South African Medical Journal

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Cardiovascular prevention: Lifestyle and statins – competitors or companions?

LH Opie, AJ Dalby, AJ Dalby


Favourable lifestyles promote cardiovascular protection. Exercise can induce beneficial changes in the genome that decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and increase anti-inflammatory markers. The Mediterranean dietary pattern, fortified by nuts, while not reducing weight, reduces mortality. Lifestyle changes combined with statin therapy provide potent protection against coronary heart disease, especially when used for secondary prevention after cardiovascular events. Decisions regarding the initiation of statin therapy for primary prevention are more difficult, requiring consideration of both the LDL-C level and the degree of cardiovascular risk for dyslipidaemic patients. Combining intensive exercise and statin therapy substantially reduces the mortality risk, and thus is potentially the ideal riskreducing combination.
AJOL African Journals Online