A Hearty Dose of Cardiovascular Advice and Research

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 12, 2013

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and it is also one of the leading causes of disability. As part of American Heart Month, we offer insight from our clinicians and researchers about how to reduce your heart disease risks and what new things we’re learning about cardiovascular disease and treatment.

 

Heart Disease: Eliminate Excuses to Reduce Your Risks

Dr. Eldrin F. Lewis, MD, MPH, tells his patients that they’ll dramatically reduce their risk of developing heart disease if they follow a few simple guidelines for reducing their blood pressure (hypertension). Genetics can indeed play a role in developing high blood pressure, but obesity, inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, stress, and salt intake are all hypertension risk factors that you can  control.

 

Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Cholesterol Drugs

If you’ve been taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you might be wondering what you should do in light of new warnings about the link between statin use and diabetes. Research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital may help you and your doctor weigh the benefits and risks.

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Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Cholesterol Drugs

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 27, 2012

The benefits of statin use outweigh the risks.

If you’ve been taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you might be wondering what you should do in light of new warnings about the link between statin use and diabetes.  Research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital may help you and your doctor weigh the benefits and risks.

Due to their ability to effectively lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, statins are one of the most widely used prescription medications in the world.  Last year, almost 21 million patients in the US were prescribed statins.

In early 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required new labeling for statins to warn doctors and patients about a small risk of developing diabetes.  By studying data from a large clinical trial, BWH researchers identified which patients might be at risk for developing diabetes while taking this type of medication.

According to Dr. Paul Ridker, Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at BWH and the study’s lead author, the risk of developing diabetes while taking statins occurred almost entirely in people who had at least one other preexisting risk factor for diabetes.  (Diabetes risk factors include obesity and higher fasting blood sugar levels.)

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