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Obese People and Ex-Smokers are more likely to Follow Statin Therapy

Update Date: Jun 23, 2014 12:09 PM EDT

Statin therapy is prescribed for people with high cholesterol levels who cannot reduce their levels effectively through exercise and diet. Since high cholesterol can be extremely dangerous for one's health, consistently following one's statin therapy treatment is vital. In a new study, researchers examined the relationship between certain lifestyle factors and statin therapy. They found that people who are obese or ex-smokers were more likely to follow recommended statin therapy.

According to the background information provided by the study's researchers, around 10 percent of cardiovascular events that occur could be tied to people's lack of adherence to their prescribed medication. In order to understand the effects of non-adherence on health risks, the researchers examined data on 11,949 people who were a part of the Finnish Pubic Sector Study, which collected information on people's statin therapy use between 1998 and 2010.

The researchers focused on the 928 people who completed the survey. They found that women, younger individuals between the ages of 24 and 50, and single people were less likely to stick to their statin therapy. On the other hand, people who were obese and people who were ex-smokers were more likely to take their statin therapy as recommended.

"As expected, patients with a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes had better adherence to statin therapy than those without these comorbidities," wrote Dr. Heli Halava, from the Departments of Public Health and Pharmacology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland reported in the press release. "Because of their increased risk of cardiovascular events, patients with comorbidities likely have a strong perception of the need for statin treatment."

The researchers added that heavy drinkers were also less likely to follow their statin therapy. The researchers reasoned that heavy and extreme drinkers tend to skip their statin medication because of the risks involved with mixing drugs and alcohol. Being intoxicated could also cause people to forget to take their medications. The researchers stated that by identifying these lifestyle factors, doctors could help their patients stick to their statin therapy more effectively.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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