(HealthDay News) – For patients with dyslipidemia, the combination of statin treatment and increased fitness results in substantially lower mortality risk than either alone, according to a study published online Nov. 28 in The Lancet.
Peter F. Kokkinos, PhD, from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 10,043 veterans with dyslipidemia (mean age, 58.8 years) who had undergone an exercise tolerance test between 1986–2011. Based on peak metabolic equivalents (MET) during the exercise test, participants were assigned to one of four fitness categories. They were then further classified into eight categories based on statin treatment and fitness status.
During a median follow-up of 10 years, the researchers found that 2,318 patients died, with an average yearly mortality rate of 22 deaths per 1,000 person-years. In people taking statins, the mortality risk was significantly lower (18.5%) than for those not taking statins (27.7%). For patients taking statins, as fitness increased, the mortality risk decreased, with a hazard ratio of 0.3 for highly fit individuals (>9 MET) vs. the least fit participants (≤5 MET). For participants not taking statins, the hazard ratio decreased with increasing fitness, from 1.35 for the least fit to 0.53 for those in the highest fitness category.
“Statin treatment and increased fitness are independently associated with low mortality among dyslipidemic individuals,” the authors write. “The combination of statin treatment and increased fitness resulted in substantially lower mortality risk than either alone, reinforcing the importance of physical activity for individuals with dyslipidemia.”