Statins for old women, post-infarct?


(BuckRimfire) #1

I’m trying to talk my mom into quitting her statin. I think it’s Crestor, but I need to double-check that.

She’s 84 and had a moderate heart attack in September 2020: two arteries partially occluded. The surgeon placed a stent in the LAD blockage, but said he couldn’t get one into the artery farther to the right since the vessel has a slgmoid bend at or immediately before the constriction.

Since then, she’s been on warfarin or something like that and aspirin for anti-clotting, and they started the statin since her LDL-C is slightly high. She doesn’t like the bruising from the anti-coagulant, but I am willing to follow her cardiologist on that.

The statin, on the other hand, I’m dubious of. We can’t say that her memory really went off a cliff then, but certainly it’s not great. (Hard to say since she moved 1000 miles only a few weeks before the infarct, and she was scatterbrained for about two years before that due to CONSTANT agonizing about whether or not to move.) And it can’t be doing her obvious sarcopenia any good, although she rarely complains of muscle pain.

So, the question is: do any good studies show any real benefit for elderly women after a heart attack? I know for men (middle-aged only?) after a heart event there seems to be some benefit of statin that is at least statistically not insanely small, but not so sure about very old women.

And I’m familiar with the studies that show higher LDL is associated with lower death rates in the olds!


(BuckRimfire) #2

Crud, this seems like a fairly robust HR, although in the abstract it doesn’t show breakdown by gender, only that it’s “adjusted” for gender, whatever that means.


(Old Baconian) #3

Effects on mentation are common with statins, since cholesterol is essential to the transmission of nerve impulses. Not to mention that a surprising percentage of the brain by weight is cholesterol.

Sarcopoenia is more likely to result from a lack of protein, and also potentially from a lack of energy to breakdown dietary protein and re-form it into the proteins needed in the body.

A number of studies have actually shown a correlation between higher cholesterol levels and lower cardiovascular risk, especially in women above a certain age (which I don’t remember, but your mother almost certainly falls into that category). This doesn’t mean that higher cholesterol actually causes lower cardiovascular risk, but it certainly does mean that cholesterol can’t possibly be the cause of cardiovascular disease. These were high-powered government-funded studies, such as the Nurses’ Study and the Women’s Health Initiative, among others.

The anti-statin researcher, David Diamond (a neurophysiologist either currently at or retired from Florida State University), maintains that the data showing that statins prolong life are accurate—and the average benefit is three or four days.


(Robin) #4

@BuckRimfire I’m 67. Gave statins a try again recently. Lasted two months. They did NOT significantly impact my LDL, especially compared to the muscle cramps and brain fog.


(KCKO, KCFO) #5

Personally I am more concerned about my quality of life than the quantity. I do not have a goal of living past 100, but I do want to be able to walk and use my muscles and mind til I depart this life. I never hear anyone say how wonderful they feel on statins, only the misery of the side effects. I will just KCKO and KCFO.


(Robin) #6

This! Spot on. Just sharp, strong, and limber.


(Old Baconian) #7

Healthspan, rather than lifespan. I agree, my friend. :+1:


(holistciRN) #8

I have had 7 stents, I am 63. One of the things that statins do is lower inflammation in general and therefore the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. I know that most people do not need a statin simply to lower their cholesterol, and I am one of the people who had low numbers and heart attacks. I was on a statin from 2007 to 2019 with no ill effects so I went off it because of all the negatives. Then I had two more blockages and heart attacks in 2020. Coincidence? Maybe, but for me from now on, I am sticking with the atorvastatin because after a heart episode, it may help. NOTHING is worth my life. Once you almost die, you get that.


(Robin) #9

@holisticRN I would have done the same. Although statins are not for me, I know many people who not only tolerate them, but benefit greatly. Many on here are quick to point out that statins are “poison”. But if they are keeping you alive and without heart attacks… I am glad you have them as part of your arsenal. I am guessing you must have a strong hereditary factor in your heart issues. I hope you are doing well.


(KCKO, KCFO) #10

Welcome to the forums holisticRN.

We are all different, my husband couldn’t tolerate them. Luckily I haven’t had to make that decision.
I just prefer lifestyle changes to drugs.

Wishing you continued better heart health.


(Fran adkins) #11

I have been on Atorvastatin since 2017…haven’t found it to be a problem.


(Kirk Wolak) #12

Okay, studies are one things. FACTS are another.
I know a few smart, low carb doctors who believe statins may have their place.
Even some of the anti-statin people! Statins reduce inflammation for SOME people.
That’s critical as inflammation destroys you internally.

Have her understand what her doctor did not tell her:

  1. NNT (Number needed to treat for 1 person to get the benefit: 500- 1000 for statins
    [that means 500:1 customers for the drug companies]
  2. Side-Effects (Bruising, CoQ10 Depletion, 10% increased risk of diabetes).
    [10% T2D Risk. So, 500 ppl, 50 MORE people than normal get T2D, while helping 1 person)
    My Cardiologist said “What if YOU are that one person?”. I said “What are the odds that I am
    one of the 50 people. It feels like 50 times the risk, for a disease I have to fight with diet now!”
  3. Patient Comfort. My dad just passed before turning 81. He was DONE. Lung Cancer…

I was proud of him 7 years ago when he REFUSED Chemo… He watched our brother die from the chemo, worse than the cancer was doing. They did not expect my dad to make 1-2yrs! He lived better than people doing chemo for 5 of those years. 5 Good Years. The last 2, with covid, lock downs, pneumonias, not getting outside, he fell apart. he was in constant pain, and his body was shutting down. I honored being there with him, when he passed. (I never understood Mother Theresa, FWIW, until this moment. We are all going to pass. We don’t have to be alone, and feel abandoned).

So, you know she doesn’t like the side effects. Work that angle. My brother felt significantly better getting off of his Statins. And READ THE INSERT (Bruising / Tiredness / Muscle Weakness) are commonly listed as side-effects. (My brothers cardiologist told him they were not, he believed him… LOL. I made my brother read the insert… he was pissed at the doc, and asked the doctor if he had EVER READ the inserts before LYING to his patients!)

I wish her luck. But once the Rx process starts… It only gets worse. Doctors are not even trained on how to get you off of the drugs they start willy nilly.

Also, if he agrees with removing the statin (he can’t), he will want a blood test. DONT do it for 6-9 months, because the first thing that will happen is her numbers will skyrocket, doctors know this, and use it to scare patients back on them!

Finally, tread lightly. if you are not a doctor, another family member could attempt to sue you for giving bad medical advice, and not being a doctor. Helping someone get off a Rx medicine is practicing medicine in some cases. Encouraging not to start is different.