For those of you who have survived a heart attack or stroke, you can relate to the fear associated with a possible second incident. In order to combat this possibility, you may currently be taking statin medications in order to dramatically lower your cholesterol levels.
If so, you're not alone. In fact, these 'miracle' drugs are the most commonly prescribed medications across the globe. Are they all they're cracked up to be, or is there more to this 'wonder' drug? Although they have been shown to be effective in terms of preventing a secondary heart attack, 70 to 80 percent of the North Americans on statins simply display possible risk factors, not signs of heart disease.
Are Statins a 'Wonder' Drug?
It's a major concern amongst researchers, as we're essentially overdosing on these cholesterol-lowering drugs – not to mention the potential side effects regarding memory and the onset of diabetes. So, are statins all they are cracked up to be, or are there reasons to be concerned?
For those who suffer from high cholesterol, you know that you are currently at risk for atherosclerosis – as plaque builds in your arteries. Considering this is the leading cause of both heart attacks and stroke, a cholesterol-lowering drug appears to be an effective solution.
While focusing on the portion of the population that have suffered from a previous heart attack or stroke, then yes, a statin solution could essentially reduce their risk of death based on a future occurrence. With that being said, pharmaceuticals make up a multi-billion dollar industry.
It's important to remember, statins are powerful drugs that can potentially interfere with a number of internal systems. In fact, a scientific critique was published in the journal; Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, stating that the life-saving efficiency of statins has been exaggerated.
They reported the benefits of statins only really benefit about 1 percent of the population. This is based on absolute risk, not relative risk. The adverse effects may outweigh the possible benefits, especially for those who are within the relative or low-risk categories. As always, check with your doctor for the best advice.
Here are some of the key potential side effects to be aware of. If you have never suffered from a heart attack or angina, taking statins may be doing more harm than good:
* Fatigue and overall muscle weakness
* Reduced appetite
* Joint and stomach pain
* Increased urinary tract infections
* Digestive issues
* Confusion and/or memory problems
The best way to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke is to change your lifestyle habits. Change your diet, become more active, and manage stress levels. Some of the best foods to lower your cholesterol include oatmeal, nuts, beans, and plenty of fresh produce.