Friday, June 14, 2013

When diet and exercise alone are not enough to reduce cholesterol levels, doctors often prescribe statin medications. Dr. Edward Hill explains more about statins in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

If you have had a heart attack or if you have other types of blockages in your arteries, your doctor will recommend that you lower your bad cholesterol. He or she may also prescribe a statin to help you do so, depending on your LDL level and other factors, including age, family history, and presence of smoking, high blood pressure, overweight or diabetes.

Like most medications, statins can have side effects. These include muscle pain or muscle weakness; nausea, constipation or diarrhea; liver damage; and kidney damage. Recently, researchers have found that for a small number of people, statins are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Research has demonstrated that statins are effective for lowering bad cholesterol. There is some question as to whether taking statins is a good idea for people who have not had a heart attack but are at risk of one because of their high bad cholesterol level.

If your physician recommends taking a statin, talk to him or her about the risks and benefits.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.