Our experts answer your questions
Q I’m a 55-year-old man. My sister, who knows that I’ve been taking statins for some years, said she read somewhere that they’re now considered unnecessary. I’m really concerned. What’s your advice about coming off them? Are there other ways to significantly lower my cholesterol? I was always quite a healthy eater, so I’m guessing that my high cholesterol must be hereditary. George Wood, email
DR DAN RUTHERFORD writes.
Cholesterol is a natural, indeed essential, substance in the body, but the link between higher levels of cholesterol in the blood and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke has been known for decades. Conversely, lowering the cholesterol level
is accompanied by a lowering of cardiovascular risk. However, only about 10 per cent of the cholesterol in your blood is influenced by your diet – the rest is made by your liver.
For the person at average risk with only modestly raised cholesterol, it can be more difficult to be sure if it is worthwhile to take them. It’s true that these drugs have been very successful and made billions of dollars for drug companies. This seems to be enough reason for some people to be sceptical about statins. But be in no doubt – these drugs are among the most significant ever invented and have saved many lives. Speak to your GP if you still have doubts.
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