“For those at low risk, eating an apple a day has an equivalent risk reduction for myocardial infarction as taking a statin.” Dr Aseem Malhotra, Frimley Park Hospital
Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra and Professor Simon Capewell of Liverpool University argue that statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs, bring terrible side effects and have little impact on those at lower risk. They claim that industry sponsored studies do not back up real-world data which shows up to half of patients eventually give up taking statins within a year. More than 60 per cent of individuals surveyed say it was because of side effects such as muscle pain and fatigue.
“The focus in primary prevention should the form be on foods and food groups that have a proven benefit in reducing hard endpoints and mortality.” Dr Aseem Malhotra, Frimley Park Hospital
These doctors encourage that more should be done to educate individuals in the right diet and lifestyle choices to improve their cardiovascular health, and that prescribing pills is not the answer. They suggest that more should be done to encourage people to include more fruits and vegetables and to exercise regularly to improve the condition of their heart rather than to simply rely on prescribing drugs.
Dr Malhotra, of Frimley states that:
“The published literature states an unequivocal mortality benefit for patients with established heart disease. However the same does not apply to primary prevention, especially in individuals of low risk.
“More than 80 per cent of cardiovascular disease is attributable to environmental factors, notably unhealthy diet and also smoking, alcohol and physical inactivity.
“The focus in primary prevention should the form be on foods and food groups that have a proven benefit in reducing hard endpoints and mortality.”
While the role of statins in high-risk individuals is still unquestionable, diet and lifestyle changes will provide low-risk individuals with adequate improvement without the side effects.