Reduced Stroke Severity and Better Recovery with Patients taking Statins

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[Best Syndication News] A study by Mayo Clinic investigators have shown that patients who were taking statins before having a stroke had much better outcomes and recovery when compared to patients who weren't taking the statin drug. This was true even when the patient had desirable cholesterol levels. The study was published in the current issue of the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

Lead researcher Latha Stead, M.D. said that they wanted to find out if daily intake of statins benefited stroke patients more that just lowering their “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Since there is other studies which have found statins improved stroke outcomes, they focused on those stroke patients that had optimal LDL levels that were taking statins.

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Statins are enzymes that are believed to improve cardiovascular health. They are typically given to lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in the blood which can build up and block arteries. Other uses for statins include some vascular conditions found in the brain.

In previous studies there was shown a reduced death rate and better recovery after a stroke for those patients that took statins. The researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that in this study they also reduced the severity of the strok and also showed significant improvement for overall outcomes. They point out that taking statins offer more than just lowering blood lipid levels. Some researchers suggest that the statins may also help with plaque stabilization along with improved cell function in the blood vessel walls. In addition to this they also think that statins might also offer an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant assistance. At this point however, more research would be needed to prove further the additional benefits of statins.

The study by the Mayo Clinic included 508 patients that had a diagnosis of an acute ischemic stroke over a 22 month period from March 2004 to December 2005. They looked at the lipid levels that were measured within 15 days of the stroke. They saw that 207 patients had LDL levels that were below 100 mg/dl which is considered optimal. Of these 207 patients there were approximately half of them that were taking statins. They noticed that those that took the statins had better outcomes and recovery compared to those that did not take statins.

By: Nicole Wilson

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