Should We All Be Taking Statins?
Back in 2011, I asked whether we should all be on statins. At the time, it was clear that statins offered benefits for people who had already suffered heart attacks or other serious cardiovascular problems. But for the rest of us, it wasn't clear at all. A number of studies had been published suggesting that millions more people (in the U.S. alone) might benefit from statin therapy, but most of those studies were published by drug companies that made statins. As I wrote at the time, "we need more data from completely unbiased studies." So has anything changed? Actually, it has. Last year, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed all of the evidence and updated its former (from 2008) recommendations. The evidence now suggests that some people–even those who have never suffered a heart attack–would benefit from statins. Here's what the current USPSTF recommendations suggest. If you've never had a heart attack and have no history of heart disease, you still might benefit from statins if: you're 40-75 years old, you have one or more "risk factors" for cardiovascular disease (more about this below), and you have a 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) of 7. Continue reading >>