Have cholesterol, know your statin

| Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on February 17, 2017


You go to the gym faithfully, and try to watch your diet. But after your annual physical, you find out that your blood cholesterol level is surprisingly high. Your doctor calls you back to discuss taking a medication known as a statin, says the United States Food and Drug Administration, answering some commonly asked questions about cholesterol and statins.

Statins are a class of medicines used to lower cholesterol in the blood. Much of the cholesterol in your blood is made by the liver. Statins work by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver and by helping the liver remove cholesterol already in the blood.

James P. Smith, USFDA Deputy Director, Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology says, “An important first step is to have a discussion with your healthcare provider about your risk of having heart disease or a stroke, how a statin would reduce that risk, and any side-effects that you should consider.”

Your body needs cholesterol, but too much of it in your blood can lead to the build-up on the walls of your arteries what is called “plaque”, putting you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US.

Cholesterol is carried in the bloodstream on particles called lipoproteins. The majority is carried on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, called the “bad” cholesterol, because high LDL particles can lead to heart disease and stroke. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles carry cholesterol back to the liver for removal from the body. Since people with higher HDL-cholesterol tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, this is the “good” cholesterol.

Besides a heart-friendly diet, genetics play a role too here, making the conversation with your doctor on statins that much more important.

Source: USFDA

Published on February 17, 2017
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