NYT Weighing the pros and cons of statins

Unlike medications prescribed to treat a symptom or illness, statins are often given to healthy people to prevent a potentially devastating health problem, and the drug must be taken indefinitely to do the most good. Nearly half of Americans with cholesterol levels that put them at high risk of a heart attack or stroke are not taking medication to reduce that risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under current guidelines, among people 60 and older, 87 percent of men and 54 percent of women not already taking a statin would be considered eligible for treatment.

according to the Centers for Disease Controlcurrent guidelines

There is no question that statins can protect the health of people who have already had a heart attack or stroke (or even angina) and thus face a significant risk of a recurrence that could prove fatal. But many people — especially those who are uncomfortable taking drugs for any reason — resist taking a daily statin if they have no history or symptoms of cardiovascular disease, only a risk of developing them, especially since it has not yet been proven that the drugs help such people live longer.

statins can protect the health

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