Statins are one of the most prescribed medications in the world. Not only are they so popular, but they are also very controversial too! Around 35 million people use Statin in the United States.
Statin is also one of the most studied medicines in medical history. More than 40 trials have been conducted to test the benefits of Statins. And they have proven that Statin helps to reduce heart attacks in high-risk patients.
A look At How Statin Drugs Protect The Heart
Statins are special types of drugs used to control cholesterol levels in the blood. They are otherwise known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors. Some of the Statin medications can reduce your bad cholesterol aka LDL levels by 50%.
There are various types of Statin drugs. Some of them are Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, Pitavastatin, Rosuvastatin, etc.
Statins can reduce your LDL (Low-Density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol and in turn increase the amount of HDL (High-Density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol in your body. Do you know why LDL is bad? Because they can build up as plaques inside your arteries.
What does good cholesterol do? HDL or good cholesterol brings cholesterol to your liver where it is expelled out of the body.
Do you know what the benefits of Statins are? They include: lowering the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and even death. But then what is the current debate about Statins? I mean why are cardiologists against administering Statin? The current debate and controversy are centered around two factors:
- Who should receive Statins?
- How serious are the side effects of Statins?
According to cardiologists, Statins should be prescribed to people who are at higher risk of heart attacks. And they point out that there is a trend in the US to prescribe medicine to lower-risk heart patients which can do more bad than good.
What Are Some Of The Side Effects Of Statin?
Well, all medicines will have some side effects. So if you have any of the following side effects on taking Statin consult with your physician immediately. Some of the common side effects of Statin are:
- Muscle Pain
- Sleep Problems
And Some Uncommon Side Effects Include:
- Memory problems
- Liver inflammation
- Pancreas inflammation
- Hair loss
- Sexual dysfunction
Some Of The Rare Side Effects Include:
- Myopathy or muscle weakness
- Peripheral neuropathy or loss of sensation on the tip of hands or feet
- Tendon issues
Overuse Of Statin Drugs
According to many cardiologists, there is a trend of oversharing Statin drugs even for mild cases. This can cause negative effects on patients. So cardiologists advise against administering Statin drugs indiscriminately. For them, science and medicine are not black-and-white spectrums. There are some gray areas in between.
The major concern of these doctors against Statin intake is that the patients after taking these pills think now nothing has to be done anymore. So these patients indulge in mindless eating or unhealthy habits. They think that Statin will take care of everything.
Many cardiologists have pointed out that there is not much data that proves Statin has saved lives. They even argue that overdosing on Statin can increase Type 2 Diabetes. For them, there is a 1 in 200 risks of getting Diabetes.
Along with this, the alarming news is that if 100 high-risk people start to take Statin for 5 years 98.2, they will not see any clear benefits. Also, they will have some real side effects too.
So according to these doctors, a shift from pills to lifestyle is necessary. Doctors suggest that only patients who are of high-risk cardiovascular threat have to take Statins. The remaining patients need to bring more changes in their lifestyle habits. They should:
- Make sure their diet is healthy
- Eat less processed foods
- Cut sugar
- Minimize low-quality carbs
- Spend at least 30 minutes a day for exercise such as walking