Statins are cholesterol lowering drugs which are widely prescribed along with antihypertensive drugs to prevent heart attacks and stroke in high-risk patients.
The uses of statins have been credited with one more benefit. A research report which has been presented at the American Heart Association in Nashville on 6 May 2016, states that statins may protect people who have narrowed leg arteries from amputation and even death.
Narrowed leg arteries have been dubbed the next cardiovascular epidemic. Advancing age leads to fatty plaque buildup in the arteries which leads to narrowing and finally blockage of arteries. It happens mostly in the arteries that transport blood to the head, organs and limbs. It often happens in the legs than in the arms.
PAD is prevalent in 12 to 20 percent of individuals who are over 60 years old and according to figures released by CDC the disease affects about 8 million people.
The study found that those who took high doses of a statin had 33 percent less risk for amputation. There was also a 29 percent reduced risk of death compared with those who did not take the drugs.
Statins are a class of lipid-lowering medications which acts by lowering an enzyme which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol.
Statins have been deemed effective in treating CVD in the early stages of a disease. Use of statins significantly cut down the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease-related deaths by up to 35 percent. Statins have also been found to shorten wound healing time after a heart cardiac surgery.
The finding, however, does not prove that PAD patients could be shifted to a high-dose statins regimen upon diagnosis if they can tolerate it.
However, it could be considered along with other medical management procedures like quitting smoking, anti-platelet [anti-clotting] therapy and moderate exercise with monthly monitoring.