Do I really need statins?

Dr Mark Porter / 25 August 2017 ( 17 February 2020 )

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 ( 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.

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