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What You Need To Know If You're Taking Statins To Lower Your Cholesterol

Aug 29, 2019
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High cholesterol can harm your heart. But drastically reducing your levels isn't the answer, either, new research from Israel suggests.

In the study, people taking cholesterol-lowering statins who had low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels between 70 and 100 mg/dL were significantly less likely to experience a heart issue like a heart attack or angina than people with levels between 100 and 130 mg/dL were.

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MORE:4 Foods That Can Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol

Statins work by blocking an enzyme in your body that produces cholesterol. Too much of the sticky substance can build up in your arteries and form plaques, which can cause blockages that lead to heart attacks.

The meds also have an anti-inflammatory effect on your blood vessels, which can reduce incidence of plaque and improve heart muscle function. That helps lower heart risk, says lead study author Morton Leibowitz, MD.

MORE:What Your Blood Pressure Levels Really Mean

And it's likely these anti-inflammatory effects kick in at dosages below what's necessary to bring your cholesterol down to superlow levels. That's why lowering your cholesterol beyond that 70 mg/dL mark may not offer you any additional protection.

What's more, higher dosages of statins are often needed to lower your cholesterol into that superlow range. And with high dosages come increased risk of side effects like severe muscle pain, liver damage, and kidney failure. The FDA has also noted that statins may raise blood sugar levels, which could increase the risk of diabetes.

MORE:5 Surprising Habits That May Raise Your Risk Of Diabetes

Keeping your LDL levels below 100 mg/dL is a good benchmark to shoot for, says Timothy Byrne, MD, executive director of cardiac services at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital. 

Still, there are a lot of other factors that come into play when determining an ideal level, he says. These include risk factors like tobacco use or diabetes, your HDL ("good") cholesterol levels, and your ratio of LDL to HDL.

So when your doctor prescribes you statins, talk with him or her about what level would work best for your situation.






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Date: 29.11.2018, 12:10 / Views: 72583