The study offers a good argument for giving statins after bypass surgery, Wee said. "What we can say is that if you have heart disease, particularly if you had bypass surgery, you should be on a good dose of a statin," she said. The dosage described as "high" in the study now is regarded as standard, Wee added.
"If you are overweight or obese, you really should take your statin and be aggressive about it," she said. "You get much more benefit than for someone who is thinner."
Another paper in the same issue of the journal aimed at settling a controversy about the best way to measure the danger of obesity. A prevailing school of thought holds that measuring body-mass index is good enough. Anyone with a BMI of 30 or greater is obese.
Another theory is that not only the amount of fat, but also its distribution matters, with various ways of measuring fat in the waist area indicating more risk of cardiovascular disease and other major problems.
A team at Harvard Medical School tried both methods of obesity measurements used on the 16,332 men in the Physicians Health Study and the 32,700 women in the Women's Health Study, linking incidence of cardiovascular disease to the obesity described by the two methods.
The waist fat measurements "demonstrated the strongest association with cardiovascular disease and best model fit," the researchers reported. But they added that "cardiovascular disease risk increased linearly and significantly with higher levels of all indexes."
For more on statins and cholesterol, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
SOURCES: Christina C. Wee, M.D., co-director, research, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, division of general medicine, Boston; Aug. 19, 2008, Journal
All rights reserved