What are statins?

Cholesterol bashing medication

Statins are medications that can lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. LDL is an unhealthy cholesterol which can be very dangerous to have too much of.

There are several different statins available. While they all share the same primary purpose and outcome, they may differ slightly in the side effects they produce, their effectiveness at lowering cholesterol and their cost. Generally, you will pay more for the more potent statins, but these also have the potential to produce the most severe side effects.

When Will You Be Prescribed Statins?

Statins (for example, Pravastatin or Atorvastatin) are often prescribed for people who have high cholesterol levels or who are at risk of having high cholesterol levels. This includes anyone who has diabetes, is at risk of diabetes, anyone who has had a heart attack and anyone suffering from coronary problems. It also includes most people who are obese, as high cholesterol levels typically contribute to that condition.

Your doctor may run tests on you to determine if high cholesterol is actually one of the contributing factors to your condition if you suffer from any of these conditions. It is possible that something other than high cholesterol is to blame, even if the symptoms seem similar.

Statins will not be prescribed for everyone, though. In many cases, statins will only be recommended by a doctor if the patient is unable to engage in a healthier lifestyle, or lifestyle changes are not making a drastic enough difference. Generally, your doctor will first advise that you exercise more and change your diet before they recommend statins. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes can regulate cholesterol levels much better than this family of drugs can.

How to Take Statins

Usually, you will be advised to take the statin once a day. These tablets need to be taken at the same time every day so that your body can get used to working with the statin on a schedule. That helps to regulate the processes in your body and ensure that cholesterol levels will consistently change rather than jump all over the place.

In many cases, you will need to continue statin treatment for the rest of your life. While they can be effective, they do not create permanent effects, and often the problem is so serious when statins are prescribed that they are simply necessary for continued improvement.

If you forget to take a dose of statins, do not try and double your next dose. That can exacerbate the side effects and cause a number of problems. Instead, take the next dose or take the missed dose shortly after it was scheduled, if you remember close to that time.

If you do take more than the recommended dose over a short period, you will likely experience severe side effects. Let your doctor know what has occurred and be sure to follow medical advice in that situation. Overdosing on statins can be very dangerous, and you may need medical care right away to avoid further damage.

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