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Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol
For individuals who have received unhealthy cholesterol tests, statin medications may significantly reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack. It has long been known that these medications lower cholesterol levels to healthier points, but now new research explains how they may also prevent the accumulation of fat in the arteries.
The development of fatty blockages is a hallmark of atherosclerosis, a common result of high cholesterol. This condition is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. In the present, researchers from New York University showed that statins effectively dissolve these buildups.
Often, as fat begins to accumulate in the arteries immune cells known as macrophages will attack the buildups and sweep them away. However, these macrophages can become bogged down in the fatty deposits and end up contributing to the blockage.
The study showed that statin medications activate a signaling pathway on the macrophages that instruct them to leave the site of cholesterol deposits. This can have the effective of dissolving buildups and heading off the development of atherosclerosis.
The researchers said their findings show that statin medications may have wider applications than presently believed.
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