In a new study, researchers found that more people with and at risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) need to get statins to lower their blood cholesterol.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Calgary and other institutes.
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood.
The disease can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Statins are the most commonly used effective cholesterol-lowering drugs. It helps reduce LDL levels by interfering with cholesterol production in the liver.
Previous research has shown the benefits of appropriate statin use can help reduce atherosclerotic disease and prevent heart attacks, strokes, and deaths.
However, the new study found that the drugs are underutilized to treat patients with atherosclerosis.
The new research examined more than 280,000 patients in Alberta, Canada.
The study linked multiple health system databases to examine treatments and LDL cholesterol levels (‘bad’ cholesterol) in the patients.
The team that only two-thirds of these patients were receiving moderate/high-intensity statins.
In people who were treated with statins, many were under-treated because they did not achieve recommended LDL cholesterol levels.
The researchers hope the new findings can help create new strategies to reduce the number of untreated or under-treated patients.
Future research is needed to find the reasons for the treatment gaps and their effects on patients.
The lead author of the study is Guanmin Chen, Ph.D., MD, MPH.
The study is published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.
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