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On February 1, 2019, the prestigious medical journal the Lancet published a meta-analysis examining potential benefits the statin and class of medication.
The article confirmed and extended the powerful evidence for benefit for the use of statins in people with a previous history of heart disease, stroke and for those with diabetes. It showed that these benefits continue to accrue well beyond the age of 75.
For the first time unequivocal benefit was shown for for the use of statins in individuals with no previous heart disease, stroke or diabetes for the ages 55-75. Taking myself as an example (a generally healthy 60 year old male with no previous heart disease or stroke, non-smoker and without diabetes) the following benefits might be expected.
If I started taking a statin pill today and continued it every day until the age of 75 my risk of heart attack, stroke or death would be reduced by 6%. Another way of putting it is that 1 in 16 people like me who took a statin medication daily for 15 years would avoid heart attack, stroke or death.
The question for every person like me, and for their loved ones, is “is it worth it”. Statin medication costs around $0.40 a day and has very few side effects: 1 in 20 people may get muscle pain. There is a very slight increase in the risk of diabetes. There is no evidence that it causes cognitive decline or an increased risk of dementia.