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article imagePlans to extend statins use should be scrapped, say doctors

By Kev Hedges     Jun 13, 2014 in Health
As many as 7 million people in the UK use statins regularly to reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. In February, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence called for their use to be extensively widened.
The recommendation could see another 5 million people begin taking statins, in addition to the millions that already do so. But a group of leading academics and doctors said the idea should be scrapped.
The group expressed concern that administering medication to millions of "healthy" people, may have serious adverse effects. The experts said that advice issued to the institute had been heavily industry-sponsored and had underestimated the side effects that statins can cause.
Simon Capewell, a professor and expert in the field of patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in people, said the recommendations are "deeply worrying, effectively condemning all middle-aged adults to lifelong medications of questionable value."
He added, "They steal huge funds from a cash-strapped NHS and they steal attention from the major responsibilities that government and food industry have to promote healthier life choices for ourselves and our children."
Statins work by restricting the production of low-density lipo-protein cholesterol in the liver. The risk factor is calculated by age, weight and whether a patient smokes and the advice recommends giving statins to even those on a 10 percent risk rate.
Eating a healthy diet, performing regular exercise and reducing weight will also help lower cholesterol in a more natural way. There have been side effects associated with taking statins, including liver, muscle and kidney problems, reports BBC Health.
However, the Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation supports the recent recommendations.
"Evidence shows that statins are a safe, effective, cholesterol-lowering drug and proven to lower the risk of heart disease."
More about statin drugs, heart cholesterol, High cholesterol, Heart disease, Heart attack
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