Statins may improve heart structure, function

Despite the fact that the utilization of statins for treating individuals at danger of coronary illness has been truly very disputable, new research recommends that statins may advance heart wellbeing by enhancing the structure, and, therefore, the working of this indispensable organ.

Statins are a sort of medication ordinarily used to lower cholesterol levels in individuals with a higher danger of coronary illness.

In spite of the fact that the restorative utilization of statins has been liable to discussion, another review – introduced at EuroCMR, held in Prague in the Czech Republic – recommends that the advantages of statins go past their cholesterol-bringing down impacts.

The lead creator of the new research – Dr. Nay Aung, a cardiologist at the William Harvey Research Institute of the Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom – accentuates the medical advantages of statins.

They can enhance the capacity of veins by keeping them from working up extra plaque, and also diminish irritation.

Furthermore, previous reviews have demonstrated that they can decrease the thickness of the heart muscle, and prescribed them as a valuable method for treating left ventricular hypertrophy.

Be that as it may, these reviews were fundamentally done in creatures, and those in people were very little in test measure. Thusly, Dr. Aung and group embarked to attempt a bigger review to see whether they can affirm the discoveries.

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Analyzing the link between statins and heart structure

The study examined the link between statins and the structure and
functioning of the heart, looking at 4,622 people with no history of
cardiovascular disease. Participants were enrolled in the UK Biobank, a large cohort study.

This health resource contains information on the patients’ use of
statins, and the researchers used a questionnaire to ask participants
for further information regarding their use of statins.

The researchers used cardiac MRI to measure the volume and mass of the left and right ventricles.

Dr. Aung and colleagues applied multiple regression to the data,
adjusting for factors that might have influenced the results – such as
body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, race, and gender.

Overall, almost 17 percent of the participants were taking statins.
These patients tended to be older, have a higher BMI, higher blood pressure, and diabetes.
As Dr. Aung explains, these associations were expected, as statins are
usually prescribed to patients with an increased risk of heart disease. A
higher body mass, higher blood pressure, and diabetes are all known
risk factors for heart disease.

Statins may ‘reverse negative changes in the heart’

The study revealed that people treated with statins had an overall better structure and functioning of the heart.

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Specifically, those using statins had lower odds of
developing a thickened heart muscle, or left ventricular hypertrophy, as
well as being less likely to have an enlarged heart chamber.

“Having a thick, large heart is a strong predictor of future heart attack, heart failure, or stroke,
and taking statins appears to reverse the negative changes in the
heart, which, in turn, could lower the risk of adverse outcomes,”
explains Dr. Aung.

While this study was observational, Dr. Aung ventures a few possible
explanations for how statins might decrease the thickness and volume of
the heart. He refers to former studies that have shown the ability of
statins to reduce oxidative stress and inhibit the production of factors that drive cell growth.

Oxidative stress is the physiological stress that occurs in the body when free radicals are not properly annihilated by antioxidants. Oxidative stress is associated with aging.

Some studies have also suggested that statins lower the risk of ventricular arrhythmias as a result of their reducing oxidative stress.

“It is important to note that in our study, the people
taking statins were at higher risk of having heart problems than those
not using statins yet they still had positive heart remodeling compared
to the healthier control group,” adds Dr. Aung.

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Dr. Aung also addresses the recent debate around who should be prescribed statins:

“There are clear
guidelines on who should receive statins. There is debate about whether
we should lower the bar and the question is when do you stop. What we
found is that for patients already taking statins, there are beneficial
effects beyond cholesterol lowering and that’s a good thing. But instead
of a blanket prescription we need to identify people most likely to
benefit – i.e. personalized medicine.

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Updated: September 9, 2017 — 11:05 pm

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