Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Approximately 17.9 million people died from heart disease in 2016, representing 31% of all deaths worldwide. Eighty-five percent of them are due to a heart attack and stroke.
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During a heart attack, the heart muscle struggles to get enough blood flow. The more time passes without a recovered stream, the greater the potential damage.
Experts often recommend improving overall physical health and treating other medical conditions as a way of preventing heart attacks and, in general, heart disease. But new studies suggest taking one pill every day, especially if you live in a lower-income country, can also help. In fact, taking one pill a day can even reduce the risk of heart attack by half.
This is according to a study recently published by The Lancet, for which researchers suggested "fixed-dose combination therapy" or "polyps" reducing the severity of heart disease in low-income and middle-income countries. These pills, reported by the New York Times, "contain cholesterol-lowering statin, two blood pressure medications and low-dose aspirin."
Many people cannot afford or refrain from taking so many medicines alone, so doctors think that such a drug can do better. A previous study that tested in India found that it lowered cholesterol and blood pressure. The new study is much larger and provides more serious evidence because it tracks heart attacks, strokes and other problems ̵
Scientists follow nearly 7,000 rural people aged 50-75 in Iran between February 2011 and April 2013 and find that those who regularly take these "polyps" reduce their risk of heart attack by more than half.
After five years, 6% of those in the pill group had a heart attack, stroke or heart failure compared to 9% of the others. This turned out to be a 34% lower risk of polypyl and a 22% lower risk after the researchers considered other cardiac drugs that participants were taking. People who took polyp most faithfully, at least 70% of the time, had even greater reductions in cardiac risk.
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Although research is overwhelming, many medical experts are still wary of the one-on-one drug. In more affluent countries, researchers question whether drugs (particularly aspirin) should be given to healthy, elderly people. Some cardiologists claim that "aspirin, statins, and blood pressure medications all have side effects" and "no one should receive them without first being evaluated for risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history," according to the Times .  The benefits of polyps for dealing with the risk of heart attack may be minimal for people who already have access to good health care.
"But if you are in a system where people do not have much access, this is a significant advantage," says study author Tom Marshall of the University of Birmingham.
Read the full study at thelancet.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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