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A controversial study, published in the BMJ Open Journal, claims that cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease in elderly people, and called treating, it with statins, as “waste of time”. The study was performed on a population of 68,094 people, and the authors claim to have found no link between LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and deaths of elderly people from cardiovascular disease. The authors performed a systematic review where they observed that older people with high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels, lived longer and had less heart disease. Several academics have put forth their own opposing views of the study, saying that it had reached wrong conclusions, as they did not perform a randomized study where some patients received statins, while others received a placebo. Several heart disease organizations, including the British Heart Foundation, have also cited skepticism regarding the research published, pointing out that several factors determine overall health in older people, thereby making it difficult to gauge the link between LDL cholesterol levels and untimely death.
Coronary heart disease, CHD, is caused due to the narrowing of the arteries because of the deposit of fatty substances on the walls, reducing blood flow to the heart, also known as atherosclerosis. Lifestyle is a major causative factor of all CHD, including smoking, having an unhealthy diet with high levels of saturated fats, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Other risk factors include obesity as well as having a family history of CHD. Some of the symptoms may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, etc. There is no cure for heart disease, however, there are several lines of treatment available, including making major lifestyle changes, medicines, as well as surgery.
Ravnskov, Uffe, et al. "Lack of an association or an inverse association between low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review." BMJ open 6.6 (2016): e010401.
Picture Courtesy: REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky