Cholesterol is an essential substance that is found in cells all over the body and is important for maintaining their structure. However, too much cholesterol can have quite severe impacts on your health. This is because a certain type of cholesterol – LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol – tends to accumulate on the walls of arteries. This clogs these arteries up, making it harder for the heart to pump blood through them. This can result in damage to the heart, heart attack, stroke, and death.
For people who suffer from particularly high amounts of LDL cholesterol in their blood, it is sometimes necessary to treat it with medicine. One of the most widely-used medicines for treating high cholesterol is a type called Statins. For years, statins have contributed billions to the US pharmaceutical industry. Lipitor – probably most popular one – became the best-selling pharmaceutical in history in 2003.
Statins work by reducing the production of cholesterol in the liver. The liver, as well as the intestines, is where the body produces most of its own cholesterol – around 80%, according to Harvard Medical School. The remaining 20% is from food. Statins stop the liver from producing cholesterol by blocking the activity of a certain enzyme known as HMG-CoA reductase. Therefore, statins are sometimes known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. By reducing the amount of cholesterol that the liver produces, statins can lead to a decrease in LDL levels in the blood, which may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Generally, statins are considered safe to take and are well-tolerated. They should not be taken by people who are pregnant, are breastfeeding or have liver disease. Some side effects may include muscle pain, muscle weakness, and vomiting. Some more serious side effects may occur, though these are rare. Statins may cause rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle cells break down. In addition, liver damage may occur. Even common side-effects of statins should be reported to the doctor, just in case they signal more serious side-effects. Some people may also suffer allergic reactions to some statins, so it is always best to consult a doctor before taking them. More information can be found by clicking here, as well as on individual statin websites such as Lipitor.
Featured Image: Depositphotos/© rogerashfordPosted on May 5, 2023