Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Statins need time to work

Endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD) has often been studied in patients with high cholesterol without clear coronary atherosclerosis where an improvement after statin treatment has been documented within a few weeks.

The endothelium is located at the interface between the blood and the vessel wall. It plays a critical role in the mechanics of blood flow.

Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by loss of dilatation or relaxation, has been observed in patients with atherosclerotic diseases such as coronary artery disease. Indeed, a new study indicates that individuals with high cholesterol AND ischemic heart disease (insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle), show no significant improvement in endothelial relaxation with either three months of dietary change or three months of statin therapy. However, EDD is significantly improved after long-term statin therapy.

Sometimes, patience is in order.

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