Are Statins safe and effective for cholesterol management?
High cholesterol is one of the strongest risk factors for the development of cardiac issues and development of stroke. Cholesterol droplets clog in the blood vessels of heart and other organs and impair the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues. If the blockage in the blood vessels is severe enough to impair nutrients to a great extent, organ may get severely damaged.
Who needs strict blood cholesterol management?
It is therefore very important to control blood cholesterol and keep it well under normal reference range, especially in following medical issues:
- Known cardiac history or positive family history of cardiac diseases
- Known diabetic history or positive family history of diabetes
- High blood cholesterol levels or genetically acquired deficiency of Cholesterol metabolism.
- History of smoking or known disease of blood vessels.
- Sedentary lifestyle and low level of physical activity
Statins is the generic name used for the whole class of drugs which are used to control blood cholesterol levels. This drug is prescribed by doctor always and should not be taken by the patient on his own. Taking any medicine belonging to this class of compound not only reduces the cholesterol content from the blood but also helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Usefulness of Statins:
Different research experiments and studies have shown that statins greatly helps in reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood thereby diseasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious health issues. Studies have reported that almost 20 to 25% of deaths occur due to heart diseases and using the right medicine at right time greatly reduces this risk. Statins have been proven to be useful and effective in bringing down cholesterol levels and thus lowering the risks of developing cardiac issues triggered by elevated cholesterol levels.
This medicine is usually recommended to people who are positively at risk to develop heart disease, considering their age, family history, life style habits and after establishing that life style modifications have not proved to be effective in bringing down the cholesterol levels. In order to know that whether you need the medicine or not you need to conduct a simple blood test to check your blood cholesterol level. Cholesterol tests reveal overall cholesterol levels and also give break down between LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), HDL (good choelsterol) and LDL to HDL ratio. If the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood is beyond the normal reference range it would indicate a higher risk for the person to develop serious heart illness in future. In these cases doctors recommend their patients to used Statins. The dose and potency of medicine is also prescribed by the doctors.
Some useful tips for you:
Controlling blood cholesterol levels can minimize the risk by 40% of major health issues that affect the quality of life like heart attack and stroke. Discuss with your physician about other medications you are taking, before commencing on statins. Some medicines may interact with statins, so it is impotant that your doctor knows all the medicines you are taking.
Following additional tips may help you when taking statins:
- If you have been prescribed statins to control cholesterol, it does not mean that you can be less strict about your diet and exercise. You must continue to address cholesterol issue by a combination of diet, exercise and medication. Medication alone may not provide the miracle cure.
- Avoid foods that contain cholesterol or if you have any of the above mentioned risk factors, avoid animal fats (which are sources of bad cholesterol – LDL) and increase the consumption of vegetable fats (contains more percentage of HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) which are considered good for heart.
- Besides diet, continue to be physically active and do moderate exercise
- Carefully monitor your blood cholesterol levels at least once in 3 to 6 months to see how you are responding with the medication.
- Get your liver function tests checked at least once in 6 months as statins are metabolized by liver and may affect liver functioning in the long run.