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Anyone over 50 could potentially qualify for statin treatment

A new report suggests that statin treatment can benefit even health people Photo: ITV News

Should everyone over 50, even those that are fit & healthy, be given statins to reduce the risk of a heart attack?

A recent study showed that the drug lowers levels of cholesterol and cuts the risk of a heart attack or stroke by a fifth.

Statins are already a widely used treatment for people who already have - or are at a high risk of - heart and circulatory disease, and generally they don't generally have serious side effects.

The research involved over 175,000 people and divided them into groups according to their risk of heart attack.

In a group of 1000 people at "high risk", 39 deaths were avoided.

But what the research found was that statins work even for people at low risk, that's almost everyone aged over 50.

However experts warn that what is equally important is a balanced lifestyle, healthy eating & exercise, to help prevent heart disease.

But what the British Heart Foundation also say is worrying is that a third of people who are prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication, fail to take it, putting themselves in danger.

Despite the research it's unlikely you'll get a flurry of over 50s demanding statins, but NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) are considering whether prescribing them more widely would be worthwhile.