ANCHOR LEAD: STATINS CONTINUE TO BENEFIT THE HEART YEARS AFTER PEOPLE STOP TAKING THEM, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Statins are undeniably helpful in reducing cholesterol and lowering heart disease risk, but now a new study shows that years after people stop taking them they still have lower rates of heart disease than folks who’ve never taken statins. Ed Kasper, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, speculates on why such an effect persists.
KASPER: The answer to that is probably in what happens to the unstable plaque. Our coronary arteries are lined with endothelial cells, these endothelial cells cover the vessel wall, cholesterol deposits in the vessel wall, and some of these are more likely to rupture than others. And it may be that an exposure, a fairly significant exposure, these weren’t patients who were on statins for two weeks, these were patients who were on statins for a number of years, that that kind of exposure to a statin, quiets down all of these plaques and makes them less likely to rupture and cause problems. :33
Kasper still advocates diet and exercise to manage heart disease risk, however. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.