One of the widely prescribed drugs for reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke is the Statin Drugs. They have been hailed by several doctors, with some even going as far as suggesting them to be added to the water supply. But do they really live up to their promise? In this article find out all about Statin Drug – Does it Really Work in Preventing Heart Attacks?


What are Statin Drugs?

They are a class of drugs that lower the levels of LDL or the so-called bad cholesterol that tend to cause a blockage in the arteries. They inhibit the biochemical pathway that the liver uses to make cholesterol so that it doesn’t make much.

It is the most prescribed medication for lowering cholesterol, making it the most profitable drugs in the market now. Various types of statins are available, but they all work similarly.

The Cholesterol Check

 

Cholesterol is misconceived as the villain. But, this wax-like substance is naturally made by the body and it actually aids hormone synthesis, vitamin D production, cell growth, and brain development. 70% of the cholesterol is made by the body, while the rest comes from the food you eat.

With the current cholesterol obsession, we are all focused on the numbers and try to equate that with good health. However, that is not the only cause of arterial plaque deposits. Plaques are also made of fat and calcium. Homocysteine, a by-product of metabolism and inflammation that is a function of oxidative stress are bigger issues that need more focus.



Adverse Effects of Statins


There is a big debate amongst scientists and physicians on the real effects of Statins. There are concerns that its benefits have been exaggerated and side-effects underplayed. In fact, the editors at two top medical journals in the UK are at a war over the predominant usage of Statin drugs. Some side effects of Statins include the following:

 

  • Muscle Pain or Rhabdomyolysis is a serious condition in which the cells of muscles become damaged
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea, Constipation
  • Joint Pain
  • Liver damage
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Kidney Damage


They should not be taken during pregnancy, breastfeeding or if you have any liver diseases. Certain medications should also not be combined. Also, grapefruit or grapefruit juice should not be consumed along with them as it can greatly interfere with enzymes that metabolize statins.


Are Statins good or bad for you?


The big division when it comes to the use of Statin drugs leave the patients in a dilemma whether to have it or not. Truly speaking, a pill a day is not really going to keep the doctor away. When a doctor is prescribing Statins it should be done only after considering all the risk factors and also discussing its potential side effects.

If you have had a heart attack, stroke or suffer from cardiovascular conditions arising from clogged-arteries, then you can consider Statins. But if you experience any side effects, don’t stress about stopping them. There are a lot of more effective things you can do apart from popping a so-called wonder pill.

With regards to healthy people who have prescribed Statins because they have been deemed to be under risk of future cardiovascular ailments, the raw data on the effectiveness of Statin drugs is really unclear. It is not something that increases mortality rates or causes a drastic improvement.

Consider making lifestyle changes instead – Smoking/alcohol cessation, a healthy diet, aerobic exercises and being physically fit are far more important health mantras.

Also, be aware that taking statins is often a lifelong commitment. As it just manages a symptom and not the root cause of heart diseases, if you stop the medication, the cholesterol levels are likely to go back. However, if you make significant lifestyle changes, you can get off the medication.


Technology vs Holistic View


Underlying the statin wars are two different worlds. The technological view is overly dependent on drugs to prevent health issues.  Also, a strong vested interest exists in over drug prescription as more money is made in prescription than in lifestyle changes. As opposed to this, is the holistic world which stresses more on a healthy lifestyle to keep diseases at bay.

The Verdict


The decision whether to take Statin drugs or not should be based on your overall risk factors, what other treatments you have tried and how healthy your diet and lifestyle is. If you eat right, exercise well and manage stress then you have done more to protect your arteries than any drug can ever accomplish.

So try and embrace healthy diet and lifestyle for a medicine-free life.

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