Statins may be recommended if you have cardiovascular disease (CVD) or a high risk of developing it in the next 10 years.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels.
It's often caused by high cholesterol and is the most common cause of death in the UK.
The main types of CVD are:
Statins cannot cure these conditions, but they can help prevent them getting worse or recurring in people who have been diagnosed with them.
They can also reduce the chance of CVD developing in the first place in people at risk.
Statins are usually used in combination with lifestyle measures, such as:
If you do not have any form of CVD, statins may still be recommended if you're thought to be at a high risk of developing the condition in the future.
The current recommendation is that you should be offered statins if:
Your GP may recommend carrying out a formal assessment of your CVD risk if they think you may be at an increased risk of CVD, based on your personal and family medical history.
For this formal assessment, your GP or practice nurse will use special CVD risk assessment computer software that takes into account factors such as:
Statins can also be used to treat people with familial hypercholesterolaemia.
This is an inherited condition caused by a genetic fault that leads to high cholesterol levels, even in people who have a generally healthy lifestyle.