Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer worldwide. High cholesterol is a leading cause contributing to this.
The number of adults with elevated LDL “bad” cholesterol in the U.S. was 37.8% in 2010. It is obvious we have a significant proportion of our population at risk of a preventable chronic disease in the United States because of this.
Our answer to this problem usually comes in the form of a pill, most notably the statin drugs. How well do statins work, and are they worth taking in the first place? These are the questions many patients are asking themselves. The answer involves sorting out the facts from hearsay. In order to do this you need to know what the benefits and risks are from taking statin medications. This is what follows below.
Benefits of Taking Statins
Benefits of taking statin drugs involve preventing cardiovascular events and premature death. This data can be found by looking at the results of systemic reviews on http://www.TheNNT.com. They are as follows:
For those with no prior heart disease, less than 1% were helped by avoiding death or a heart attack or stroke.
For those with prior heart disease, between 0.8%-2.6% were helped by avoiding premature death, a heart attack, or a stroke.
Risks of Taking Statins
All drugs come with side effects, and the statins are no exception. TheNNT also covers a few of the more common potential risks in their reviews. The most notable of these is muscle weakness/damage/pain in patients. According to TheNNT, 10% of patients suffer from this adverse effect while taking statin medications.
Statins have many other adverse effects as well. This is discussed at length in this scientific review article by two vascular surgeons. These other adverse effects include an increase risk of diabetes, cataracts, erectile dysfunction, neurodegenerative disorders in the elderly, and even some forms of cancer. It is important to look into this before deciding to take a statin medication if you choose to do so.
Alternative to Statin Drugs
Statin drugs and other cholesterol-lowering medications are often the only option given to patients needing to lower their cholesterol levels. They are not the only option though. Everyone should be made aware of a much more effective and safer form of treatment in the form of a whole foods, plant-based diet and lifestyle. This approach has been proven to work in most every patient who uses it, and all without the side effects of the statin drugs listed above. You can read more about adopting this diet and lifestyle approach here.
It’s important that you understand your decisions when it comes to improving your health and treating disease. There is no right or wrong answer or decision. There are just different choices when facing any medical condition. What’s important is you know the facts behind your choices when you make your decisions. This way you’ll have no regrets going forward and can live life to the best of your ability.