Who would benefit from statin therapy?

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in each cell, and used by your body to make certain hormones and vitamin D.

However, too much cholesterol can be harmful.

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) causing heart disease, strokes and peripheral blood vessel disease has many causes including high Low-Density Lipoprotein-Cholesterol (LDL-C) or “bad’ cholesterol.

Studies show a lower risk of heart disease and stroke with lower levels of LDL cholesterol.

What are Statins?

Statins are cholesterol-lowering medicines that have been widely used for over 30 years.

Statins reduce cholesterol production by your liver. Liver cells then remove LDL cholesterol from the blood

Statins reduce cardiovascular event like heart attacks and strokes, especially in people with high risk of heart disease.

Who is likely to benefit from a statin?

Any one with a known history of heart disease, stroke, or peripheral blood vessel disease.

Anyone with persistent severely high blood LDL cholesterol levels (LDL-C greater than 190 mg/dL or greater than 4.9 mmol/L)

Most adults age 40 to 75 years old with diabetes.

Most adults age 40 to 75 years old assessed by their healthcare team to have a high risk of developing heart disease or stroke in the future.

A healthy lifestyle is an important part of reducing your risk of heart disease. Work with your healthcare team on optimizing your blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure through diet, exercise, and weight management.

What are the side effects of statins?

Over many years, statins have been safely used by people without side-effects.

The most common side-effect reported is mild muscle aches.

People at high-risk of diabetes may be diagnosed with diabetes sooner; however, statins do not cause diabetes.

If you experience any side-effects with a statin, please contact your healthcare team.

When you’ve been diagnosed with Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease

What is atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD)?

ASCVD is caused by buildup of plaque in artery walls.

This can lead to heart attack, and stroke among other health issues (sometimes referred to as “ASCVD events”).

People who have had a heart attack, angina, stroke, poor blood flow in arteries in the legs or elsewhere, or procedure to unblock arteries have clinical ASCVD.

When your LDL-C is above 190 mg/dL


Cholesterol is a building block for vitamin D and hormones in the body. However, high Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol”, is a risk factor for developing heart disease, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.

Very high levels of LDL cholesterol, especially 190 mg/dL or above, are often due to a genetic (inherited from your family) condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), and can lead to an increased risk for having heart attacks or strokes at an early age

Diabetes Mellitus, Heart Disease, and Statins

Is a statin recommended for people with diabetes?

A statin is recomended for adults 40 to 75 years of age with diabetes.

Discuss the benefits and risks of taking a statin with your healthcare team if your are:

  • Older than 75 years of age with diabetes.
  • 20 to 39 years of age with a long duration of diabetes (10 years or more of having type 2 diabetes, or 20 years or more of having type 1 diabetes) or have diabetes complications, such as kidney disease, eye disease, nerve damage, or blood vessel disease.

Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD)

ASCVD can be caused by many risk factors. Your risk of having an ASCVD event over the next 10 years or at any point during during your lifetime can be calculated with an ASCVD risk calculator and is based on your:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Total cholesterol and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • Blood pressure and whether you take blood pressure medications
  • Whether you have diabetes or smoke