Statins may be recommended if you have cardiovascular disease (CVD) or at a high risk of getting it in the next 10 years.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels.

It's often caused by high cholesterol and is a very common cause of death in the UK.

The main types of CVD are:

Statins cannot cure these conditions, but they can help prevent them getting worse or recurring in people who have been diagnosed with them.

They can also reduce the chance of CVD developing in the first place in people at risk.

Statins are usually used in combination with lifestyle measures, such as: 

People at risk of CVD

If you do not have any form of CVD, statins may still be recommended if you're thought to be at a high risk of getting the condition.

The current recommendation is that you should be given a formal assessment of your CVD risk if you have at least a 1 in 10 chance of developing CVD at some point in the next 10 years.

A GP may also recommend a formal assessment of your CVD risk if they think you may be at an increased risk of CVD, based on your personal and family medical history.

For this formal assessment, the GP or practice nurse will use CVD risk assessment computer software that takes into account factors such as:

Other uses

Statins can also be used to treat familial hypercholesterolaemia.

This is an inherited condition caused by a genetic fault that leads to high cholesterol levels, even in people who have a generally healthy lifestyle.

Page last reviewed: 3 October 2022
Next review due: 3 October 2025