Fall in heart deaths is due to healthy living

Fall in heart deaths is due to healthy living - NOT statins, study claims
• Plummeting smoking rates and dietary changes have played major role
• Deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 38,000 between 2000 and 2007
• Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in England and Wales
By JENNY HOPE FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 00:21 GMT, 23 January 2015 | UPDATED: 08:00 GMT, 23 January 2015

A massive fall in heart deaths is chiefly due to changes in diet and lifestyle – not drugs, a study says.
Reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol saved more than 20,000 lives in England over seven years, but only a minority were tied to the use of drugs such as statins, it found.
More than two-thirds were the result of plummeting smoking rates and dietary changes such as eating less trans fats.

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More than two-thirds were the result of plummeting smoking rates and dietary changes such as eating less trans fats
Researchers used a mathematical model to assess the role of medication in the huge decline in deaths from 2000 to 2007.
Overall, deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 38,000 in that time. Many lives will have been saved by advances in emergency treatment, or by other factors that have not yet been fully explained.
But 20,400 deaths were prevented as a direct result of reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol.
Only 5,300 of those were linked to the use of statins, the study found.

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A massive fall in heart deaths is chiefly due to changes in diet and lifestyle – not drugs, a study says
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in England and Wales, accounting for a third of deaths, or around 180,000 a year.
'PAPERCLIP' THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE
A revolutionary device the shape and size of a paperclip could help up to half a million Britons with persistent high blood pressure.
The ROX Coupler is inserted in the groin, where it clips two blood vessels together, diverting some of the blood under high pressure from an artery to a vein. Patients receiving the new device experienced an immediate fall in blood pressure.
It could be particularly effective for the estimated 500,000 people with high blood pressure that does not respond to at least three types of medication, known as resistant hypertension.
In a study involving patients with the problem, 44 were given the Coupler while 37 received drugs. Those who had the device fitted had 'a significant and durable reduction' in blood pressure, says a report published in The Lancet. There was also a cut in the number of hypertensive complications and hospital admissions for high blood pressure crises – there were five among patients having standard treatment and none in patients fitted with the Coupler.
Dr Melvin Lobo, principal investigator of the study at Queen Mary University of London and director of the Barts Blood Pressure Clinic at Barts Health NHS Trust, said the new device provides treatment that is fully reversible, immediate and pain-free. He is seeking to carry out more research on the procedure.
'Drugs do not work for everyone and the Coupler is a big step forward in our search for alternative treatment,' said Dr Lobo.
The NHS has estimated that statins save 7,000 lives a year in the UK.
Martin O'Flaherty and colleagues at Liverpool University used trial data, national surveys, and official statistics to calculate how many deaths were prevented and why.
Dr O'Flaherty said the best results came from population-wide health measures.
He said: 'Statins were not as effective as they were claimed to be . . . We have been relying on statins, but we are missing an opportunity to reduce levels by population-wide approaches.'
He said curbs on salt and trans fats in processed and takeaway foods, as well as changing smoking habits, did more good than pills.
'Targeting people one by one is more difficult and more costly. There are bigger health gains from population measures,' he added.
He said his team did not have enough data to say whether recent changes to the use of statins – which are now being prescribed to more people at lower risk of heart disease – would save lives.
The analysis, published in online journal BMJ Open, also found that the benefits of using statins were not distributed evenly in society.
Among those living in affluent areas, statins were linked to the prevention of 50 per cent more deaths than in deprived areas.
Overall, however, falls in blood pressure prevented almost twice as many deaths among the poorest people as among the richest.
Dr Mike Knapton, of the British Heart Foundation, said: 'We have made significant progress . . . but there is still a long way to go.
'Given the pressures on NHS capacity and budgets, prevention is vital and addressing the health inequalities highlighted by this research could help save even more lives.'

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