What are Statins?
Statins are drugs which help in reducing cholesterol levels in the body. These drugs block the enzyme that is responsible for synthesizing cholesterol. HMG-CoA is the enzyme that it blocks.
Statins to Treat Atherosclerosis
These drugs prevent the plaque formation on the arteries. They also reduce the thickness of plaques. When it is taken, it prevents the breakage of plaques and clot formation does not occur.
Another important factor for atherosclerosis is inflammation of the arteries. These drugs often play a vital role in reducing inflammation. This is the other way in which statins can be beneficial.
These drugs are taken if cholesterol levels do not reduce by following proper exercise and diet.
Treatment of Cholesterol Using Statins
A blood test is suggested before taking medication. This helps in analyzing liver function and level of cholesterol. Once treatment starts go for a blood test to check if the liver is functioning properly and if the drug is effective or not.
The treatment is effective if the level of total cholesterol is reduced to 25% and ldl by 30%. If the target is not reached, dosage of these drugs is increased. Once target is reached it should be taken continuous and regular blood test should be carried out.
Risk factors that have to be considered include:
- Age of the person
- Family history
- Inactive lifestyle
Early symptoms include
- Muscle pain
Other Side Effects
These drugs when taken in higher doses cause an increase in liver enzymes. When the effect is less it can be continued, but as the liver enzymes increases it is better to avoid them as it reverses the problem.
Taking higher levels of statins cause muscle pain. In these condition muscle cells release a protein myoglobin. Myoglobin travels in the blood stream and damages the kidneys.