Statins: How the drug prevents heart attacks and strokes
Statins are a group of medicines that lower the amount of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the body, according to the NHS. There are five different types of statin available on prescription in the UK, including atorvastatin, fluvastatin, and pravastatin. But do statins cause even more harm than good?
Statins are a vital treatment for patients with high cholesterol levels.
Having high cholesterol can be very dangerous, as it causes the arteries to become increasingly narrow.
Blood circulation will subsequently be impacted by having narrows arteries, and it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart disease.
But some patients may develop unwanted side effects by taking statins. What are the side effects?
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What are the side effects?
One of the most common side effects of taking statins is developing muscle pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Patients’ muscles may feel sore, tired and weak, and it can make living your everyday life difficult.
On rarer occasions, patients could develop liver damage as a result of taking statins.
The medicine could cause an increase in the level of enzymes used to signal liver inflammation, it added.
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You should speak to a doctor straight away if you take statins and develop a loss of appetite, dark-coloured urine, or a yellowing of the skin.
All of these symptoms could be a sign of liver damage, and it should be assessed straight away.
Taking statins could also increase your blood sugar levels, although the risk is very small.
High blood sugar increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes; a condition that makes it increasingly difficult to convert sugar in the blood into useable energy.
Not everyone that takes statins will develop side effects, however, although some may be at greater risk than others.
Those most at risk of side effects include people that take a variety of medication for high cholesterol, females, people over 80 years old, and those with a smaller body frame.
If you currently take statins, you should also try and cut back on the amount of grapefruit juice in your diet.
Grapefruit juice contains chemicals that interact with enzymes in the body that are used to break down statins.
Do statins cause more harm than good?
You should speak to a doctor about the side effects of statins before making a decision about your treatment.
While the side effects can be annoying, having lower cholesterol may be worth the agony in the long-term.
Even if you’ve already developed side effects, you shouldn’t just stop taking your medication.
Always speak to a doctor before deciding to change your treatment doses.
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