Does lowering LDL cholesterol prevent heart attacks (and strokes)?

Because high blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, lowering it, especially lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol will definitely result in reduction in the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The benefits of lowering LDL cholesterol:

A study on 4400 men and women with heart disease and high cholesterol was conducted for a period of 5 years [3]. This study found that lowering cholesterol can prevent heart attacks and reduce death. It found that for every 100 patients: (a) 4 out of 9 people would be saved who would otherwise die of heart attack, (b) 7 out of 21 patients would be prevented from nonfatal heart attacks and (c) 6 out of 21 patients would be prevented from undergoing bypass surgeries.

 

References:

  1. Kannel WB, Castelli WP, Gordon T. Cholesterol in the prediction of atherosclerotic disease. New perspectives based on the Framingham Study. Ann Intern Med. 1979;90:85–91.
  2. Castelli WP. Epidemiology of coronary heart disease: the Framingham study. Am J Med.1984; 76:4 -12.
  3. Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study. Randomised trial of cholesterol lowering in 4444 patients with coronary heart disease: the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S). Lancet.1994; 344:1383 -1389.
  4. Shepherd J, Cobbe SM, Ford I, Isles CG, Lorimer AR, Macfarlane PW, et al. Prevention of coronary heart disease with pravastatin in men with hypercholesterolemia. West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study Group. N Engl J Med.1995; 333:1301 -1307.
  5. Ballantyne CM, Herd JA, Dunn JK, Jones PH, Farmer JA, Gotto AMJ. Effects of lipid lowering therapy on progression of coronary and carotid artery disease. Curr Opin Lipidol. 1997;8:354–361.
  6. Fager G, Wiklund O. Cholesterol reduction and clinical benefit. Are there limits to our expectations? Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1997;17:3527–3533.
  7. Gould AL, Rossouw JE, Santanello NC, Heyse JF, Furberg CD. Cholesterol reduction yields clinical benefit. Circulation. 1998; 97:946–952.
  8. Prevention of cardiovascular events and death with pravastatin in patients with coronary heart disease and a broad range of initial cholesterol levels. The Long-Term Intervention with Pravastatin in Ischaemic Disease (LIPID) Study Group. N Engl J Med.1998; 339:1349 -1357.
  9. Brown WV. Cholesterol lowering in atherosclerosis. Am J Cardiol. 2000;86(4B):29H -32H.
  10. The Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). National Cholesterol Education Program. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health. NIH Publication No. 02-5215, September, 2002.
  11. Nissen SE, Tuzcu EM, Schoenhagen P, Brown BG, Ganz P, Vogel RA, et al; REVERSAL Investigators. Effect of intensive compared with moderate lipid-lowering therapy on progression of coronary atherosclerosis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA.2004; 291:1071 -1080.
  12. Nissen SE, Tuzcu EM, Schoenhagen P, Brown BG, Ganz P, Vogel RA, et al; REVERSAL Investigators. Effect of intensive compared with moderate lipid-lowering therapy on progression of coronary atherosclerosis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA.2004; 291:1071 -1080.
  13. LaRosa JC, Grundy SM, Waters DD, et al.: Intensive lipid lowering with atorvastatin in patients with stable coronary disease. N Engl J Med 352:1425–1435, 2005
  14. Ian Ford, Ph.D., Heather Murray, M.Sc., Chris J. Packard, D.Sc., James Shepherd, M.D., Peter W. Macfarlane, D.Sc and Stuart M. Cobbe, M.D.  Long-Term Follow-up of the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study. The New England Journal ofMedicine October 11, 2007 vol. 357 no. 15

 

What Makes Your Cholesterol High or Low

Learn more about atherosclerosis

Learn more about heart disease

Learn more about heart disease, cholesterol and other info by visiting the website of National Institute ofHealth