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New heart medicine drive

Thursday May 17th, 2012

People with high cholesterol are being encouraged to take their medicines today as research highlighted the benefits of the medicines.

A survey of British patients found that nearly a third of people with high cholesterol and blood pressure stopped taking drugs because they no longer experienced "symptoms".

The campaign was launched on World Hypertension Day - with campaigners warning that people with high blood pressure <!hypertension> are also at risk of believing they can manage without their medication.

The British Heart Foundation features the late comedian Tommy Cooper, who died on stage from a heart attack, using his catchphrase "just like that".

Dr Mike Knapton, of the Foundation, said: "Having high cholesterol or high blood pressure are major risk factors for developing heart and circulatory disease, which is still the UK’s biggest killer, yet we found people with these conditions were often oblivious to the link. 

"We want to remind people how vital heart medicines are - even if they feel well and don’t have obvious symptoms. And we want them to know they can talk to us if they’ve got questions about their medications."

Tommy Cooper's daughter Vicky said: “My father had his life snatched away from him but it could have been avoided. My advice now is always that you shouldn’t delay. Don’t keep making excuses. If you think something might be wrong, get yourself checked. You’re not being a nuisance."

* A study reported by The Lancet today shows how cholesterol-lowering statins can help people without any history of heart disease.

Researchers, led by Professor Colin Baigent, of the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), Oxford, UK, analysed the fate of some 175,000 people who took part in 27 trials of treatment.

They found that even among those at low risk of heart disease - less than ten per cent in the next five years - there was a reduction in heart attacks and strokes and the need for heart surgery of greater than one per cent.

* A second study in the same journal casts doubt on the idea of some kinds of cholesterol being "healthy".

Statin treatment focuses on reducing low density lipoprotein - while the other kind high density lipoprotein - or HDL - has not been thought to dangerous when levels are high.

But a genetic study at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, USA, has failed to find a link between high HDL levels and low heart attack risk.

The Lancet May 17 2012

The Lancet May 17 2012

Tags: Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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