Understanding the Safety of Cholesterol Medication

High cholesterol is a dangerous condition that can lead to heart disease , heart attacks, and stroke. When you have high cholesterol that can’t be treated through diet and exercise, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol medications, particularly statins. Although the safety and effectiveness of cholesterol medications has been questioned in the media, doctors remain convinced that they can be an important part of lowering cholesterol and protecting people from dangerous complications. Here is what you need to know.

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a vital substance that your body uses to create hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D. However, having too much of one form of cholesterol, called low-density lipoproteins, or LDL cholesterol, and not having enough high-density lipoproteins, or HDL cholesterol, can be dangerous. LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque build-up in your blood vessels that can cause blockages that may eventually lead to heart attack or stroke.

What causes high cholesterol?
A number of different factors contribute to high cholesterol. About 25% of the cholesterol in your blood comes from the food you eat, so a diet high in saturated fat will contribute to high cholesterol. Your liver produces about 75% of your cholesterol. Some people are genetically predisposed to excess cholesterol production. Having some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can also make you more prone to having high cholesterol.

What is the role of cholesterol medication?
Some people with high cholesterol can effectively lower their numbers through diet, exercise, and weight loss. For others, medications can help. Cholesterol medications work by slowing down the production of cholesterol by the liver, and for patients with risk factors for complications from high cholesterol, they can have a noticeable positive impact on overall health. As MountainView Hospital cardiologist Dr. Thomas Lambert details in this video, cholesterol medications have been demonstrated to be safe and effective, despite the bad reputation they get in the press.

At MountainView Hospital, our heart care team in Las Vegas provides comprehensive diagnostic and interventional care for a range of cardiac conditions. Whether you need emergency care for heart attack symptoms or long-term management of congestive heart failure, we have you covered. For a referral to one of our heart care providers, call (702) 962-5021..

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