Statins provide new hope for people with irregular heartbeat to prevent stroke

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Atrial fibrillation is the most common irregular heartbeat problem, affecting over 40 million people around the world.

If you have it, you are five times more likely to suffer from a stroke.

While doctors often recommend blood-thinning medications to reduce this risk, these meds don’t completely take away the danger.

That’s where a new study comes in, offering some promising news for patients and doctors alike.

The Study: Statins Make a Difference

The research, presented at a major heart health conference in Barcelona, looked at over 50,000 patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation between 2010 and 2018.

They wanted to see if taking statins—a medicine commonly used to lower cholesterol—could reduce the risk of stroke and another event known as transient ischemic attack, which is like a mini-stroke.

Patients were divided into two groups: those who started taking statins within a year of being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and those who didn’t.

Researchers then followed these patients for about five years. What they found was pretty encouraging: those who took statins had a lower risk of both types of stroke and the mini-stroke.

To put it in numbers, taking statins reduced the risk of the most common type of stroke by 17%, the risk of a bleeding stroke by 7%, and the risk of a mini-stroke by 15%.

The Longer, The Better

Interestingly, the longer patients took statins, the better their results.

Compared to those who took statins for a short time (between three months and two years), those who took them for six years or longer had a 43% lower risk of the most common type of stroke, a 44% lower risk of a bleeding stroke, and a 42% lower risk of a mini-stroke.

And it didn’t matter what type of blood-thinning medication they were on; the benefits were still there.

Ms. Jiayi Huang, the study’s author, said that these findings could be a game-changer.

She emphasized that strokes related to atrial fibrillation can often be deadly or cause severe disability. This new information could be crucial in helping patients avoid such dire outcomes.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, talk to your doctor about whether statins could be a good addition to your treatment plan.

These medicines are usually prescribed to people who need to lower their cholesterol, but this study shows they may have another important benefit: reducing the risk of strokes and mini-strokes, especially in those with atrial fibrillation.

The longer you take them, the better they seem to work, so it’s something worth discussing with your healthcare provider.

If you care about heart disease, please read studies about chronic itch linked to heart disease, and drinking coffee this way may prevent heart disease and stroke.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about supplements that could help prevent heart disease, and stroke, and results showing that a year of committed exercise in middle age reversed worrisome heart failure.

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