The raison d'etre of this website is to provide you with hard scientific information which may help you make informed decisions in your quest for health (so far I have blogged concise summaries of over 1,500 scientific studies and have had three books published).

My research is mainly focused on the effects of cholesterol, saturated fat and statin drugs on health. If you know anyone who is worried about their cholesterol levels and heart disease, or has been told to take statin drugs you could send them a link to this website, and to my statin or cholesterol or heart disease books.

David Evans

Independent Health Researcher

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Do statins cause a deterioration in pain-free walking?

This post includes a synopsis of a study published in Vasa 2009 May;38(2):155-9

Study title and authors:
The influence of atorvastatin on walking performance in peripheral arterial disease.
Bregar U, Poredos P, Sabovic M, Jug B, Sebestjen M.
Department of Vascular Disease, University of Ljubljana Medical Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

This study can be accessed at:

Cholesterol & The French Paradox
The study investigated if statins could improve walking performance in patients with peripheral arterial disease. The patients were divided into 2 groups, the statin group (atorvastatin 20 mg/day), and the control group (placebo), and were asked to practice interval exercise for at least half an hour per day unto a maximum of one hour per day.

The study also measured the Ankle Brachial Pressure Index. The Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABPI), known more commonly as an ABI, is the ratio of the blood pressure in the lower legs to the blood pressure in the arms. Compared to the arm, lower blood pressure in the leg is an indication of blocked arteries (peripheral vascular disease). The ABI is calculated by dividing the systolic blood pressure at the ankle by the systolic blood pressures in the arm.

The study found:
(a) The ankle-brachial pressure index (ABPI) did not change significantly in either group.
(b) After 3 months the pain-free walking distance increased 41% in the statin group.
(c) After 3 months the pain-free walking distance increased 100% in the placebo group.

To conclude:
(i) Statins did not improve peripheral arterial disease (no change in the ankle-brachial pressure index).
(ii) The placebo group increased their pain-free walking distance by an extra 59% compared to the statin users. It may be argued that statins inhibited the expected progress of pain-free walking distance that 3 months of regular exercise shoud induce.

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