Statins: How the drug prevents heart attacks and strokes
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is often branded the “bad” cholesterol because it gums up the inside of your arteries, thereby raising your risk of having a heart attack. Any intervention that obstructs this process is therefore to be welcomed.
Statins are not entirely benign, however. There are numerous side effects reported in statin users, which vary in terms of their severity.
On the extreme end of the spectrum is rhabdomyolysis – a very rare, life-threatening form of muscle damage.
“Rhabdomyolysis can cause severe muscle pain, liver damage, kidney failure and death,” warns the Mayo Clinic.
It is worth noting that the “risk of very serious side effects is extremely low, and calculated in a few cases per million people taking statins”, notes the health body.
“Rhabdomyolysis can occur when you take statins in combination with certain drugs or if you take a high dose of statins.”
It is important to stress that many people who take statins experience no or very few side effects.
“Your doctor should discuss the risks and benefits of taking statins if they’re offered to you,” says the NHS.
The risks of any side effects also have to be balanced against the benefits of preventing serious problems.
Bradley Walsh ‘ticking time bomb’ health – warned by doctors [INSIGHT]
High cholesterol: Doctor recommend five food and drink [TIPS]
Omicron variant: The ‘surprise’ sign appearing when eating [ADVICE]
A review of scientific studies into the effectiveness of statins found around one in every 50 people who take the medicine for five years will avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.
The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine you’re taking.
It’s run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Natural ways to lower high cholesterol
Taking statins is not always the first resort – lifestyle changes can also deal a decisive blow to high levels.
There are several foods which are not just part of a healthy diet, they can actively help to lower your cholesterol too.
“Cutting down on saturated fat and replacing some of it with unsaturated fats is a great way to lower your cholesterol,” advises cholesterol charity Heart UK.
Unsaturated fat is found in:
- Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- Avocado, nuts and seeds
- Fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
- Oily fish.
“Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats,” explains Heart UK.
Exercise is also key to lowering high cholesterol levels, and the more you do, the better.
UK health guidelines advise that adults aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of intense activity every week. If you can do more that’s even better.
Moderate intensity activity means you get your heart rate up and you’re breathing harder, but you shouldn’t be out of breath.
Walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and dancing are all good choices.
Source: Read Full Article