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Ask Dr. Wy…
Richard Wyderski, MD, FACP
Dr. Wy, why should I take a statin to lower cholesterol instead of something else? What about diet?
A healthy diet is VERY important! 🥗
Statin drugs aren’t the only way to prevent strokes and heart attacks, also knowns as “major adverse cardiovascular events,” or “MACEs.” Eating a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, briskly walking for 30 minutes 5 times a week, and getting enough sleep each night are cornerstones of good health. They all also reduce the risk of a MACE!
Statins, though, are unique in how they work and further reduce the chances of a MACE. And who wants a stroke or heart attack? NO ONE!
The first statin on the market, lovastatin, is identical to the statin found in red yeast rice and reduces liver LDL “bad” cholesterol production. Even more importantly, lovastatin and other statins were found to be much better at preventing a MACE than other drugs, which is what we really care about!
Why is that?
First, the LDL goes WAY down preventing cholesterol plaques from getting bigger and eventually shrinking them! Second, statins reduce plaque inflammation that promotes their buildup. Finally, statins turn mushy plaques into harder, more stable plaques that don’t break open as easily. A broken plaque releases substances that lead to an artery-clogging blood clot, which is what causes the heart attack or stroke. All that in one little pill!
Now that you know how statins work, I’ll go into more detail about who should take them and proof why. See you next month!
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