Statin drugs are used to reduce the making of bad cholesterol or LDL in the body.
The term hyperlipidemia is reserved for elevated levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and other molecules of fat.
There are several risk factor for hyperlipidemia. In most of the patients, these factors work combined. The most important ones are a high fat intake in food, diabetes mellitus, low physical activity, obesity. Some types of hyperlipidemia are caused by genetic mutations and they run in some families.
Hyperlipidemia itself does not have any symptoms. It is a silent disease. Over a period of time, it will cause atherosclerosis of all blood vessels. That accumulation of fat in blood vessels will reduce blood flow leading to symptoms appearance. The symptoms depend on the clogged artery. If it is coronary artery it will cause heart attack, in the brain, it will cause stroke and so on.
It can be diagnosed by measuring levels of LDL, VLDL, HDL and total cholesterol.
Hyperlipidemia is a significant risk factor for coronary, cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular diseases. Special risk represents high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and low level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
The first step in the treatment of hyperlipidemia is a diet change. Fat intake should be reduced to a minimum. Low calori diet reduces serum levels of LDL. If a patient suffers from diabetes should be well controlled. Most of the lifestyle changes will help in diabetes management as well as hyperlipidemia management. Physical activity should be increased to help in the management of hyperlipidemia and diabetes. It will also help in the prevention of obesity.
If diet changes do not reduce levels of LDL,medicines should be prescribed. The main purpose of drugs is to decrease the level of LDL and increase the level of HDL. The main drugs for hyperlipidemia treatment are statins and nonstatins.
Lovastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin are all statin drugs. These drugs inhibit the enzyme which is involved in the production of lipids. On that way, they stop the synthesis of cholesterol. It will cause the decrease of the level of blood cholesterol. They also increase the number of LDL receptors in different body tissues which will lead to faster usage of LDL and a faster decrease of serum LDL. Beside that they slightly increase the level of HDL and lower level of cholesterol.
These statin medicines have also effect on blood vessels. They do not allow them to constrict and reduce its volume on that way.
Statins are taken orally, in form of a pill. One pill per day is enough to lower cholesterol level in a short period of time.
They should be given to patients with hyperlipidemia with a high level of LDL and to patients with high cardiovascular risk, especially to those which have previously suffered from any sort of cardiovascular insult.
These drugs have many side effects. One of the main side effect of statin drugs is liver damage. It can be monitored by monitoring the level of liver enzymes. Also, another side effect is muscle pain which is followed by increased level of creatine kinase. It stops after you stop drug intake. Rhabdomyolysis is the most dangerous side effect of these drugs, for which they are black-boxed.. Some of these drugs can even cause diabetes as one of the side effects. In most cases, the risk of side effects is minor when compared to the benefits of statins on human health. Also, if side effects do occur then statin drug should be changed for another. Statins should not be taken if you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding.
You should let your doctor know which other drugs do you use. Also, do not forget to mention natural remedies which you use because some of them should not be used at the same time as statin drugs. Regular check-ups are required to check the effects of statin drugs. In case they do not give significant results they can be changed.
The most efficient statin drugs are rosuvastatin, atorvastatin, and simvastatin. They are used as a single medicine therapy but in case that they do not a lower level of cholesterol enough, they can be combined with other medicines. Ezetimide, which is a bile acid sequestrant, can be used in combination with statins. It will prevent cholesterol absorption from the intestines and help in lowering cholesterol blood levels.
There are some natural remedies which work as a statin drugs but they should never be used instead of statin drugs. They can be used in addition to medications to help lowering hyperlipidemia.
Fish is a well-known source of omega-3 fats which work very good in lowering cholesterol levels. There are a number os studies which confirm that positive effect of fish oil.
Red yeast rice is proven a natural remedy for hyperlipidemia. It is produced when rice is fermented using a certain type of yeast. Red yeast rice can reduce hyperlipidemia up to one-third. It is commonly used in Asian countries. It can also be used as natural remedy for the treatment of obesity.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) is very good in the treatment of diabetes caused by hyperlipidemia, Niacin rich food can reduce levels of LDL for a quarter but it can also elevate levels of HDL.
Garlic is also very good in reducing levels of cholesterol and increasing levels of HDL. Garlic can be used in raw form or in a form of supplement.
Aronow, W.S., "Management of hyperlipidemia with statins in the older patient“, 2006, Clin Interv Aging., 1(4): 433–438., retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699649/
Axe, J., "11 Natural Remedies for Hyperlipidemia“, 2016, „draxe.com“, retrieved from https://draxe.com/hyperlipidemia/
Staff, "Cholesterol & Triglycerides Health Center“, 2015, „webmd.com“,
Last, A.R., Ference, J.D., Falleroni, J., "Pharmacologic Treatment of Hyperlipidemia“, 2011, Am Fam Physician., 84(5):551-558, retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0901/p551.html
Society for Vascular Surgery, "Hyperlipidemia“, „vascular.org“, retrieved from https://vascular.org/patient-resources/vascular-conditions/hyperlipidemia
Be the first to get new health tips by subscribing to our Diabetes Health Tips