Mended Hearts Open Forum

  • 1.  Serious Concerns About Medication

    Posted 07-16-2021 08:41
    My wife had a heart attack about 7 days ago and went to the hospital where they ran several different tests on her including a heart catheter procedure, but they did not find any blockages, clots, or plaque anywhere. Her heart rate was elevated during the heart attack and she also had low blood pressure so they thought perhaps her heart rate was elevated to compensate for the low blood pressure. After running all the exams, the cardiologist came to the conclusion that her heart attack was caused primarily by anxiety and stress especially since she is very young (30 years old), eats a heart healthy diet, is average weight for her height (130lbs and 5ft tall), and her heart is in perfect health. She also does have a history of heart conditions in both sides of her family which could have contributed to having a heart attack when stressed out. The cardiologist then went on to explain that no permanent damage had been caused to her heart at all, but he was going to put her on Ecotrin 81mg once a day in the morning, Diltiazem 90mg sr once a day in the morning, and Atorvastatin 20mg once a day at night before bedtime as a preventative. The Ecotrin would thin her blood a bit, the Diltiazem would help with keeping her coronary arteries open so blood flows easier, and the Atorvastatin would aid in balancing her cholesterol levels.

    Now, my concern is, I have read up a lot about these medications recently because I wanted to know exactly what my wife was taking and I found a lot of articles referring to studies that claim Atorvastatin as well as other statins can cause dementia and even Alzheimer's over time if taken for a prolonged period of time. I was wondering if this is true because I am very worried that my wife might develop dementia or Alzheimer's later in life due to taking Atorvastatin, but at the same time the cardiologist prescribed this medication to keep her cholesterol balanced. He is also planning on running a blood panel later in the month to see if her cholesterol levels have improved so he can lower the dosage, but my wife also has Cushing Syndrome which causes high cholesterol so I am not very hopeful when it comes to her cholesterol levels balancing on their own. Regardless, if her heart attack was caused by anxiety and stress and she did not have any blockages, clots, or plaque, does she really need to take Atorvastatin at such an early age? In conclusion, my questions are below:

    1.) Can Atorvastatin cause dementia or Alzeheimer's later in life if you take it for a prolonged period of time?

    2.) I have heard Crestor does not cause dementia or Alzheimer's the way that Atorvastatin does and is a safer statin to take, is this true?

    3.) Is Crestor only prescribed to patients that have heart conditions because it is a much larger dosage than Atorvastatin or is it also prescribed as a preventative the way that Atorvastatin is?

    4.) Is it really necessary for my wife to take Atorvastatin at such an early age if her heart attack was caused by stress and anxiety and she did not have any blockages, clots, or plaque (keeping in mind that heart conditions do run in both sides of her family although her heart is perfectly healthy right now according to the cardiologist)?

    Shelby Ortega

  • 2.  RE: Serious Concerns About Medication

    Posted 07-17-2021 06:24

    I think you may be jumping to conclusions about atorvastatin that are unsupported by any large, peer approved medical studies of which I am aware.  I do know of one small study where a select group of older people who already were somewhat cognitively impaired had a higher risk of dementia while using atorvastatin, but there also is scientific speculation that atorvastatin, which can penetrate into the brain, lowers dementia risk for most people.  In short, I would not rely on the internet or even this forum to answer your questions but, instead, recommend that you seek out the advice of an expert in the field of statin/dementia research, possibly through the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic or some similar highly respected institution.  And please, to the extent that you are provided with any scientific studies either proving or disproving your fears, I personally (and perhaps others) would appreciate reading those studies and would ask that you post them on this site.

    By the way, I was surprised when I read about the circumstances under which your wife had her heart attack and it prompted me to do a little research.  Apparently, heart attacks like those apparently suffered by your wife, though unusual, occur in 5-6% of myocardial infarctions and the treatment regimen appears to be exactly what was prescribed for your wife.  I have attached the following Cleveland Clinic article:

    Please keep us posted on what you learn.  In the meantime, best of luck and good health to your wife.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 3.  RE: Serious Concerns About Medication

    Posted 07-18-2021 13:18

    I am so sorry to hear what has happened to your wife. Dealing with heart issues is a very scary place. I hope that you can express your concerns about statin with her doctors.

    I had an MRI last fall due to migraines which uncovered a silent stroke had occurred. Silent because I did not see any symptoms or experience and side effects. Because I am now considered at risk the doctor put me on Atorvastatin. I was also very concerned with all the different information about statins. I also experienced a severe side effect causing extreme constipation. I did have a significant drop in my lipid panels. I also had normal cholesterol levels and no coronary artery disease found during a cardiac cath. I changed to 5 mg of Crestor after my lipid panel test. I had mitral valve repair surgery in May so had my lipids checked several times. Being in a risk category has changed all the acceptable ranges for my lipids.

    I hope your wife continues to recover. Continue to be an advocate and learn. Trusting in her doctors can also reduce stress on both of you. Please take care. 

    Cameron Peek
    Deltaville VA

  • 4.  RE: Serious Concerns About Medication

    Posted 07-22-2021 12:12
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