Cholestrol

Medical Treatment for High Cholesterol

If following a self-care at home including low-cholesterol and low-saturated fat diet, losing weight and increased physical activity have not reduced the risk of developing heart disease even after about three months, then your medical professional may consider prescribing medications for lowering cholesterol. The

medical treatment forhigh cholesterol

levels is discussed below in this article. Let us examine them.

Even if your doctor gives you medical prescription, you may still need to follow self-care at home which includes:

  • A diet including low cholesterol and low fats
  • Regular physical exercises
  • Include more exercises to lose excess weight and
  • Stop or control all of the other risk factors of coronary heart diseases including the control over diabetes, high blood pressure and also quit smoking.

Including all these steps in your daily regime may lessen the intake of medicine a patient needs. It may also help to make the medicine to work better; this reduced the risk of coronary heart disease development.

Medical treatment for high cholesterol

The doctor may prescribe medicines from the below mentioned categories:

  • Statins: Statins help in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels more than the other types of drugs. They lower the cholesterol levels by increasing the ability of the liver to remove bad cholesterol (LDL) present in the blood and by slowing down cholesterol production.

    Studies have reported that the use of statins has reduced the LDL cholesterol levels by 20 to 60 percent in patients taking them. It also reduces high levels of triglycerides modestly and also produces a mild increase in the HDL cholesterol levels.

    Results are seen after the use of statin medications after several weeks. A patient’s doctor might recheck the blood test after 6-8 weeks. A second measurement of the LDL cholesterol level need to be averaged with the helps of first to help adjust the dosage of medication.

    Statins are tolerated well and their serious side effects are generally rare. Rarely, Rhabdomyolysis, a widespread breakdown may occur. Some of the symptoms include weakness, dark colored urine and diffuse muscle pain. This may need a medical emergency, thus, patients experiencing these symptoms must stop the intake of statin medications and immediately contact the health care practitioner.

    Some of the other side effects of these medications may include gas, upset stomach, cramps or abdominal pain and constipation. These symptoms are commonly mild to moderate and usually go away as the body gets adjusted to the medication.

    Patients taking statins are ordered to monitor the function of the liver with blood tests.

    There are various statin drugs which are available by doctor’s prescription. The choice of drug is made by the patient and the health care professional depeneding on the clinical examination. Some examples of these medications include the following:

    • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

    • Lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor)

    • Fluvastatin (Lescol)

    • Pravastatin (Pravachol)

    • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)

    • Simvastatin (Zocor)

  • Bile acid sequestrants:

    The bile acid sequestrants drugs bind with the cholesterol containing the bile acids within the intestines and help by allowing them to get eliminated into the stools. These drugs may lower the LDL or bad cholesterol levels by 10 – 20 percent. Sometimes, these drugs are prescribed along with statin in order to enhance the reduction in cholesterol levels.

    Colesevelam (WelChol), Colestipol (Colestid) and Cholestyramine (Questran Light, Questran) are the 3 bile acid sequestrants which are available currently. These 3 drugs are available as tablets or powders and are not absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract.

    The tablets form of bile acid sequestrant drugs must be taken along with large amounts of liquids to avoid intestinal and stomach complaints including bloating, constipation, gas and nausea. The powdered drug form must be mixed either with fruit juice or water and are taken with meals once or twice a day.

  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors:

    Cholesterol absorption inhibitors drugs inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the gut and show a few side effects. Rarely, they may be associated with angioedema (tongue swelling).

    Ezetimibe (Zetia) lowers the LDL cholesterol levels by 18 to 20 percent. Probably, this drug is most helpful in patients who cannot tolerate statins. Ezetimibe is equivalent to tripling or doubling the statin dose when used along with a statin.

  • Niacin or Nicotin acid:

    Niacin raises HDL cholesterol levels and lowers LDL cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and total cholesterol levels.There are 2 types of niacin which include extended release and immediate release.

    The immediate release type of crystalline niacin is widely accessible without the prescription and is inexpensive. But it must not be used for lowering cholesterol without guidance from the health care practitioner because of potential side effects. Nicotinamide, which is another type of niacin must not be used replacing the nicotinic acid as it does not reduce cholesterol levels.

    Nicotinic acid reduced bad cholesterol by 10-20%, triglycerides by 20-50% and raises good cholesterol by 15-35%.

    Hot flashes or flushing is a troublesome and common side effect of niacin, which occur as a result of dilation of blood vessels. Most patients develop tolerance to hot flashes or flushing, which can be decreased by intake of drugs after or during the meals or by aspirin or other medications prescribed by the doctor 30 minutes before the intake of niacin.

    The extended release form of niacin causes less flushing than the other forms.

    High blood pressure (B.P.) medicines effect may be increased while the intake of niacin causing a potential drop in the B.P. A variety of symptoms of gastrointestinal tract including vomiting, gas, indigestion, nausea, peptic ulcers and diarrhea have been experienved while using niacin. Some of the major side effects include gout, high blood sugar levels and liver problems.

    Extended release nicotin acid is better tolerated than the crystalline nicotin acid. But, its liver damage or toxicity is probably greater. The extended release nicotin acid dosage is limited to 2 grams a day.

  • Fibrates:

    Fibrates are effective in reducing the triglycerides levels. These include the following:

    • Fenofibrate (Tricor):

      This drug is more effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

    • Gemifibrozil (Lopid)

    Intestinal discomfort or stomach upset and gallstones are some side effects of this drug. These may affect anticoagulation effects in blood thinning.

The above article discusses briefly about the

medical treatment for high cholesterol levels

. Controlling high levels of cholesterol is a life-long process. Regardless of the treatment method, routine blood tests is required to monitor total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides levels.

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