Responding to a "controversial" report in the Western media that treating cholesterol with drugs like statins was a waste of time, the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has said more research "that produces conclusive evidence would be required to prove this claim".
Quoting the result of studies conducted by an international group of experts, the UK-based The Telegraph said "cholesterol does not cause heart disease in the elderly and trying to reduce it with drugs like statins is a waste of time".
Asked for a comment, the corporation said in a statement: "As a public entity, we would be cautious about making any statements concerning this study until more research produces conclusive evidence. However, HMC continues to recommend a good healthy lifestyle, which includes abstaining from smoking and food containing too much sugar and trans fatty acids, as the best form of preventative healthcare that people can adopt."
The Telegraph said a review of research involving nearly 70,000 people found there was no link between what has traditionally been considered “bad” cholesterol and the premature deaths of over 60-year-olds from cardiovascular disease.
Published in the BMJ Open journal, the new study found that 92% of people with a high cholesterol level lived longer.
"Lowering cholesterol with medications is a total waste of time," Professor Sherif Sultan of the University of Ireland stated.
According to The Telegraph, the authors have called for a re-evaluation of the guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis, a hardening and narrowing of the arteries, because “the benefits from statin treatment have been exaggerated”.
The results have prompted immediate scepticism from other academics, however, who questioned the paper’s balance.
High cholesterol is commonly caused by an unhealthy diet, and eating high levels of saturated fat in particular, as well as smoking.
It is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins and has been traditionally linked to cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease.