What’s your statin age?

We’ve been dissecting the Seven Countries Study for the past couple of weeks – putting to bed the myth that saturated fat causes heart disease. I didn’t want to miss a story from earlier in the month, which is intended to impact millions of people in the UK. Other nations are similarly at risk of never ending plans to statinate as many people as possible.

The Independent newspaper headline was “Statins: Almost every older person should be given potentially life-saving drugs, study finds”. The article was based on a study published in the British Journal of General Practice. The study was really simple in concept and really dangerous in outcome...

You may have come across a tool used in general practice in the UK called QRISK? This tool aims to assess someone’s risk of having cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the next 10 years. The best way to understand the tool is to try it. If you go to this site and enter your gender, age, ethnic origin and answer a few health questions, you’ll have a number pop out the other end. It takes 1-2 minutes and leave blank anything you don’t know (hopefully you have no idea what your cholesterol level is!) This number is claimed to be your own risk of developing CVD in the next 10 years. Don’t panic, whatever number you see. This tool is pretty much telling you your age and gender!

The study that led to the headlines tried to estimate the number of people in England with a CVD risk of 10% or higher over the next 10 years. They used the QRISK2 version of the tool and data from the Health Survey for England to do this.

The outcome was that no one makes it past the age of 71 without needing to be statinated! That’s quite an interesting number given that the patient leaflet information in statin boxes cautions against the over 70s being on statins.


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