The sad reality of ankylosing spondylitis—a type of arthritis that often affects the spine—is that the condition can shorten your life.
To deal with this, researchers are constantly looking for effective treatment regimen options that not only keep symptoms under control, but allow individuals to have a full and healthy life.
Statins Significantly Lowered All-Cause Mortality Rates
One recent study suggests a key factor for reducing all-cause mortality in those with ankylosing spondylitis may be taking cholesterol-lowering statins.1 The population study matched patients with ankylosing spondylitis who took statins with those who didn’t, then followed them for 5 years.
At the end of the study period, those who took statins had a 37% lower rate of all-cause mortality than the non-statin group. Researchers arrived at this figure after considering other confounding factors like disease duration, body mass index, lifestyle factors, comorbidities, and medication use.
Why Statins Have a Good Effect
Statins have long been used to prevent or treat heart disease in the general population. Experts think this is why they are so helpful for those with inflammatory diseases: Inflammatory conditions tend to cause death earlier not because of the condition itself, but because of the elevated heart risks they cause.
By fighting both inflammation and cholesterol levels, statins can have a dual-action effect on inflammatory conditions like ankylosing spondylitis. Other studies have suggested they can cut mortality risk for those with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis too.
Neither physicians nor patients should assume too much from these findings—more research is needed. Plus, statins can cause serious side effects and may not be right for everyone.
Talk with your doctor about the medications you take if you have questions about their effects on your ankylosing spondylitis and health in general, both short- and long-term.
- Oza A, Lu N, Schoenfeld SR, et al. Survival benefit of statin use in ankylosing spondylitis: a general population-based cohort study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017.