For the right patient, a statin is a lifesaver. But do statins prevent heart attacks? They are used to lower cholesterol levels, but some will still suffer a heart attack even when taking a statin.
It’s essential to understand this concept. You can still suffer a stroke or a heart attack while taking a statin medication.
Primary & Secondary Prevention
Statins are a group of medications such as simvastatin and atorvastatin. There are others, and each has its place in managing serum lipids.
A statin is prescribed to some patients to lower their cholesterol and prevent a heart attack, stroke, or other atherosclerosis-related medical conditions.
This primary prevention strategy is used for those who haven’t yet had a heart attack or stroke. But many will have had such cardiovascular events and be put on a statin – we refer to this as secondary prevention.
Secondary prevention means trying to prevent a second or third heart attack or stroke.
Statins and Heart Attacks
Western medicine’s big gun remains the statin drug. Even with this, nearly 25% of those on a statin still can suffer a heart attack.
I fished this number from a few studies and my personal experience with my patients. Now that even more patients are on statins, this number likely is higher.
Heart disease is a complicated process. Simply lowering your cholesterol isn’t enough to entirely prevent a heart attack. It’s a big step in the right direction – for some.
Preventing a Heart Attack
A statin won’t prevent a heart attack. It will lower a person’s cholesterol. This lower serum lipid profile may slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
A heart attack can happen in those with normal cholesterol levels. This is why it’s essential to address heart health not just from the serum lipid perspective but from a broader angle.
Whether you’ve already had a heart attack or are trying to prevent one in the first place, it’s crucial to figure out what your risk factors are.
Some of us can easily change our diets, and others will have a hard time with diet but can readily improve their exercise capacity. You’ll significantly improve heart health regardless of which strings you pull on.