Seniors with heart attack risk should take statins

By Shayna Brouker • Published: December 24th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Let’s say you’re over age 65, exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet and abstain from smoking and alcohol … but you’re at risk for cardiovascular disease. Why tempt fate? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? Well, new research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology supports that theory with findings that suggest taking statins whether or not you’ve had a heart attack might just prevent one from occurring.

A team of researchers in Italy tested statins and placebos with more than 25,000 patients for an average of three and a half years. They found that statins decreased the risk of heart attack by about 29 percent and stroke by nearly 24 percent. The findings answer a big question in heart disease research — whether statins benefit people who haven’t had a heart attack. Primary prevention, as it’s known, is recommended only for those at risk.

So if heart disease runs in your family, you may want to discuss statins with your doctor. You can also bolster your defense by eating heart-healthy foods low in saturated fat, high in fiber and rich with fatty acids.

One reason heart disease is the United States’ number one killer is because the symptoms often sneak up on victims. So look out for these suspicious signs of a heart attack. The classic sign, of course, is chest pain under the breastbone. Women are more likely than men to sense a burning pain in their chest that could be mistaken for indigestion. Anxiety, dizziness, fatigue and loss of appetite are also signs of an impending attack. Also look out for sweating, swelling and weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, get help fast.