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Dentistry Ohio

News on Our 'Statin' Medications

 Millions of people around the globe are taking a category of prescription drugs known as “statins”.  The statin family of drugs was      developed to help people lower blood cholesterol levels or favorably modify their ratio of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad          cholesterol’) to high-density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good cholesterol’).  LDL cholesterol is a primary contributor to the development of  atherosclerosis, a blockage or occlusion of the arteries that carry oxygen rich blood throughout the body.   A piece of interesting  news has surfaced with regard to statins to launch us into the New Year. 

 Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have discovered that patients taking high doses of  statins have a reduced level of gum tissue inflammation from periodontal disease

 Detailed in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, this study involved patients either diagnosed with heart disease or at  high risk for heart disease.  A portion of the subjects were given a daily 80mg statin dosage for 12 weeks while the others were  assigned a 10mg dose.

Among the 59 patients who received the higher statin dosage a “significant reduction in gum inflammation” was noted in as few as four weeks of treatment. 

“Periodontal disease is characterized by chronic gum inflammation and affects approximately 50 percent of the U.S. adult population”, said Ahmed Tawkol, M.D., co-director of the Cardiac Imaging Trials Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.  “Periodontitis and atherosclerosis are both primarily driven by inflammation.  These inflammatory conditions tend to coexist within individuals and their biologies may be intertwined.” 

Quite clearly it isn’t as simple as stating that periodontal disease causes heart disease but scientists have for years noticed indicators that suggest a link between these two conditions.  This new study adds to the mounting evidence connecting the two.  The good news is that when we attempt to treat one of these conditions we may see a reduction of inflammation in both arenas!  I like that!  

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