Dr Mark Porter explains why you might need a statin even if your cholesterol level is OK.
Q: I am 74 and, while fit and well, my risk of heart attack and stroke is high (23%) so my GP has mentioned statins even though my cholesterol level is OK. Would they help?
Natural alternatives to statins
A: According to the calculator most GPs use (qrisk.org) your chances of having a stroke or heart attack over the next decade are lower than average for your age. But anything over 20% is still seen as high – a threshold encompassing most people over 65 as age is the biggest determinant of risk.
Statins can help irrespective of your cholesterol level as they stabilise deposits in arterial walls too. They might drop your risk to 15-20%, but also could cause side-effects from muscle aches to diabetes (rare but possible). It depends if you want to polish the diamond. One to discuss further with your GP.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
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Our health columnist, Dr Mark Porter, is one of the country’s best-known GPs.