What to Know About Statin Therapy

What to Know About Statin Therapy

Statins aren’t miracle drugs and won’t allow you to ignore habits that increase your risk of heart disease. But statin therapy may help you lower LDL (bad) and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Cardiovascular specialist Mark Meyer, MD, FACP, FACC, at Madison Avenue Cardiovascular in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, has significant expertise in treating cardiovascular disease. But he prefers preventing heart disease whenever possible and takes a comprehensive approach when lowering risk factors like hypertension and elevated cholesterol.

Read what Dr. Meyer says about the benefits of statin therapy when coupled with other heart-healthy habits.

Cholesterol basics

Cholesterol is a complex compound that includes several different types. But basically, it’s a fatty substance (lipid) your body needs to:

Ideally, your body can clear away the cholesterol it doesn’t need, transporting it to the liver and then excreting it as waste. Unfortunately, cholesterol levels may rise so high that your body can’t eliminate the excess, resulting in plaque formation (atherosclerosis) that may block blood flow to the heart or brain.

What causes cholesterol levels to rise?

Your liver produces cholesterol, all you’ll ever need, and the rest comes from the foods you eat, namely animal proteins like beef, organ meats, milk, cheese, and butter.

Thus, diet plays a significant role in elevated cholesterol levels. But it’s not the only culprit. For instance, family history matters, since genes determine how much cholesterol your body makes. Your age is also a factor, because cholesterol levels typically rise with age.

Exercise can influence cholesterol levels, too. HDL is often praised as the “good cholesterol,” since it travels through the bloodstream, gathers excess LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and transports it back to the liver for disposal. 

Increased physical activity can raise HDL levels, increasing your body’s ability to remove excess LDL.

How does statin therapy help reduce cholesterol?

Statins are medications that block an enzyme your liver needs to produce cholesterol. They also help the liver dispose of cholesterol. Some people have noted a 50% decrease in LDL levels with statin therapy.

Dr. Meyer may recommend statin therapy if you have significant risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as diabetes or hypertension. Both conditions damage blood vessels, making it easier for plaques to form. 

You may also benefit if changes in diet, exercise, and other healthy habits don’t decrease your levels sufficiently.

But statin therapy only addresses the cholesterol your liver produces. Thus, Dr. Meyer also works with you to design a comprehensive treatment strategy that helps prevent high cholesterol from threatening your cardiovascular health. 

Your plan may include additional medications or changes in diet, exercise routine, or other lifestyle habits that affect your overall well-being.

Learn more about managing your cholesterol by scheduling an appointment at Madison Avenue Cardiovascular today. Call our office or request an appointment online.

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