My doctor says I am at risk of a heart attack or stroke. Why can a statin medicine help?
If you have had a heart attack or ischaemic stroke, your risk of having another similar event within the next 5 years is high. Taking a statin can substantially lower that risk – on average by around 20%.
So if you have a 1 in 5 chance of having a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years (which makes you high risk), then taking a statin could reduce this to around a 1 in 6 chance. Doing other things, such as being smoke free, increasing physical activity, eating a healthy balanced diet, and taking other medicines (such as blood pressure-lowering medicines), can drop your risk even further.
You can also be at high risk of a heart attack or stroke even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a heart or blood vessel disease. This may be because you have one or more factors that increase the risk of damage to your heart or blood vessels. In these cases, a statin helps to reduce your chance of experiencing a cardiovascular event in the first place.