The main types used are statins. Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme involved in the production of LDL cholesterol. Results from studies using 90 000 participants showed that statins quickly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that there is a linear relationship between absolute reductions in LDL cholesterol and reductions in the incidence of major vascular events such as heart attack and stroke.
Some studies have raised conerns that the use of statins may increase the risk of death by other non-vascular causes, and also increase the risk of developing particular cancers. Research was carried out and no evidence that lowering LDL cholesterol by 1 nmol/1 with 5 years of statin treatment increased the risk of deaths by other non-vascular causes or of developing particular cancers.
A diet to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseas
A diet to offer protection against CVD would include the key features:
- Energy balanced
- Reduced saturated fat
- More polyunsaturated fats
- Reduced cholesterol
- Reduced salt
- More non-starch polysaccharides. These polysaccharides, known as solube fibre, have been found to lower blood cholesterol. They are found in fruit, vegetables, beans and some grains.
- More fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants and often non-starch polysaccharides.
- Include functional foods containing sterols and stanols.
- Include oily fish. Contain omega-3 fatty acids, a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids with their first double bond betweem the 3rd amd 4th carbon atoms.