Statins are a class of cholesterol reducing drugs. They work by interfering with the liver enzyme that is required for cholesterol synthesis. Thus reducing the production of cholesterol in the body and hence wins in lowering the blood cholesterol levels. If taking statins was the only best solution then why people still have high cholesterol? People think that high cholesterol level leads to cardiovascular disease, so if this is true then why statins are not helping to lower their cholesterol and thus reduce their chances of getting any heart disease at the first place?
What do we know about statins?
Statins are the drugs used to lower high cholesterol levels in the blood. By doing so, they help in decreasing the low density lipoprotein i.e. LDL by 20 to 40% approximately. This reduction in turn helps in significantly lowering the risk of heart attacks, ischemic stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
Is there any side effects of statins?
Statins are associated with few side effects. It interferes with our memory and makes one feel extreme fatigued. It also increases the risk of diabetes. It is seen that it reduces the fitness by 13% on an average in an individual. Statins have severe side effects on our muscles. It damages the muscles and causes a condition known as rhabdomyolysis, which can result in death. It causes muscle inflammation and pain in the muscles called as myositis. So the more the statin intake , the more the muscular damage is seen.
Who should take statins?
Physicians recommend statins even to healthy individuals who just have higher levels of cholesterol and no other disease. This is actually harmful for them because statins are not effective as such in lowering the cholesterol levels and its has few major side effects as well. But for a patient who has history of surgeries and other heart related issues, if they have high cholesterol then it's still okay for them to have statins but at a lower dose because in that case they help a little in lowering the cholesterol but that too not efficiently.
How long one should take statins?
If a heart patient is willing to change his lifestyle and diet then for such kind of people statin intake will vary from one year to five years depending on their cholesterol levels. But if the patient is not willing to change his lifestyle and diet then for such kind of people statins should be taken lifelong. Similar is the case with an healthy individual. It's better to change the diet instead of taking medications for life long which has severe adverse effects. Plant based nutrition dense diet is rich in fiber, healthy essential fats, proteins and free of cholesterol which helps in lowering the cholesterol effectively.
Take home message