Cholesterol reduction: weighing the benefits and risks
Evidence suggests that recent recommendations made by the National Cholesterol Education Program about cholesterol management are appropriate. Recent studies support these recommendations and counter concerns about possible associations between low cholesterol levels and increases in death rates from causes other than heart disease. The recommendations include lowering cholesterol levels by changing diet and lifestyle for 30% of the population and using cholesterol-lowering drugs for an additional 7% of the population. Studies have shown that with every 10% drop in cholesterol levels there is a 10% decrease in risk of death and an 18% decrease in risk of heart complications. Evidence is unclear whether the deaths associated with low cholesterol levels are due to other underlying diseases or treatment complications. There does not seem to be a clear association between a specific lower cholesterol level and death from causes other than heart disease.
Publication Name: Annals of Internal Medicine
Cholesterol lowering with statin drugs, risk of stroke, and total mortality: an overview of randomized trials
Statin drugs appear to be very effective in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing death rates from cardiovascular disease. These drugs include lovastatin, pravastatin, and simvastatin. Researchers reviewed 16 clinical trials covering about 29,000 patients who were taking one of these drugs. On average, total cholesterol levels were reduced by 22% and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by 30%. Statins reduced the risk of stroke 29% and overall death rates by 22%. Death rates from cardiovascular disease were reduced 28%.
Publication Name: JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association
Coffee and tea intake and the risk of myocardial infarction
Drinking tea was found to be associated with a lower risk of myocardial infarction in a recent study. Effects of coffee, tea and decaffeinated coffee intake on risk of myocardial infarction were studied as part of the Boston Area Health Study, which involves white men and women under 76 years of age with no prior history of angina pectoris or myocardial inaction. In the study were 340 cases and age-, sex- and community-matched controls.
Publication Name: American Journal of Epidemiology
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