The Effectiveness of Statins on High Cholesterol
Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) are a class of drugs that are effective at lowering blood cholesterol levels by blocking the enzyme in the liver that produces cholesterol. Blocking that enzyme helps reduce and prevent the formation of cholesterol in your body.
When they're working correctly, statins lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Currently available statin medications include Zocor, Lescol, Lipitor, Pravachol, Mevacor and Crestor.
Statins are safe for most people, but as with all medications, there can be some side effects, including muscle problems and liver abnormalities. Pregnant women or people with active or chronic liver disease should not take statins.
Elevated LDL cholesterol levels in your body can lead to heart disease. While cholesterol is necessary for your body to make hormones, digest dietary fats and build cell walls, too much of it can block the walls of your arteries with plaque, causing a narrowing of the coronary arteries and leading to heart disease.
When diagnosed with high cholesterol, the first thing a doctor recommends is a change in diet and an increase in physical activity. Simply reducing your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, combined with exercise and weight control, can often reduce the cholesterol levels in your body. When diet and exercise are not enough, the first medicine typically prescribed is statin medication.