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It’s Time to Rethink Cardiovascular Risk

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In America, one person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease (CVD). For the last two decades, heart disease has been the world’s biggest cause of death accounting for more deaths than cancer, diabetes, lung infections, and the flu.1

Yet, nearly 80 percent of cardiovascular (CV) events — such as heart attacks and strokes — can be prevented. It’s time to #RethinkCVRisk to change the course of the disease and your life.

Risk factors for CVD include high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Other factors, such as family history, smoking, being overweight, and unhealthy diet and exercise habits can also contribute.3 Over time, these risk factors can impact and injure the blood vessel lining, causing inflammation, which can then trigger plaque growth. As plaque builds up and potentially ruptures, the chances of having a heart attack or stroke increase if there is a blockage that forms. Blocked blood flow to the heart can cause a heart attack while blocked blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke.

The difference between life and death can be traced to when you detect heart disease and how you reduce your risk factors. The first step is getting tested to understand your cholesterol and triglyceride levels — two indicators for increased CV risk. Statins are currently the first-line therapy for lowering cholesterol; but statins, diet, and exercise can only lower your CV risk by about 25-35 percent, leaving residual or “persistent CV risk.” 

At the same time, lowering triglyceride levels doesn’t necessarily reduce risk, but addressing the underlying cause does. In the past, fenofibrates and niacin were commonly prescribed to lower triglyceride levels to help manage CV risk. However, clinical studies failed to show benefits and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) discourage combining niacin and fenofibrates with statins.

Some turn to dietary supplement fish oil to help manage CV risk. However, supplements contain only 30 percent of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), with the majority of the product consisting of non-omega-3 ingredients, including saturated fats. Additionally, fish oil supplements are not FDA-approved medicines intended to treat or prevent a medical condition. Despite multiple clinical studies, these products have not been proven to reduce CV risk on top of current medical therapies including statins. Some data suggests certain ingredients in dietary supplement fish oils, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and saturated fats, may raise bad cholesterol.,

With ongoing research, new standards-of-care are emerging. High cholesterol is a key CV risk factor with statins currently the first-line therapy for lowering cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about FDA-approved options that can help further reduce your heart risk if you already take statins. 

It’s time to #RethinkCVRisk to change the course of the disease and your life.

For more information about CVD and what you can do, look for #RethinkCVRisk on social media or visit

Source: Amarin Corporation plc: 1. Heart Disease Facts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.,1%20in%20every%204%20deaths; 2. CDC Prevention Programs. American Heart Association.–prevention-programs; 3. Know Your Risk for Heart Disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ; 4. Inflammation and Heart Disease. The American Heart Association.; 5.Heart Disease: Coronary Artery Disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.; 6. Ganda OP, Bhatt DL, Mason RP, Miller M, Boden WE. Unmet need for adjunctive dyslipidemia therapy in hypertriglyceridemia management. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018; 7. Scientific Statement. The American Heart Association.; 8. Department of Health and Human Services. [Docket no. FDA–2016–N–1127]: AbbVie Inc., et al; Withdrawal of approval of indications related to the coadministration with statins in applications for niacin extended-release tablets and fenofibric acid delayed-release capsules. Federal Register. April 18, 2016;81(74):22612-22613.; 9. Hilleman D, Smer A. Prescription omega-3 fatty acid products and dietary supplements are not interchangeable. Manag Care. 2016;25(1):46-52.; 10. Davidson MH. Omega-3 fatty acids: new insights into the pharmacology and biology of docosahexaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2013;24(6):467-474.

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