A new study finds that statins, usually used for lowering cholesterol, may prevent an amputation or even death in some cases.
A remarkable new study has just stumbled upon a possible additional use for statins, which are currently meant to lower cholesterol: they could save a person’s life.
People who have narrowed leg arteries are at risk of requiring an amputation or even dying, but the cholesterol-lowering statins appear to prevent that from happening, according to an American Heart Association statement.
In fact, the study found that the higher the dosage of statins, the lower the risk.
Researchers analyzed health information for more than 200,000 people who had peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD involves the narrowing of arteries in the legs, stomach, arms, and head, and the medical community is concerned that this is the next “cardiovascular epidemic,” Dr. Shipra Arya, the study author, said in the statement.
Those who had PAD and took high dosees of statins were 33 percent less likely to get an amputation and 29 percent less likely to die than those who weren’t taking statins. Those that had moderate or low doses of statins had a 22 percent lower risk of both.
“PAD, a narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms and head, is the next cardiovascular epidemic,” Arya said in the statement. “It is poorly recognized and not adequately treated compared to heart disease – and research is lacking on the optimal use of statins for PAD patients.”
Arya added; “Ours is one of the largest population-based studies on PAD and suggests patients who have been diagnosed with PAD should be considered for placement on high dose statins upon diagnosis if they can tolerate it, along with other medical management, including smoking cessation, antiplatelet therapy and a walking program.”