By Ben Spencer Medical Correspondent For The Daily Mail
Published: 23:32 GMT, 31 January 2019 | Updated: 08:11 GMT, 1 February 2019
Up to 8,000 pensioners a year are needlessly dying of heart disease because they are not being given statins, leading experts warn.
Oxford researchers said widespread ‘ageism’ and a myth that the pills do not help the elderly mean millions are missing out.
A major study now reveals over-75s who take the cholesterol-busting drugs cut their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke by a fifth.
The researchers said it demonstrates once and for all that statins are just as effective in the old as among younger groups. And they said every Briton over 75 should be offered them by their GP.
Oxford researchers said widespread ‘ageism’ and a myth that the pills do not help the elderly mean millions are missing out (stock image)
Study leader Professor Colin Baigent said: ‘Very often doctors are unwilling to consider statin therapy for people who are elderly simply because they are old.
‘There is an idea that the person is elderly, they are going to have many other things happen to them, so why bother?’ Since 2014, NHS guidelines have said all over-75s – even those who are healthy – should be eligible for statins. But of the 5.5million people in this age group, just 1.5million – about a third of those eligible – actually take them.
Professor Baigent said: ‘If the 4million who are currently not taking statins started taking statins we might prevent 8,000 deaths a year.’
The academic said a number of misleading studies – which he branded ‘fake news’ – had created