Harvard Women's Health Watch

Should women with normal cholesterol be taking a statin?

A major study suggests that statins also quell inflammation. Now what?

With February come thoughts of the heart, and this year you may be wondering if you should be doing more for yours. For instance, what about taking a statin, one of those medications best known for their ability to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol? Most of us with healthy LDL levels assumed we didn't need a statin to reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease. In November 2008, that assumption may have been proved wrong when a large international study — the JUPITER trial — found that the statin drug rosuvastatin (Crestor) slashed the rate of heart attacks and strokes in people with normal LDL cholesterol who had elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. There is increasing evidence that low-grade inflammation raises cardiovascular risk.

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