Statins for Cholesterol
Statins for cholesterol overview
Statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are effective cholesterol-lowering medications and increase clearance of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Statin use decreases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other arterial diseases that are related to high cholesterol levels in the body. The majority of physicians and researchers support the use of statins but there are some investigators that suggest they may be "overused".
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found in the blood and in all cell membranes; it is also used to form some hormones. It is an integral part of a normal person's body. Cholesterol can be absorbed from food and also synthesized in the liver. High levels of cholesterol in the blood is referred to as hypercholesterolemia. Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for cardiac, stroke, and other diseases because high levels of cholesterol in the blood cause cholesterol to be deposited in arteries, which then forms plaque, and eventually may participate in artery blockage.
Statins are not the only treatments used to lower cholesterol; for example, nicotinic acid, fibric acid, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors are prescribed to lower cholesterol levels.
In addition to medication, risk modifiers to lower cholesterol include the following:
Often, a health care practitioner may ask the patient to try to modify these risks factors for a few months before prescribing the statin medication to see the impact of lifestyle changes on cholesterol, triglyceride, and other levels. Statins do not replace making positive lifestyle changes to lower blood cholesterol levels; they work together in decreasing cholesterol levels and results are usually seen after 4-6 weeks of taking statins.
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