Lowering Bad Cholesterol with Statins

The World Health Organizations reports that cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death in the world, and not only the elderly people are at risk, even young men and women who are barely 30 can suffer from a stroke and myocardial infarction. Increased blood cholesterol is the first sign signaling about possible problems with the heart and blood vessels, that is why it is so important to monitor the levels of cholesterol to prevent future health problems. As of today, the most effective cholesterol-lowering medicines are statins; however, doctors and researchers are still arguing about the benefits and harms of these preparations. Detailed information on particular statins can be found on http://www.drugs-med.com.

So how do statins work?  There are two types of cholesterol in the human body – high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) and low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). HDLs capture the molecules of LDL and transport them to the liver where they are processed and removed from the body. It is not exactly correct to divide cholesterol into the good and the bad one – each type has its own functions required for the health of the body. However, this differentiation appeared due to the association between increased risk of cardiovascular disorders and high cholesterol levels – low-density lipoproteins get accumulated on the vascular walls and form atherosclerotic plaques. About 80% of cholesterol is synthesized in the liver and the rest 20% comes with food. Statins interfere with the work of the liver by inhibiting the action of an enzyme responsible for cholesterol production and by doing so they reduce the level of low-density lipoproteins. Another beneficial effect of these preparations includes their ability to reduce inflammation of the vessels and slow down the growth of atherosclerotic plaques.

The discovery of statins in 1970s was a breakthrough for the cardiologic branch of medicine. Nowadays, there are different types of statins; they differ in efficiency, the main active ingredients and risk of adverse reactions. How to take drugs correctlydepends on the state of the health and concomitant diseases of the patient and should be decided only by a doctor. Statins can be administered in the following situations:

  • To prevent myocardial infarction and stroke in people with cardiovascular problems
  • To shorten rehabilitation period in patients after myocardial infarction
  • In diabetic patients with high cardiovascular risks
  • After a cardiac surgery
  • As a part of hypertension treatment in diabetic and in hypercholesterolemic patients
  • For the prevention, treatment and control of atherosclerosis

When used properly, statins can save lives and help restore health. However, there is no absolutely safe medication, that is why it is very important to thoroughly follow the instructions provided by a doctor. Rare but serious adverse reactions of statins include:

  • Liver damage
  • Increased blood sugar that can lead to type 2 diabetes
  • Muscle pain (weakness, tiredness or soreness) and damage
  • Neurological reactions – confusion or memory loss

The risk factors for adverse reactions include:

  • Being female
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Having liver or kidney disease
  • Taking multiple medications to decrease cholesterol levels
  • Age 65 and older