Statins are a hot topic in the news. Age-net finds out what they’re all about
If you’re not the healthiest of eaters, then pay close attention to this before your doctor has to tell you you’re being prescribed Statins. When that happens, you’re medicated for life. There’s no two ways about it. Those of you reading this who have been there, and living proof of the consequences, know exactly what we’re talking about.
That word is tossed around like a boomerang, yet, McDonalds are still in business.
Even more of a shock to your system is when you find you need to take medication every day for the rest of your life.
What are Statins in the First Place?
Statins are prescribed in pill form, alongside a useful lecture on dietary improvements, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and can pretty much feel like you’re being told to stop enjoying your life, to take it seriously and throw yourself into a fitness program.
Everything you hear about living a healthy lifestyle that was a choice before, after the doctor’s appointment and the prescription for Statins, you no longer have the choice.
Lifestyle improvements are mandatory, and it’s all because of cholesterol.
The two types of cholesterol and why Statins have a significant role in your life longevity
You may know this, but in case you don’t, you need cholesterol in your body. There’s two types. Most people know them as good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Not everyone knows exactly what the differences are and how to control the intake of them in their diet. (Otherwise, nutritionists would be out of a job)
Good cholesterol, in scientific terms is called high-density lipoprotein. Lipoprotein is fat, given the name because fat molecules are called lipids. The key part that can help you remember what lipoprotein is is the first part of the word. Not everyone knows what (lipo) protein is when it’s mentioned as one word, but break it down into two and you’ll probably remember it easily. Replace the protein part with the word suction.
(Lipo) suction – Need we say more?
Lipids are fat but the high-density lipoprotein is good. This type of fat helps protect your heart. Low-density lipoprotein is the opposite. That puts you at risk of heart disease.
One of the major types of fat in your body is steroids. The steroid molecule creates hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The stuff that helps make babies. If it weren’t those, you wouldn’t have your family and grandkids.
However, when you get too much of that, it spells trouble! That’s an excess and it can block arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
Statins prevent that from happening.
They’re used to reduce the production of those molecules in your liver, preventing your body from having an excess amount of bad fat floating around your blood vessels, putting your life at risk.
When you have a high level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, you’re at risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s the most common cause of UK deaths.
Among other reasons you can be prescribed the medication is
- Coronary heart disease
- Being considered at risk of a heart attack or stroke
It’s not always the case that you have any health conditions, as the medication can be provided, if your doctor feels that your medical history warrants the precautionary measure. Usually if there’s a family history of heart disease, and it’s believed that you could be at risk within the next ten years.
They can be prescribed as a precaution.
Once you’re prescribed them, you’re on them for life, and you will be given advice, and often support and guidance towards a lifestyle change.
The tablets only need to be taken once a day, and that’s usually at night when you’re going to bed. It’s not the end of the world if you miss one, but you can’t keep on forgetting to take them.
Because of the significant role they play in fighting bad cholesterol, and keeping your bloodstream flowing through your arteries, preventing blockages that can be severely dangerous, you cannot stop taking them. If you do, the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol will return and you’ll be at risk. It can happen in only a few short weeks after stopping to take the medication, so you can never stop abruptly.
What if you don’t want to take Statins for the rest of your life?
Your doctor can only advise you. Nobody can force pills down your throat, but you need to be open with your doctor about any concerns you have.
If you don’t feel you need or you just don’t want to be on medication for the rest of your life, then there are other options. Asides from various other cholesterol-lowering medications your doctor can discuss with you, sometimes depending on your lifestyle, you might be able to get things under control naturally.
For example, if you’re a heavy smoker, there’s a higher risk of heart disease. If you binge eat on junk food, cutting that out or down will lower your cholesterol. So too can being more active, and altering your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids may improve cholesterol, but there aren’t any revelations to prove whether it does or not. It’s only a plausible possibility, but nothing set in concrete. As Omega 3 fatty acids are generally believed to be good for your overall health, there’s no harm in adding them into your diet.
Besides your doctor, there will be two services highly beneficial for you. A personal trainer, just for a consultation to see how they might be able to help you, and a nutritionist to advise you on getting a good amount of nutrition into your diet everyday to control you calorie consumption and lower the fatty foods you eat.
Your Diet is one of the most important Changes you can make.
If you’re having blood tests done at the moment and feel there may be something to worry about, then be prepared for the cholesterol issue. If your doctor advises Statins, they are talking about this medication.
It’s not dangerous, has very few side effects, and rarely anything severe, but most importantly, there may be lifestyle changes you can make that will help lower your cholesterol naturally.
Your doctor is there to advise you, but they need factual information to do that. Be honest with him or her about your situation. If you binge out on Doritos, and muffins every day, while smoking 40 cigarettes, and drinking 2 bottles of wine at the weekend, they need to know. There’s no point in saying you only smoke five a day, so you aren’t judged.
Doctors are not there to judge you. They are there to ensure you are healthy and do what they can to keep you that way. That can involve prescribing Statins, or it can involve a number of changes to your lifestyle to lower the amount of bad cholesterol your liver produces, and prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease.
If you only read this out of curiosity – consider it fate and make a lifestyle change for the better, before LDL cholesterol takes its grip.