Cardiovascular prevention: Lifestyle and statins – competitors or companions?

Lionel Henry Opie, Anthony John Dalby


Favourable lifestyles promote cardiovascular protection. Exercise can induce beneficial changes in the genome that decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and increase anti-inflammatory markers. The Mediterranean dietary pattern, fortified by nuts, while not reducing weight, reduces mortality. Lifestyle changes combined with statin therapy provide potent protection against coronary heart disease, especially when used for secondary prevention after cardiovascular events. Decisions regarding the initiation of statin therapy for primary prevention are more difficult, requiring consideration of both the LDL-C level and the degree of cardiovascular risk for dyslipidaemic patients. Combining intensive exercise and statin therapy substantially reduces the mortality risk, and thus is potentially the ideal risk-reducing combination. 

Authors' affiliations

Lionel Henry Opie, Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Anthony John Dalby, Cardiologist in Private Practice, Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

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cardiovascular disease prevention; beneficial lifestyle; statins

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2014;104(3):168-173. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.7942

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-01-11
Date published: 2014-01-20

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