Statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, blocks the cholesterol-producing enzyme from the liver, lowering the body’s “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increasing its HDL or good cholesterol level. Statins prevent the formation of plaques in the arteries, and most statins are used to prevent cardiovascular diseases, but they can also have undesirable side effects such as constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain and headaches. Known brands of statins are Atorvastatin, Rosuvastatin, Lovastatin, Simvastatin, Fluvastatin and Pravastatin.
Doctor s may also prescribe bile acid sequestrants, though this type is less potent than other lipid lowering agents. They block the absorption of cholesterol and restrict the re-absorption of bile acids, making the liver more active in bile synthesis and thus lessening its cholesterol synthesis, lowering LDL cholesterol levels by 15-30%. Examples of bile acid sequestrants in the U.S. are Questran, Welchol and Colestid.
If you are hypertensive, your doctor may advise taking Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, Diuretics, Beta-blockers or Calcium channel blockers. However, studies have shown that some beta blockers may increase triglyceride levels and decrease HDL cholesterol level, though these studies are still inconclusive.
For diabetics, statins are recommended to be the best drugs to improve lipid and cholesterol levels, as diabetics are also at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Children with diabetes, too, can take statins. In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended in 2008 that statin may be prescribed to children age 8 and older who have high LDL cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or higher, and children with LDL 160 mg/dL but have a history of heart disease in the family. To this day, the issue of prescribing statins to children is still a topic in the medical community.
Of course, doctors will always recommend a change in one’s lifestyle, both for children and adults who have been diagnosed of unhealthy cholesterol levels and a high risk for cardiovascular diseases. Lifestyle modification may not always be the cheapest way to avoid a high cholesterol level and cardiovascular diseases, but it’s definitely the safest. Those whose only risk factor has been a less- than-commendable lifestyle, they could generally retrieve their cholesterol level and triglyceride level back to normal by:
•Integrating fruits, vegetables, oats, whole grains, good quality fats in you diet
• Exercising regularly (exercises approved by your doctor)
•Maintaining normal body weight
•Minimizing intake of foods with saturated fats
•Getting adequate sleep (7.5 to 10 hours each night is healthy, anything less and more can be harmful)
•Controlling alcohol intake
•Abstaining from smoking
For many people, making making changes will be enough to lower an unhealthy cholesterol level and risk of cardiovascular diseases.