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What Are the Pros and Cons of Statins for Cholesterol?

Statins for cholesterol might cause stomach cramps or vomiting.
Statins can affect mental health in some people.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
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Many healthcare providers make use of statins for cholesterol control, often with recommendations to patients that they need to make some changes in their diets and also include more exercise in their daily routines. For many people, the use of one type of statin or another will significantly reduce the presence of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream, which in turn helps to minimize the chances for heart attacks or strokes. Along with the many advantages of responsibly using statins for cholesterol control, there are also a few drawbacks that physicians and patients should consider before making use of these particular cholesterol lowering medications.

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One of the chief benefits of statins for cholesterol reduction is that most of these drugs can produce a noticeable effect in relatively little time. In comparison to other methods, the decrease in bad cholesterol over the course of even a single month will be significant. This is especially true when the statin usage is combined with planning meals that include foods containing less fat and cholesterol while also providing greater amounts of nutrients that are known to help cleanse the bloodstream and keep the fat content of the blood within reasonable levels. Use of statins for controlling cholesterol should also be accompanied with regular exercise in order to be most effective. Even including a brisk 30-minute walk along with a balanced diet will help support the action of the statin drugs and allow the patient to reduce bad cholesterol to a range that is considered acceptable while also helping to promote the body’s production of good cholesterol.

While using statins for cholesterol has proven to be beneficial for many people, it is important to recognize that usage can also trigger side effects that may offset those benefits. Among the more common side effects is the possibility of a strong sense of fatigue and weakness, which can in turn adversely affect the ability to engage in regular exercise. Along with the weakness, some individuals taking statins for cholesterol control have also experienced gastrointestinal distress that ranges from ongoing stomach cramps to sudden fits of vomiting. Floating pains around the body that seem to come and go for no apparent reason are also reported with some frequency.

Some patients with certain pre-existing conditions should avoid the use of statins for cholesterol reduction if at all possible. This includes women who are pregnant, new mothers who are currently breastfeeding, active alcoholics, and any patient who is struggling with a liver disease. When it is not feasible to use statins as part of the plan to reduce bad cholesterol, working with a physician will often help identify other alternatives that can help achieve the desired goal.

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