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Study: Cholesterol drugs effective for other high-risk heart attack groups

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

People with normal or low cholesterol may benefit from taking statin drugs, meant to reduce cholesterol levels, as a preventative approach to warding off heart attacks, researchers say.

A study which appears in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that statins reduced the risk of heart attacks, clogged arteries and other heart health complications in people with low or normal cholesterol levels but high levels of C-reactive protein, Reuters reports. This protein, which is not typically screened for, is a common indicator of inflammation.

The researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston calculated the number of patients with low cholesterol and high C-reactive protein levels who would need to take the statins for five years before the drug prevented a heart attack, stroke or other serious heart health concern. They found that the number was comparable to the amount of patients with high cholesterol who benefit from the drug.

One researcher, Dr Paul Ridker, told the news source, "This study suggests that many patients outside our current treatment guidelines could benefit substantially from statin therapy." He added, "The time may be at hand for a shift in how we go about preventing heart disease."

WebMD reports that a C-reactive protein test is a blood test that can identify infection, cancer of the lymph nodes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and risk of heart attack.

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