A CHEAP pill already taken by millions of Brits could slash your risk of developing deadly diseases.
The pills – which cost just 2p per day– are typically used to lower cholesterol, but experts have now discovered the drug could provide more life-saving benefits to millions of people
Researchers have found that statins could actually reduce women’s chances of developing autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune disorders, which affect around four million people in the UK, are a group of conditions which cause your immune system to attack healthy body tissues, organs, and cells.
There are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases which include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes and alopecia.
Most autoimmune diseases are not fatal, however, some can be deadly or lead to life-threatening complications.
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The study, published in Frontiers in Medicine, discovered that women taking statins were 75 per cent less likely to have autoimmune disorders causing cells — known called antinuclear antibodies –compared to women who didn't take statins.
Statins did not have the same effect on men, authors said.
The presence of a large number of antinuclear antibodies can indicate the body to begin attacking itself which can lead to autoimmune diseases.
Women currently account for 80 per cent of all patients diagnosed with autoimmune conditions.
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Previous studies have suggested that statin use may actually promote the development of autoimmune disorders.
Historically though, drug trials have used predominantly male participants, the authors said.
Lead author of the study Catherine Andersen, associate professor of nutritional sciences in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources said the results were important because "women tend to have more adverse reactions to statins."
She added: "Often, adherence to statin treatment might not be as strong [among women] because they experience more side effects, and they might not feel as heard when they go to their physician to express their concerns.”
Professor Anderson has called for more research to help identify what causes this sex-specific phenomenon.
Meanwhile, research has suggested stopping statins treatment early cuts the benefits by as much as three quarters – even for those who stayed on them until their 80s.
Many Brits reportedly stop taking statins because of side effects such as muscle pain, stomach issues and headaches.
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But medics have said issues are “over-diagnosed” and most might be felt because people expect them.
Professor Maciej Banach a professor of Professor of Cardiology at Medical University of Lodz said: "We should evaluate whether it might be patients’ perceptions that statins are harmful – a so-called ‘nocebo’ or ‘drucebo’ effect – which could be responsible for more than 50 per cent of all symptoms, rather than the drug itself.”
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