Cholesterol plays an important role in your heart health and general well-being. When your levels of cholesterol are too high, your risk for heart disease and stroke increases. That’s why doctors often prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, to help control and lower cholesterol levels. But what about other cholesterol-lowering medications? What do they offer that statins don’t?
Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. They work by blocking an enzyme in the liver that is responsible for producing cholesterol. That prevents excess cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels and putting you at risk for a cardiac event.
Statins can have serious side effects, including liver damage and elevated blood sugar levels. In rare cases, they can also cause muscle soreness, digestive problems and cognitive impairments. Be sure to discuss the potential side effects with your doctor before taking statins.
Other Cholesterol-Lowering Medications
Aside from statins, there are other medications available for lowering cholesterol levels. Some drugs, such as fibrates, bile-acid sequestrants, nicotinic acid and resins, work to control and lower cholesterol levels by preventing the absorption of cholesterol from the intestinal tract. Other drugs, such as PCSK9 inhibitors and cholesterol absorption inhibitors, work differently and can be taken in addition to statins or as an alternative to statins.
Which Drug Is Better?
It depends on your individual health and medical history. Your doctor will discuss your options and what would work best for you. In general, statins are the most commonly prescribed type of cholesterol-lowering drug, but other types of medications may also be considered if statins are not appropriate or do not work.
General Health and Wellness
Whatever cholesterol-lowering drug you take, it’s important to also maintain a healthy lifestyle. That includes regular physical activity and a balanced diet, with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. You should also limit your intake of added sugars and saturated fats, as these can raise your cholesterol levels even more.
By making these lifestyle changes, along with taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, you can drastically reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke, improve your overall health and enjoy a longer and healthier life.