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Bottle of Lipitor and heart shaped pile of pills.

Cholesterol Medication: Is It Really Necessary?

Are Cholesterol Medications Safe for your Body?

Cholesterol medication can be found in the cabinets of many Americans (35 million) who are suffering from high cholesterol. This condition can lead to heart disease, but some doctors are starting to back away from prescribing them as often to their patients. Another name for this drug is statins. Statins are one of the most prescribed medications in the world. It includes brand names like Lipitor, Crestor, and Zocor. Some doctors believe that statins don’t have any proof of lowering the risk of heart attack, especially for healthy women who have high cholesterol.

The Side Effects of Cholesterol Medications

Other than not having solid proof of lowering risk of heart attacks, cholesterol medications are known to have serious side effects that include tendon damage, nerve damage, muscle pain and damage, liver damage, kidney failure, weakness, risk of cataracts, and diabetes. Individuals who take statins weekly commonly complain of such symptoms. However, doctors pressure them to stay on the meds in order to lower high cholesterol.

Second Opinion of Cholesterol Medications

There are other doctors who have different views of statins. Some feel that few people have the side effects of cholesterol medications, stating that 90% of patients are able to tolerate the meds well. They believe that statins help to significantly reduce the risk of heart attack.

What You Should Do if you take Cholesterol Medication

If you are wondering whether you should question your doctor if he or she prescribes a statin to you, take a look at the following tips:

  • What Are Your Risk Factors? Are you or were you a smoker? Are you obese or have diabetes? How about high blood pressure and triglycerides? These are risk factors that are known to lead to heart attack and raise the risk of cardiac events within the next 10 years. Women without risk factors don’t need statins, but those who do are at special risk of having a heart attack.
  • What’s Your Risk of Heart Attack? You can use an online heart attack calculator to determine your risk of having a heart attack. You’ll be asked your age, weight, height, and HDL and LDL levels. Family history is also looked into. Statins are commonly recommended to those who have between five and 10 percent risk of having a heart attack within the next 10 years.
  • Switch to a Mediterranean Diet. Many doctors believe this diet is good for the blood and heart. This consists of eating olive oil, fruits, veggies and nuts. A study that was in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that eating on this diet can reduce your chance of heart attack by 30 percent. Few people follow this diet strictly and instead mix it with the American diet. However, eating less meat and having mainly seafood and vegetarian dishes would be beneficial.
  • Ask Your Doctor About Fish Oil Supplements. Fish oil has shown to reduce levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. You can try taking these instead of statins, if your doctor has prescribed them to you.
  • Exercise. Exercising has proven to lower cholesterol and raises HDL, which is good cholesterol. Having a healthy weight is linked to having a healthy heart.


Try these tips to see if you can get out of taking cholesterol medication.

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