator that is sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology which calculates the 10-year risk of heart disease or stroke using an algorithm published in the Guideline of the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk in 2013.

Source: U.S Preventive Services