Scientists have just discovered that the risk of heart disease can be cut by focusing on treat inflammation, and not just by using statins.
A huge drug study has just discovered a major new way to lower the risk of heart attacks, an important finding in the battle against the No. 1 killer of Americans. It’s a potential additional weapon against heart disease in addition to cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins, which are taken by tens of millions of people more than two decades after they were approved for widespread use.
The findings were announced recently at a medical conference in Barcelona, and physicians from around the world called the study “huge” in terms of its potential to save lives. It validates the idea that by treating inflammation, doctors may be able to stop or at least slow heart disease.
“It’s a new paradigm: a new opportunity to further reduce death and disability,” said Mark Creager, a past president of the American Heart Association, who was not involved in the study, according to a Washington Post report. “We’ve made such tremendous inroads in treating heart disease over the last couple of decades, and it’s hard to imagine we could confer additional benefits, but here you go.”
“These findings represent the end game of more than two decades of research, stemming from a critical observation: Half of heart attacks occur in people who do not have high cholesterol,” said Paul M. Ridker, MD, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “For the first time, we’ve been able to definitively show that lowering inflammation independent of cholesterol reduces cardiovascular risk. This has far-reaching implications. It tells us that by leveraging an entirely new way to treat patients – targeting inflammation – we may be able to significantly improve outcomes for certain very high-risk populations.”