Statins and Other Lipid-lowering Medicines | Health Print | Patient.co.uk
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Statins and Other Lipid-lowering Medicines
Statin medicines reduce the blood cholesterol level. This helps to prevent heart disease, stroke and related diseases in people at increased risk. Most people are not troubled by side-effects. However, if you take a statin, tell a doctor if you develop unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness (which may be due to a rare, but serious, side-effect).
What are cholesterol, lipids and atheroma?
Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) that is made in the liver, from fatty foods that we eat. A certain amount of cholesterol is present in the bloodstream. You need some cholesterol to keep healthy. Cholesterol is one factor involved in forming atheroma.
Patches of atheroma are like small fatty lumps which develop within the lining of blood vessels (arteries). A patch of atheroma makes an artery narrower, which may reduce the blood flow. A build-up of atheroma can cause heart diseases such as angina and heart attacks, stroke, transient ischaemic attack (TIA) - sometimes called a mini-stroke - and narrowing of the arteries to the legs (peripheral arterial disease).
See separate leaflet called Cholesterol for details.
What are statins and how do they work?
Statins are a group of medicines that are commonly used to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood. They include atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin. They each have different brand names. Statins work by blocking the action of a certain chemical (enzyme) which is needed to make cholesterol.
Who should take a statin?
Your doctor will advise if you should take a statin. A statin is usually advised if: • You have a high cholesterol level (called hyperlipidaemia - see the separate leaflets on Hyperlipidaemia and Familial Hypercholesterolaemia).
• You have an atheroma-related disease. This is a cardiovascular disease such as angina or...
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