Helpful Cholesterol Medications
Since high cholesterol affects a large portion of the American population, it is no surprise that there is a plethora of medications available for those who wish to lower their LDL levels (or increase their HDL levels). First, lifestyle changes should be attempted; every medication comes with side effects. The more we avoid medications, the better off we are in the long run. This is particularly important for patients with a low or medium risk of heart disease. If you are in need of medication, though, there are many options for you. For medium high risk individuals, certain tests are in order. Heart Disease.About.com references the tests needed, “Methods that have been used to further characterize risk include cardiac calcium scans, and measuring CRP levels. In particular, the JUPITER trial suggests that CRP levels may be important in selecting patients who will have better outcomes with statin therapy.”
Most people opt for what are called “Statins.” These medications “work by blocking the effects of an enzyme that helps make cholesterol. They can lower bad LDL cholesterol by an impressive 20-55%”( http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/high-cholesterol-treatment-what-works?page=2). Much like most medications, statins are complementary to changes in a person’s diet and lifestyle.
Statin therapy is used for high-risk patients, too. The tests needed for this treatment are also referenced on Heart Disease.About.com, “In particular, these are patients with known coronary artery diseaseplus several poorly-controlled cardiac risk factors (especially ongoing tobacco use), or acute coronary syndrome. Evidence suggests that these patients should be treated with intensive statin therapy sufficient to reduce their LDL cholesterol levels to below 70 mg/dl.”
In “High Cholesterol Treatment” by R. Morgan Griffin on WebMD notes other medications, however. “Although they tend to be overshadowed by statins, other medicines are also important high cholesterol treatments instead of, or in addition to, statins.” Some of these medications are: bile acid resins, which stops the cholesterol from being absorbed in the body’s system. Another medication is ezetimbie, which also “blocks some of the cholesterol from being absorbed,” and there are fibric acid medications, which “reduce your triglycerides and may give a mild boost to your HDL.” In addition, there is Niacin, and combinations of these medications.
Whatever you choose as your treatment path, you must stay in touch with your doctors or physicians and let them know how you are feeling. These medications have side effects and it is possible for you to have a strong reaction to one or all of them; there are ways to deal with that, but you must communicate clearly with your physicians, who would be happy to help you. Statin therapy may seem like the most common of medication, but there are lots of medications out there!
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