Are Statins Really Worth Taking for High Cholesterol? (2023)

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Research has shown that statins are highly effective in reducing the risk of fatal heart attack and stroke. But some people are reluctant to take these life-saving drugs. They worry about taking medicine every day for the rest of their life or have heard that statins have undesirable side effects. What does science have to say about these concerns and others surrounding statins? We talked to UH interventional cardiologist Ian Neeland, MD, Director of the Center of Cardiovascular Prevention at University Hospitals, to learn more.

Transcript

Macie Jepson

High cholesterol. You know, I always figured I would eventually get it. And then I would officially say that I'm old.

Pete Kenworthy

Yeah. Well, I'm not that old. And I do have high cholesterol. I've had high cholesterol for years, actually. And we both know it's not really all about age, right? I mean, genetics play a big part in high cholesterol, too. Now, I want it to be lower, but I'm also not sure I want to be on medication the rest of my life. Hi, I’m Pete Kenworthy.

Macie Jepson

And I’m Macie Jepson. And this is Healthy@UH. You know, it's interesting. I found some things about this medication. Before we continue talking about it, we should mention, though, that we are on Zoom for this podcast. We're trying our best to stay safe and away from each other. So, bear with us if the quality is a little Zoom-ish. There's a lot of information out there that would make people want to shy away from statins. I've heard they affect memory, muscles, even your chances of getting diabetes. These are commonly prescribed medications, but the more I looked into it, I wondered if they really should be. Joining us today is Dr. Ian Neeland. He is the Director for the Center of Cardiovascular Prevention at University Hospitals. First, thanks for joining us, Dr. Neeland.

Dr. Ian Neeland

Thank you for having me.

Macie Jepson

Let's talk about what cholesterol is exactly. I mean, we all have it. What purpose does it serve in our bodies?

(Video) Healthy@UH Podcast - Are Statins Really Worth Taking for High Cholesterol?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Well, cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance that helps your body make cell membranes, many hormones and vitamin D. So, it's a very important component of the body's metabolism. And the cholesterol in your blood comes from two sources: the foods you eat and your liver. Your liver actually makes all the cholesterol your body needs. So, any excess cholesterol you get in your diet is on top of what your needs really are. Now, cholesterol and other fats are carried in your bloodstream as round particles called lipoproteins. And the two most commonly known lipoproteins are low density lipoproteins or LDL and high density lipoproteins or HDL. Now, you may have heard of these terms. LDL or bad cholesterol to contribute to the formation of plaque buildup in the arteries. That's called atherosclerosis. And this is linked to higher risk for heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, HDL stands for high density lipoprotein, and that's considered a good cholesterol. Now, HDL levels should be around 50 milligrams per deciliter in an individual, but you can raise your HDL by several means, including exercising for at least 30 minutes five times a week, quitting smoking, avoiding saturated fats and losing weight.

Pete Kenworthy

So, the big concern, I presume, is the LDL, right?

Dr. Ian Neeland

That's correct.

Pete Kenworthy

Right. So, there are medications out there that can lower our LDL or bad cholesterol sometimes by 50 percent. Right? So, I guess the question is, why wouldn't we take these medications? I heard one of your presentations that an Internet search of statin myths turned up 30 million results online. So, before we break down some of those myths, I guess the first question is why is there so much negativity about them?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Well, you know, I think there's a lot of misinformation out there on the Internet. And people are really confused about what's true, what's a myth. And then they don't necessarily speak to their doctors about these questions all the time. So, I think that it's really important to get the facts straight. Now, I do think there is, you know, generally a low desire to take medications long-term in most people. And also, I've heard, you know, because the medicine doesn't make you feel any differently, why should I take it? Many people have that myth. And the other thing is that a lot of people think that once your cholesterol is better on a statin that you can stop taking the statin. Unfortunately, what happens is your cholesterol will go right back to where it was previously in many situations. And you know, you’re no better from where you first started.

Macie Jepson

And perhaps the biggest myth of all is that they don't even work in the first place when it comes to preventing heart attacks. So, obviously, Doctor, you disagree. But what is the science behind that disagreement?

(Video) Study Confirms What Many Patients Taking Statins Have Said for Years | NBC Nightly News

Dr. Ian Neeland

Yeah. So, that’s definitely myth number one. We do know over decades of research that statins and other lipid lowering therapies are very effective in reducing the risk for major vascular events, such as death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, which is heart attack, stroke, or needing a coronary stent or bypass surgery. We have data now from over 20 statin trials of over 135,000 patients that show that statins compared with placebo or no medication result in a 23 percent reduction in heart attacks, 17 percent reduction in fatal or non-fatal stroke, 19 percent reduction in death from cardiovascular causes and a 12 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. So, they definitely work. They're definitely effective for heart disease and death. And those are data that have been around forever. And I think that myth should definitely be dispelled.

Pete Kenworthy

So, it sounds like someone with higher cholesterol, for example, my cholesterol is around 220, 230. That's considered high. It sounds like people should just take statins then, but my guess is there are people who should avoid statins, who shouldn’t take statins. Right? So, you know, there's a lot of other stuff out there, right? Like statins cause dementia, or maybe people with a family history of dementia should avoid taking statins. Are there people who shouldn't be, who have high cholesterol and then who shouldn't be taking statins?

Dr. Ian Neeland

You know, certainly if you're allergic to the statin or the components of the statin medication, that will be a situation which you would want to choose an alternative medication. You mentioned about memory or dementia. Well, you know, the truth is that memory issues tend to occur in the same age group in people that take statins. So, it's really difficult to know if it's the statin or it's other factors. The initial concerns about dementia came from self reports to the Food and Drug Administration, but it turned out that many reports where people who took the drug for really one day only. So, it's unlikely that drug had had any effect whatsoever. And we do know that we have more reliable data that come from other studies, including over 20,000 people taking statins. And the result of that is that there's really no effect of statins on thinking or memory issues. And so, in general, although there are some potential side effects long-term for statins, in most cases, if your doctor has identified you as having high cholesterol and needing a statin, the risks greatly outweigh, or sorry, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

Macie Jepson

It really amazes me how many people out there picking on statins based on what you're telling us right now. But the fact of the matter is they are. I mean, we touched on this already. But I want to ask you again, Doctor, why is that? Why is there so much negative information out there?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Well, I think, you know, a lot of people may have some questionable side effects that that come up when they start a statin, and they've heard, you know, negative reports or anecdotal information or stories from friends and family. And a lot of times these are about muscle aches. So, you know, generally muscle aches are not dangerous and really there is only some discomfort. There are rare instances of severe muscle breakdown, could be dangerous for organs such as the kidneys, but these cases are extremely infrequent. And I haven't even seen a case since medical school many years ago. Now, there's some fair evidence that repletion of vitamin D, thyroid regulation and perhaps the medicine Coenzyme Q-10 may help decrease the muscle side effects of statins. And it's certainly reasonable to try them, but we know that most of the supposed side effects of statins are actually not due to statins. So, in one recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine just this past month showed that in patients who had discontinued statin therapy because of reported side effects, in truth, 90 percent of the symptom burden elicited by a statin challenge was also elicited by placebo. So, most of the people who reported a symptom on statin of a side effect had the same side effect on placebo. And half of the trial patients were able to successfully restart their statins. So, these data really show that although there are side effects, they're very infrequent as being truly related to the statin, and most people can get through them and be on some dose of a statin for long-term benefit,

Pete Kenworthy

Like many things in medicine, the benefits far outweigh the risk. And it sounds like that's true here as well. You mentioned a moment ago, you talked about potential long-term side effects of statins. What are those? Like what are the… You talk about a lot of the myths that are out there, but are there actual side effects that, whether they should be concerning or not, what are they?

(Video) Mayo Clinic Minute: Should You Take Statins?

Dr. Ian Neeland

You know, so, just like any medication, as I mentioned, you have to weigh the potential risk to the benefits. I had mentioned that the one side effect will be muscle aches. That's called myalgias. And we know that, in general, there are several benefits to statins, and the longer you use them and have lower cholesterol, the bigger the benefit is, and the lower the risk for developing heart disease. On the other hand, as you said, there are small potential risks. One of those risks, for example, is development of diabetes. But what we know is that for every 255 patients receiving a statin for four years, only one of those patients may be diagnosed with new diabetes. And usually that occurs in people who are already at risk for diabetes. Now, they may have pre-diabetes, for example, or they may be very overweight, and this may have occurred anyway over time, regardless of the statin medication. So, other than the, you know, possibility of muscle aches, the remote possibility of diabetes, there really aren't any significant side effects of statins that occur in most people. There are rare situations of a liver or muscle injury, but again, those cases are extremely rare. And certainly the benefits in people who are at high risk for getting heart attack and stroke who have high cholesterol, who may have family history of heart disease will definitely outweigh those risks in the long-term. You know, what we do know is that from genetic studies, the longer your LDL cholesterol is as low as it can be, the better the risk, the lower the risk for heart disease. So, for example, 10 years on a statin with low LDL cholesterol might decrease your risk by 20 percent; 30 years by 40 percent; 50 years by 60 percent. So, there are people out there and families with genetic changes that make them have very low LDL cholesterol, less than 20.

Those people almost never get heart disease. And so, we, you know, we know that if we could, you know, put statins in the water and everyone could tolerate them, then the risk of heart disease would go down significantly. So, the longer you're on the statin which, you know, translating into lower cholesterol over time, the lower, the risk’s going to be. So, if someone in their 30s wants to, you know, really make a dent in the risk, long-term, you know, especially if they have a family history or they, they might have, you know, borderline risk factors, those are the people who are going to get the biggest benefit over time because their trajectory for heart disease will change drastically and dramatically by lowering the LDL cholesterol.

Macie Jepson

Is quitting these prescription medications mid-treatment or perhaps without even consulting physician a big issue in the medical community?

Dr. Ian Neeland

I think that is a big issue. I mean, people quit medications a lot of times without addressing it with their physician. You know, the most important thing is to discuss your questions and concerns with your doctor. And even if you're thinking about experiencing side effects, you want to be sure to talk it over with your physician. There are things that your doctor can recommend such as checking and restoring blood levels of vitamin D and thyroid, tweaking the dose of your statin or switching to a different statin medication that might have other effects. And many of these things can address the side effects that you're worried about. But the important thing is that, to keep taking your statin if your doctor has determined that it's beneficial for you in the long run. I always say that prevention is the best medicine. And statins are certainly one of the most important tools we have in cardiology to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Pete Kenworthy

What's the magic number? Right? I mean, I mean, we know that you can lower your cholesterol with changing what you eat or getting some exercise. Obviously, genetics play a role there. And sometimes you're just a little bit out of luck. But is there a magic age? Is there a magic number? Like, OK, I'm 49 years old right now. Right? And my cholesterol is 220, 230. No doctor's ever told me that I need a statin. Right? Every time I've been to my doctor, which isn't as often as I should go, but once every year plus, they've said, you know, change what you eat a little bit or get a little bit more exercise. But never has anyone said you should be taking a statin. And then I'm guessing I'm not old enough. Or my cholesterol is not too high. There has to be some factor.

Dr. Ian Neeland

Well, I think it starts first of all with suspicion and knowledge. You know, I'm a preventive cardiologist, and so I focus highly on risk and long-term risk. And so, in order to, you know, to have an indication to be on a statin, you have to understand that in the context of someone's risk. So, you know, people who have heart disease already, people who have diabetes, people whose LDL cholesterol is very high, it's called severe hyperlipidemia, so that would be an LDL cholesterol greater than equal to 190. And then people with premature history of coronary disease, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, those people should really be on a statin. And so, those people who don't, you know, if patients do not meet those criteria, then it's all about what your long-term risk of developing a heart attack or stroke would be. And then that helps us guide whether or not you should be on a statin. So, in general, you know, people who are younger, who don't have any risk factors for heart disease can usually get away with lifestyle changes, diet and exercise. But as you age or develop any risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, inflammatory diseases, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, all those things can enhance your risk for getting heart disease and would be an indication to go on a statin. Now, you mentioned, you know, diet and exercise. So, you know, to a moderate degree, changing your eating habits and getting some exercise can lower your bad cholesterol, specifically decreasing saturated fat in your diet, decreasing dietary cholesterol and increasing soluble fiber and plant sterols in your diet can lower your LDL cholesterol. On the other hand, exercise and weight loss can improve your triglycerides and raise your HDL cholesterol, that good cholesterol. But, you know, in general, the effects are relatively modest, usually about a 10 to 20 percent change, whereas statins can decrease your LDL cholesterol by over 50 percent in many cases.

Pete Kenworthy

(Video) Statin Misinformation: Mayo Clinic Radio

So, if you put me on a statin, I can just go on eating my cheeseburgers and fried chicken all the time.

Dr. Ian Neeland

No. I wouldn't really put it that way. You know, diet has a lot of components in it. And even though the statin will help lower your cholesterol, a poor diet that's high in saturated fat, high in sodium or salt, you know, and low in potassium and essential nutrients can have negative effects on your health way beyond the cholesterol. First of all, high sugars are stored in your body as fat. So, even though you're not eating a high-fat diet, you will definitely gain weight by eating sugary drinks, like, you know, non-diet sodas, sugar-sweetened beverages. Things that are high in fat and cholesterol and sodium will cause blood pressure to go up and cause your triglycerides to go up. And triglycerides, you know, I mentioned briefly, but are another, you know, lipid risk factor that many people overlook. And so, we know that even if you could get your LDL cholesterol down to low levels with a statin, there are many other, these lipoproteins out there in your blood that contribute to heart disease that are not necessarily lowered by the statin, and the diet plays a really important role in that. So, you're not off the hook eating the cheeseburgers and fried chicken just yet.

Macie Jepson

So, conventional wisdom has always told us that what we eat affects our health, and it does. But what I'm hearing from you is that genetics play a huge role as well. And when it comes to high cholesterol, could you actually break that down for us?

Dr. Ian Neeland

Sure. You know, genetics do play a role in your cholesterol set point. So, in other words, the amount of cholesterol that the liver makes and reabsorbs from your bloodstream is primarily determined by your genetics. However, statin and other lipid lowering medications can alter how your liver handles cholesterol and drive down bad cholesterol to very low levels. Now, there are some genetic diseases associated with very high levels of cholesterol, such as familial hyperlipidemia, or FH, that can cause premature development of heart disease, heart attacks, and death. And those diseases which are, you know, genetic diseases can run in families and are very dangerous.

Macie Jepson

So, Doctor, you have the last say here. What would you like to say to everyone out there listening who might be on the fence about statins? What is your argument?

Dr. Ian Neeland

So, I would say, you know, talk to your doctor, see a preventive cardiologist, if you're concerned. We can address all of your questions. We can, you know, help you understand the risks and the benefits of taking medicines like statins as well as other medications to prevent heart disease and stroke. And it's really important to have the correct information and to feel comfortable in understanding what it means to take a statin. It also is important to understand, you know, what the myths are out there and what are the truths. And the only way to really do that is to, you know, sit down with someone who has expertise in these areas and really find out the nitty gritty of what you need to know. And it's, as always, it's important to check your numbers. So, many people don't know they have high cholesterol until their doctor checks it which may or may not be until someone's, you know, in their 40s or 50s. So, it's very important to get your numbers checked and know what your numbers are and know what your goals are. And I think that's, that will go a long way to helping you identify areas that, you know, you need to improve in. And if you get a good preventive cardiologist to work with you, you are guaranteed to lower your risk for heart disease, as much as possible and live healthier, longer lives.

Macie Jepson

(Video) The dangers of stopping cholesterol medication

Thank you for joining us, Dr. Ian Neeland, Director for Cardiovascular Prevention at University Hospitals. And remember, you can find and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher and wherever you get your podcasts. Search University Hospitals or Healthy@UH, depending on where you listen.

Pete Kenworthy

For more health news, advice from medical experts and Healthy@UH podcasts, go to UHHospitals.org/blog.

FAQs

Is it necessary to take statins for high cholesterol? ›

If your risk is very low, you probably won't need a statin, unless your LDL is above 190 mg/dL (4.92 mmol/L). If your risk is very high — for example, you've had a heart attack in the past — a statin may be helpful even if you don't have high cholesterol.

Is taking statins worth the risk? ›

For most people, the benefits of taking statins will far outweigh the risk. This is especially true if you have already had a heart attack or stroke, or you're at high risk for them. We reviewed guidelines from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) published in 2018 and 2019.

What are the negatives of taking statins? ›

Side effects can vary between different statins, but common side effects include:
  • headache.
  • dizziness.
  • feeling sick.
  • feeling unusually tired or physically weak.
  • digestive system problems, such as constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or farting.
  • muscle pain.
  • sleep problems.
  • low blood platelet count.

Why do doctors push statins? ›

Because many factors are involved, your cholesterol numbers may be considered normal and yet you may still be found to be at an elevated risk for heart problems. As a result, statin medications are now used to lower the risk of heart disease and heart events in most anyone found to be at high risk.

What is the downside of taking statins for cholesterol? ›

While statins are highly effective and safe for most people, they have been linked to muscle pain, digestive problems and mental fuzziness in some people who take them and may rarely cause liver damage.

Should I or shouldn't I take statins? ›

People who have had a heart attack or stroke will be advised to take a statin to help reduce the risk of them having another event. You'll also be advised to take a statin if you're considered to be at significant risk of developing cardiovascular disease, or of having a heart attack or stroke.

Do statins clear clogged arteries? ›

A: Yes. There have been several clinical studies — many of them done here at Cleveland Clinic — that show statins can reverse plaque buildup. Two statins in particular, atorvastatin, which is sold under the brand name Lipitor, and rosuvastatin, which is sold under the brand name Crestor, are the strongest statins.

At what cholesterol level is medication required? ›

Your health care team may prescribe medicine if: You have already had a heart attack or stroke or have peripheral arterial disease. Your LDL cholesterol level is 190 mg/dL or higher. You are 40–75 years old and have diabetes and an LDL cholesterol level of 70 mg/dL or higher.

Should I be afraid to take statins? ›

There is no reason to be afraid of taking statins if you are at high risk for heart attack or stroke. What's really scary is the amount of inaccurate information out there that keeps so many people from getting the protection they need!

What is considered dangerously high cholesterol? ›

A person is considered at high risk for developing heart disease if their total cholesterol level is higher than 240 mg/dL, LDL levels are higher than 160 mg/dL (190 mg/dL is even higher risk), and if the HDL level is below 40 mg/dL.

Can I stop taking statins after starting? ›

If you're taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you will need to keep taking your prescription, or your cholesterol will likely go back up. Stopping your statin can put you at risk of having heart disease and other preventable health problems like stroke and heart attack from high cholesterol.

Are statins hard on your heart? ›

Statins don't just lower cholesterol levels but also reduce the risk of fatty plaques breaking off from walls of your arteries, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Some people may be able to reduce their cholesterol to safe levels by changing their diet, or exercising more.

Who should not be on a statin? ›

being over 70 years old. having a history of liver disease. regularly drinking large quantities of alcohol. having a history of muscle-related side effects when taking a statin or fibrate (another type of medicine for high cholesterol)

What is a healthy cholesterol level by age? ›

Cholesterol levels and age
Type of cholesterolAnyone 19 or youngerWomen aged 20 or over
total cholesterolless than 170 mg/dl125–200 mg/dl
non-HDLless than 120 mg/dlless than 130 mg/dl
LDLless than 100 mg/dlless than 100 mg/dl
HDLmore than 45 mg/dl50 mg/dl or higher

How can I lower my cholesterol without taking statins? ›

A few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health:
  1. Reduce saturated fats. Saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and full-fat dairy products, raise your total cholesterol. ...
  2. Eliminate trans fats. ...
  3. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. ...
  4. Increase soluble fiber. ...
  5. Add whey protein.

Can statins make you gain weight? ›

Statin use is associated with increased calorie intake and consequent weight gain.

Do statins have any other benefits? ›

What are the benefits of statins? Scientific studies and years of use all over the world have proven that statins, when used as indicated, reduce a person's chances of having a heart attack or stroke; needing surgery, angioplasty, or stenting to improve blood flow in an artery; and dying from a heart attack.

Can statins cause dementia? ›

A 2021 study looked at data of more than 18,000 adults over 65 years old who were taking statins: Main finding: There was no significant link between statins and dementia — or statins and any cognitive impairment.

Do statins weaken the heart muscle? ›

Since statins can cause muscle damage, they could theoretically also harm the heart--which is, essentially, a big muscle--although there is no evidence that this is the case.

Why do statins have to be taken at night? ›

Many statins work more effectively when they are taken at night. This is because the enzyme which makes the cholesterol is more active at night. Also, the half-life, or the amount of time it takes for half the dose to leave your body, of some statins is short.

What are the warning signs of high cholesterol? ›

High cholesterol has no symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect if you have it.

Do statins lower BP? ›

“We found that statins lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and that the effect extends to patients with pre-hypertension, those with normal blood pressure and persons not on blood-pressure lowering medications,” said Golomb.

Does exercise Lower cholesterol? ›

Exercise can help you lower cholesterol numbers even if you're overweight. In the Journal of Obesity, researchers reported that overweight and obese adults who walked, jogged, and cycled while eating a cholesterol-lowering diet improved total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Why do people not want to take cholesterol medicine? ›

“The most common reason people stop taking statins is because of side effects, like muscle aches, but many have muscle pains from other causes and stop taking the medication in error,” Dr. Carimi says. If you experience muscle aches, Dr. Carimi says to talk to your doctor.

Why are people statins hesitant? ›

Research has shown that statins are highly effective in reducing the risk of fatal heart attack and stroke. But some people are reluctant to take these life-saving drugs. They worry about taking medicine every day for the rest of their life or have heard that statins have undesirable side effects.

What is the most tolerated statin? ›

According to a research review people who take simvastatin (Zocor) or pravastatin (Pravachol) may experience fewer side effects.

What should a 70 year old cholesterol be? ›

After having their cholesterol tested, seniors should be given a number between 190 and 260. Healthy seniors should keep their total cholesterol below 200 and their LDL cholesterol around 100. If your elderly loved one's LDL cholesterol level is above 160, he or she must start making sweeping lifestyle changes.

What is stroke level cholesterol? ›

Types of Cholesterol

Levels of LDL cholesterol higher than 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are linked to an increased risk for ischemic stroke.

Is a cholesterol of 6.4 high? ›

Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L. As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be: 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults. 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk.

Can you skip a day of statins? ›

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and take the next one at the usual time.

Can I take statins every other day? ›

Background: Statins are generally well tolerated, but some patients discontinue therapy secondary to adverse effects. Dosing a statin (rosuvastatin) every other day (EOD) may provide significant lipoprotein changes while avoiding common adverse effects in this statin-intolerant population.

Can you take a statin just once a week? ›

Discussion. Our analysis of current evidence suggests that intermittent statin administration is effective in lowering LDL levels in patients with dyslipidemia. All dosing regimens, including alternate days, 3 to 5 times a week, 2 to 3 times a week, and once a week, were shown to be effective.

What percentage of people on statins have heart attacks? ›

One alarming study of 28,000 patients found that 3 in 10 stopped taking their statins because they presumed the aches and pains they were experiencing were due to the drug. The result: 8.5% suffered a heart attack or stroke within just four years, compared to 7.6% who continued taking the drugs13.

How long do you stay on statins? ›

Taking statins

Check with your doctor whether there's a particular time of day you should take your statin. You usually have to continue taking statins for life because if you stop taking them, your cholesterol will return to a high level. If you forget to take your dose, do not take an extra one to make up for it.

What are the two most common adverse effects of statins? ›

The most common statin side effects include:
  • Headache.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Flushing of the skin.
  • Muscle aches, tenderness, or weakness (myalgia)
  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Abdominal cramping or pain.
4 Sept 2022

What is a normal cholesterol level for a 65 year old? ›

For most healthy adults (19 and older), your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL, your LDL less than 100 mg/dL, and your HDL greater than 40 mg/dL. For children (19 and younger), total cholesterol should be less than 170 mg/dL, LDL less than 110 mg/dL, and HDL greater than 45 mg/dL.

What is the average cholesterol level for a 65 year old woman? ›

A normal total cholesterol level for adults without heart disease is less than 200 mg/dL.

Why is my cholesterol high when I have a healthy diet? ›

Even if you eat right and exercise, you can still have high cholesterol if you have inherited a genetic form of high cholesterol from your parents called familial hypercholesterolemia. Even though it cannot be prevented, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help keep the condition under control.

Do cardiologists recommend statins? ›

Statins are recommended for people who have been diagnosed with heart disease, who have had a heart attack or stroke, have a stent, or who are known to have plaque in their body,” Dr. Jacoby explains. For a second group, statins intervene earlier, fending off potential health issues before they start.

Why are some doctors against statins? ›

Statin use has been linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes because the medication can fuel mild glucose elevations in predisposed individuals — an effect that can often be countervailed by exercise and losing as little as a few pounds.

Can I avoid taking statins? ›

You usually have to continue taking statins for life because if you stop taking them, your cholesterol will return to a high level. If you forget to take your dose, do not take an extra one to make up for it. Just take your next dose as usual the following day.

Can you get off statins Once you start? ›

If you're taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you will need to keep taking your prescription, or your cholesterol will likely go back up. Stopping your statin can put you at risk of having heart disease and other preventable health problems like stroke and heart attack from high cholesterol.

What foods cancel out cholesterol? ›

Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods

Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your LDL cholesterol.

What removes cholesterol fast? ›

5 Tactics To Reduce Cholesterol Quickly
  • FOCUS ON FRUITS, VEGETABLES, WHOLE GRAINS, AND BEANS​ ...
  • BE MINDFUL OF FAT INTAKE​ ...
  • Eat more plant sources of protein. ...
  • EAT FEWER REFINED GRAINS, SUCH AS WHITE FLOUR​ ...
  • GET MOVING.
21 Apr 2022

What is the fastest way to get rid of cholesterol? ›

Foods like oatmeal, apples, prunes, and beans are high in soluble fiber, which keeps your body from absorbing cholesterol. Research shows that people who ate 5 to 10 more grams of it each day saw a drop in their LDL. Eating more fiber also makes you feel full, so you won't crave snacks as much.

Is there a natural substitute for statins? ›

Some people do not tolerate statins or may want to try natural remedies to treat their high cholesterol. Statin alternatives include some prescription medications like ezetimibe and fibric acids. Natural remedies that some people use to help treat high cholesterol include omega-3 fatty acids and red yeast rice extract.

Videos

1. STATINS: MORE THAN JUST LOWERING CHOLESTEROL?
(Ivanhoe Web)
2. Weighing statins’ risks vs benefits
(UW Medicine)
3. Statin Side Effects | Atorvastatin, Rosuvastatin, Simvastatin Side Effects & Why They Occur
(JJ Medicine)
4. Side effects for cholesterol-lowering medications known as Statins may be overblown
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