Statins May Reduce Heart Disease For High LDL Sufferers

Woman taking statin

Heart disease is a major issue that we all need to start seriously considering as we age. There are countless factors that push our bodies towards having problems with heart disease. Diet, heritage, and environmental factors across our lives all build towards helping or hurting our chances. We can do a lot to help minimize our chance of heart disease by making positive health choices that prevent some of the more prominent risk factors like high LDL cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol is commonly known as “bad cholesterol” and high levels of it in the body are strongly associated with heart problems of all sorts. Your best option is to lead a healthy life that focuses on ensuring you’re exercising a healthy amount and eating a healthy diet to prevent LDL levels from getting too high. This isn’t always a luxury we get though due to the potential for heritage or environmental factors complicating matters. That’s where treatment comes into play. Statins are a useful class of medications that could play a role in helping to manage risk factors for heart disease.

How Do They Work?
Statins are, broadly speaking, designed to lower the overall lipid content of the blood. This means they help to prevent levels of unhealthy fats in the blood from getting too high. How they do this is of particular interest. Statins actually interfere with your body’s functions and prevent LDL cholesterol from being able to form. This allows the body to process the LDL cholesterol already in it and gradually restore a healthy balance between good and bad cholesterol. It ends up making it far less likely for plaques and others issues to start forming because the building blocks aren’t around in sufficient amounts. This makes statins perfect for people whose lifestyle isn’t what is motivating a high level of LDL cholesterol. However, statins aren’t a miracle cure that you should reach for immediately. Doctors will start you out with lifestyle modifications first as statins have numerous side effects that can potentially become an all new problem that you need to solve.

Effective Yet Imperfect
This isn’t the sign of the often cited “vast medical conspiracy to keep people sick” that certain sections of the population are all too ready to believe, but simply an admission that most things are imperfect. Statins are highly effective when used properly, but when used improperly without listening to the guidance of a doctor a new problem can easily surface. The way statins work actually appears to cause an increase in the chance that someone will develop diabetes later in life. That’s part of why doctors tend to prescribe statins only once a patient has passed a certain risk threshold. Using them requires lifestyle modifications to minimize the increased risk of diabetes. Similarly, some people prescribed statins have complained about muscle pains during use of such drugs. Both of these risks are relatively low with diabetes being only slightly more likely. A healthy lifestyle combined with statins to reduce cholesterol is more or less safe in most cases.

What To Expect
Being prescribed statins isn’t a sign that your doctor thinks you’re about to fall over from poor cholesterol. It does mean that your doctor believes that you’re in a particular cohort with the exact right risk factors that your cholesterol might become an increasing problem. Talk to your doctor about why they are prescribing the medication if it worries you. Most of the time it will simply be due to age and lifestyle factors make it a good idea that you have a statin. You should expect this to be confirmed with blood work though so that your doctor can confirm their suspicions. Statins may or may not be a long term medication depending on your health history. Most doctors will favor them as a temporary measure to help lower cholesterol where necessary so that better habits and lifestyle changes can make the lower levels more permanent. This helps to minimize the potential for side effects. If you need to stay on them long term, your doctor will talk to you about what to expect and help you deal with any issues that turn up.

Statins are an important treatment option when it comes to keeping LDL cholesterol under control. Maintaining lower levels of “bad cholesterol” while ensuring healthy levels of “good cholesterol” is what helps to provide for your long term health. A lot of the time this can be achieve with a healthy diet and exercise, but sometimes you need a little extra help. Needing that help is nothing to be ashamed or worried about.

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