Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and a major public health concern around the world. Over 600,000 people died from heart disease in 2013 despite all of the advances in medications, surgical techniques, and treatments,
Obesity and type 2 diabetes, which have grown into epidemics, are major risks for developing cardiovascular disease. About 36% of men and women are considered obese (having a BMI over 30). The first line of defense against heart disease and diabetes is diet and exercise. Research has shown that people who regularly exercise tend to develop less heart disease.
Public service campaigns have spread the word about the importance of exercise throughout the country, yet the majority of Americans are considered sedentary.
For people with hereditary links to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, diet and exercise are not enough for them to stave off heart problems.
Statistics on Cholesterol-Lowering Medication
Targeted treatments, such as medications to control elevated cholesterol, can be prescribed. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ten-year period between 2003 and 2012 saw a 30% increase in the number of adults over the age of 40 taking cholesterol lowering medicines. More than 70% of patients with cardiovascular disease reported taking cholesterol-lowering medications. Patients with diabetes (62%) and hypercholesterolemia (54%) also reported taking these medications regularly. By 2012, 93% of all the adults taking medication for high cholesterol were using a statin.
Types of Medication
Recent clinical outcomes research has demonstrated that reducing the levels of bad cholesterol (LDLs) in patients reduces the occurrence of heart attacks. Statins have been clinically proven to lower LDLs and reduce heart attacks; however, 15 – 20% of older patients with cardiovascular disease cannot tolerate the side effects from statins. Because of these findings, new classes of medications have been developed to address the statin shortcomings.
The types of medications used to manage cholesterol have grown significantly and too numerous to list here. The Mayo Clinic has an excellent review of the classes of cholesterol medications, their benefits and side effects.
Last year, the FDA approved a self-administered, injectable class of medications for patients unable to tolerate statins with heart disease and elevated cholesterol, or are unable to lower LDLs with statins. These inhibitors are antibodies that target the PCSK9 protein, involved in LDL activity.
Dr. Louis Chaykin, principal investigator at Meridien Research in Bradenton, Florida, conducts studies focused on these new cholesterol-lowering medications that are complementary to statins and are being studied in type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. Doses are administered every two weeks. The target date for completion of major clinical trials is in 2017.
Statins and other cholesterol drugs are not able to reach safe LDL levels for people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and clinical cardiovascular disease. Through these new drugs, patients have seen an average decline of 60% in their LDL levels. Providing another treatment option is a big step forward in managing and preventing deaths from heart disease.
Research Is Needed
This CDC article describes the improvements the medical community has made substantial progress since 1976. The prevalence of high LDL cholesterol has decreased from 59% to 27% of adults 40 years and older. The greatest gains have been in adults 65 years and older, who were at 72% in 1980 and are now at 30%. These gains are attributable to diet and cholesterol lowering medication. New medications used in conjunction with healthy lifestyles can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, yet cardiovascular disease remains a major cause of death and financial burden to society.
If you are living with high cholesterol and would like to volunteer to future the advancement of treatment options, please call Meridien Research at 888-777-8839 today!