Are statins and hypertensive medications useful for the elderly? I have written extensively about this subject in my books, newsletters and blog posts. Many older subjects—greater than 75% in one study—are taking statin medications in order to prevent getting a heart attack. (1) A recent article in Evidenced Based Medicine (2014. Feb. 26, 2014) found that both statin and hypertensive medications are overprescribed and unhelpful to the elderly.
In fact, the Framingham study found that for those over 80 years, a lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure was associated with a significantly higher risk of mortality.(2) Furthermore, there is little or no evidence that elevated cholesterol levels are related to stroke risk. In fact, the risk for heart disease-related death for any given level of cholesterol fell with age. Furthermore, in subjects over 70 years old–and particularly those with systolic blood pressure over 145mmHg– total cholesterol was negatively related to stroke mortality. In other words, a higher cholesterol level and blood pressure was associated with a lower stroke mortality rate.
Conventional physicians believe that, for any age, blood pressure should be less than 120/80mmg and cholesterol levels should be <200mg/dl. I say this is nonsense. It is normal for both blood pressure and cholesterol levels to increase as one ages. It is ridiculous to assume that an 80-year-old should have the same cholesterol level and blood pressure as someone at age 20. There are zero studies showing that statin medications result in a longer lifespan in anyone over the age of 65. Furthermore, there are no studies showing any longevity benefit in statin use in women of any age.
What can you do? Don’t get caught taking too many medications, particularly if you are elderly. We spend too much money on ineffective medications that not only have too many adverse effects, they also do not change the lifespan of the elderly. For many, a better course is to eat healthy foods, maintain hydration, and correct nutritional imbalances. More information about these topics can be found in my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies that Do.
1. Am. J. of Cardiol. 2012;110:1477
2. Stroke. 1991;22:983