Statins are a group of drugs used to lower cholesterol by interfering with its production in the liver. Statins are relatively safe but are not recommended for pregnant patients and patients with liver disease.
Statins are a group of drugs used to lower cholesterol by interfering with its production in the liver. Statins are relatively safe but are not recommended for pregnant patients and patients with liver disease. As with all other medicines, there are some side effects from taking statins too, but its benefits outweigh the risks for most patients with high cholesterol levels, heart problems, and stroke.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the cells of the body. It is needed for healthy cells and to synthesize hormones, vitamin D, and other substances to digest food. The body produces the cholesterol that it requires, and it is also found in food.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood results in plaque formation (atherosclerosis) in the blood vessels. This plaque sticks to the walls of the blood vessel and results in reduced or no blood flow in the artery. Such plaque formation in the blood vessels of the heart causes reduced blood flow to the heart, which can result in coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke.
The different types of cholesterol are:
The common causes include:
Statins lower the production of cholesterol in the liver. They work by blocking HMG-CoA Reductase, which is an enzyme that the liver uses to produce cholesterol.
The statins that are commercially available are:
The guidelines for the use of statins are:
Most people do not experience any side effects while taking statins. But depending on the patient, it can cause mild to severe side effects. Some of the side effects are as follows:
Common side effects - Constipation, diarrhea, headache, sleep disturbances, dizziness, abdominal cramps, rash, and nausea.
Muscle damage - This medication, if taken in higher doses, can cause muscle breakdown. This causes the release of a protein called myoglobin into the blood, and can seriously damage your kidneys. This condition is called rhabdomyolysis. The chances of this happening increases if you take antifungal drugs, Cyclosporine, Erythromycin, Gemfibrozil, Nefazodone, and Niacin, along with statins.
Liver damage - Statins are contraindicated for patients with chronic liver diseases. Statins can damage your liver and cause symptoms like yellowish discoloration of your skin, dark urine, upper abdominal pain, and your liver enzymes will be elevated.
Myalgia - Myalgia or muscle pain is very common with the use of statins. This can be alleviated by the use of concomitant vitamin D preparations.
Diabetes - The association between statins and diabetes is not conclusively proven, but it is believed to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing the blood sugar level.
Memory problems - In some patients, statins cause confusion and memory problems.
If you notice any of the above side effects, consult your doctor immediately. They might alter the dosage or might prescribe some other statin. The best way to lower your cholesterol is to lead an active lifestyle, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and exercise regularly. If your cholesterol levels are not reduced even after trying this, then your doctor might prescribe statins for you, as they will reduce the risk of you developing any heart problems.
You should never use statins because it can cause more severe side effects like increased blood sugar level; that is, your blood glucose level may slightly rise when you take a statin, leading to type 2 diabetes. The other side effect may include the development of memory problems.
Statins are very bad because they can cause life-threatening muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis. It can lead to severe muscle pain, liver damage, kidney failure, and finally, death.
Statins have no evidence of improving heart attack in patients concluded by researchers all around the world. New research has also revealed that taking a statin for five years after a heart attack extends your life by just four days with side effects like increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, headache, muscle pain, and nausea. Therefore, statins produce more harm than good. Heart attack survivors should instead aim to enhance their health through diet and exercise.
Statins are a drug that helps to reduce cholesterol levels in patients. They are effective, but not without their drawbacks. Various side effects are associated with statins, and these side effects can often stop patients from using the drug. They are:
- Memory loss.
- Mental confusion.
- High blood sugar or type 2 diabetes.
Statins can increase the risk of heart failure, depression and shorten your life span, and instead of prolonging your life, statins will make you age faster. Whereby statins and aging go hand in hand.
There are no evidence-based studies regarding weight loss or weight gain as a side effect of statin. But even though the statin does not itself cause weight gain, they give people a false sense of confidence that they are preserved from heart disease, and this thinking allows them to eat more.
You can stop using statin without tapering the dose, but it is essential to discuss this with your doctor. If you stop the drug due to side effects, your doctor may recommend an alternative drug, a more suitable product to reduce your cholesterol level.
Statins can clear the plaque out of the fat-clogged arteries of the heart. It targets plaque in a way that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Some statins like Atorvastatin (Lipitor), Lovastatin (Mevacor), and Simvastatin (Zocor) can be affected by a chemical compound present in the grapefruit called Furanocoumarin. And fruits like Seville oranges, pomelos, and tangelos also have the same effects as grapefruit on statins.
You should avoid taking vitamin E and C along with statins because they will reduce the effectiveness of the statins.
Statins will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering cholesterol levels in your body. However, statin could lead to difficulty passing bowel movements while aggravating existing digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome.
Ways to lower your cholesterol without statins are:
1. Eating healthy fats.
2. Cutting out sugar and refined carbohydrates.
3. Taking natural cholesterol-lowering supplements.
4. Eating foods rich in fiber.
5. Drinking green tea.
Statins are a group of drugs proven to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. It is one of the best-studied medications proven to reduce heart attacks and strokes, even among individuals with normal cholesterol levels. Statins have additional benefits behind lowering cholesterol levels, like improving the lining of the blood vessels to work better, enhancing the stability of atherosclerotic plaques, and reducing the amount of inflammation and damage done to cells through oxidation.
Despite the increased risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes, the statin is still indicated in many people with diabetes. This is because the reduced risk for stroke and heart attack outweighs the risk of higher blood sugars.
Last reviewed at:
05 Mar 2019 - 3 min read
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