Researchers have published in the BMJ Open their work attempting to quantify the effects of medications and changes in health on mortality from coronary heart disease. They report that reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels across the population contributed to reducing mortality, and that statins also played a part but that this effect was more pronounced in higher socioeconomic bands.
Prof. Colin Baigent, Deputy Director of Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit, University of Oxford, said:
“The key message from this research is that lifestyle changes and drug treatments are both effective ways of reducing the burden of coronary heart disease. If we want to see a continuing decline in this disease then we need to encourage lifestyle changes (eg, a healthy diet and more exercise) in all and, for those at sufficiently high risk, the use of preventive drug therapy (eg, statins) – the combination of these approaches will be more effective than either on its own.”
Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“Three out of four of all heart and circulatory conditions are preventable. Despite this, coronary heart disease remains the UK’s single biggest killer.
“The message from this study is clear. We know how to prevent coronary heart disease and our methods are working. We have made significant progress, preventing around 38,000 deaths from coronary heart disease, but there is still a long way to go.
“Statins played a significant role in reducing mortality rates, but this research suggests they were more effective in the most affluent areas of society.
“Given the pressures on NHS capacity and budgets, prevention is vital and addressing the health inequalities highlighted by this research could help save even more lives in the future.”
‘The contribution pf primary prevention medication and dietary change in coronary mortality reduction in England between 2000 and 2007: a modelling study’ by Guzman-Castillo et al. published in the BMJ Open on Thursday 22 January 2015.
All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink: http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/?s=statins&cat