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Can Statins Lower Stroke Risk?

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A new study has found that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may help lower the risk of stroke in seniors who seem healthy. While the research doesn’t prove statins alone can reduce stroke risk in older adults, it does indicate a new way seniors and their New Hampshire caregivers can protect against a common health threat older adults face.

About the Study

This study involved over 7,400 adults at least 65 years old, with an average age of 74, who lived in three French cities. Participants had never experienced a heart attack or stroke prior to the study. Twenty-seven percent of the study participants were taking cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins or fibrates.

The study found the older adults who took statins and similar drugs were 30% less likely to have a stroke over the nine-year study period compared with seniors who did not take the drugs. This was true even after accounting for factors that raise a person’s stroke risk, including blood pressure, gender, and age.

What it Means for Seniors

As it stands, statins are not recommended for adults over the age of 75 unless they have been diagnosed with atherosclerosis. Studies of similar heart drugs usually exclude seniors, and the benefits of statins in seniors have been largely unknown.

While researchers say it’s too soon to change recommendations for seniors, many seniors without heart disease already take statins to prevent it. If statins can truly reduce stroke risk by one-third, they can not only save lives but also help seniors avoid disability and preserve their quality of life.

Seniors and their hourly or live-in caregivers should speak with the primary care physician about whether the benefits of statins outweigh the risks to the patient, as some seniors who are already taking many drugs may not do well by adding another.

If you provide home care for an aging parent or elderly relative, you might also speak to his or her physician about a physical fitness regimen and healthy diet that can help reduce overall stroke risk. For help implementing these changes, reach out to Home Care Assistance of New Hampshire. Our trusted hourly and live-in caregivers can assist with day-to-day responsibilities in addition to cooking healthy meals, assisting with exercises, and promoting a high quality of life. Call us at 603-471-3004 to speak with an experienced Care Manager today.