Our body needs cholesterol to make cells, and important hormones. It is a waxy fat-like substance that is found in the blood. A specific level of cholesterol is required for the body to operate normally, but if that quantity is surpassed, the heart’s capacity to carry out its typical duties may suffer. High cholesterol can have a disastrous impact on the body’s general health in addition to having an adverse effect on how well the heart works.
Uncontrolled cholesterol levels can lead to a variety of health issues, including significant bone loss and gastrointestinal issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to manage the cholesterol level. And in order to achieve this, a doctor can suggest that you take medication and change some of your everyday routines. One of these drugs that can effectively lower your cholesterol levels is statins. They work by preventing a substance that your body needs in order to build cholesterol.
Dr Anil Mishra, Medical Director & Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologist – Cardiology Department, BM Birla Heart Research Centre, Kolkata, discusses the uses of statins as a medication to treat high cholesterol levels as well as the precautions that one needs to consider when using it in this article.
Statins For High Cholesterol
Statins have other advantages than lowering cholesterol. A lower risk of heart disease and stroke has also been associated with these drugs. Statins can reduce the risk of certain blood clots and assist in stabilising the plaques on blood vessel walls.
Dr Anil Mishra says, “A significant risk factor for angina, heart attacks, and brain strokes has been a sign of high cholesterol. We are aware that cholesterol is crucial in the formation of blockages. There are various ways to lower cholesterol in the arteries of the heart and the brain. Naturally, a healthy lifestyle and eating habits may be highly beneficial in decreasing cholesterol. However, they only contribute to a 15 20% reduction in blood cholesterol levels. Statins, a specialized type of drug that is now widely available and very effective, can drastically lower your cholesterol levels quickly. Those with high-risk factors, especially those with a history of heart attacks, diabetes, or brain strokes, or TIAs as we like to call them; if they have diabetes or any of the other major risk factors, should always be thinking about lowering their cholesterol levels to below 70 milligrams of LDL, the bad cholesterol, and below 100 milligrams if they don’t. Diet can only reduce cholesterol levels to a certain level, but a healthy combination of lifestyle changes and statins can reduce cholesterol levels by 70 to 80%.”
Side Effects of Statins For High Cholesterol
As per Dr Mishra, the miraculous medicine of the past two decades has been statins, which not only drastically lower cholesterol levels by preventing the body from producing cholesterol but also have been found to have a number of pleiotropic effects that lower the risk of heart attacks. The usage of statin medications has improved cardiovascular and stroke outcomes. Only a very small percentage of patients experience any side effects, which may include:
- Muscle aches
- Muscles cramps
- Occasionally nausea
- Diarrhoea, and
- Very rarely liver enzyme dysfunctions
“These side effects may frequently be controlled, if not completely reversed, by quitting the cholesterol tick drooling medication. I believe that in order to safeguard the future, everyone with diabetes, angioplasty bypass surgery, or ischemic heart disease should be taking these medications unless they are intolerable,” said Dr Mishra.
Important: Your cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular (cardiovascular) disease risk factors will determine whether you need to take a statin. Before recommending a statin, your doctor will take into account all of your risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, before using statins to lower your cholesterol levels, make sure to talk to a doctor.
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