A new report has revealed that people could reduce their risk of developing life threatening blood clots like deep-vein thrombosis, by taking statins - a group of drugs commonly used to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease.
Yesterday a conference was held at the American College of Cardiology, where researchers presented their findings showing a 43 per cent less chance of a healthy person developing venous thromboembolism (VTE), were they to take rosuvastatin - also known as Crestor under its brand name.
VTE occurs when blood clots develop in a vein, which affects the bloody supply going to the heart. Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is one of the most common types, and generally happens in the legs of pelvis. A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a section of a clot moves away and gets stuck in the arteries that are connected to the lungs.
Reports imply that as many as 2 people in every 1,000 could be suffering from a VTE each year, with over 25,000 people dying of VTE piked up during a hospital stay. In 2005, evidence was put forward to the Commons Health Select Committee revealing that VTE accounts for 10 per cent of all deaths in UK hospitals, and incurs costs of a minimum of £640 million for the NHS every year.
The results of the study will appear online today in The New England Journal of Medicine and indicates there could be a much more varied use of statins for different cases. In the trial, 17,802 healthy men and women took 20mg doses of either rosuvastatin or a placebo. The end game was to establish how safe it was to give statins to seemingly well individuals who had larger amounts of a protein called CRP in their bodies, which has been connected to inflammation and cardiac problems.
The trial was ended prematurely due to the significant reduction of patients suffering from heart disease and death after taking rosuvastatin - along with a 43 per cent less chance of developing a VTE.
Further results showed a 55 per cent reduced risk of DVT.
Robert Glynn, the lead investigator, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. and his colleagues reported, “Venous thromboembolism is common, difficult to diagnose and costly to treat. Preventive strategies that have acceptable costs and side-effects are therefore needed. Widening the goal of treatment to include prevention of venous thromboembolism and death, in addition to arterial thrombosis, increases the estimated benefit of statin use.”
Mark Hlatky, a cardiologist at Stanford University who was not involved in the study, commented that despite the fact the main role of statins was not to reduce the risk of blood clots, “ it might make some people who are on the fence decide to go on statins”. Although he added that doctors may be reluctant to use statins so freely just for blood clots, as death from heart attacks is is a much higher proportion.
Alex Gold, a doctor and the executive director of Clinical Development at Astra-Zeneca, which manufactures Crestor, was pleased with the results, “This is the first time a statin has been shown to reduce the risk of VTE in a randomised, prospective study,” he said.
Good info, but weight management, regular physical activity, and other therapeutic strategies such as compression stockings reduce the risk of DVT clots as well - no expensive monthly prescription required.
Blood clots are life threatening however exercise can help prevent their formation and assist in dissoving of existing clots. This fact was discovered and presented to the American Heart association in 2003 by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
The study found that levels of an essential blood clot dissolver known as tissue type plaminogen activator (t-PA) are greatly diminished in overweight men (by as much as 30%). This reduced protection in the blood stream leads eventually to problems with blood clots.
Walking for a period of three months for a mere 45 minutes a day, five days a week however increased the amount of t-PA in the obese participants blood by as much as 50%.
You can read more about the study and the impact of using a treadmill desk here: http://www.trekdesk.com/walk/Blood_Clot.html