VCS Blog

High Cholesterol Therapy Options: Statins

By: Dr. Reza K. Omarzai

While smoking, obesity, lack of activity and other controllable issues can contribute to high cholesterol; there are factors that can contribute to elevated LDL levels that are not due to a person’s daily habits. Situations like these may include:

  • Someone with familial lipid abnormalities will have high cholesterol because of their genetics, causing a problem with the way his/her body handles cholesterol in the bloodstream.
  • Someone with liver disease has a hard time metabolizing cholesterol because 70% of it is formed at the liver level, meaning the liver cannot process cholesterol effectively.
  • Other factors outside of a patient’s control include kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes and hypothyroidism.

With the many different diseases that contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, it’s no wonder there are several different treatment options. Beyond modifying diet and lifestyle, there are certain therapy options discussed below if high cholesterol is caused by non-controllable factors.

Statin Therapy As An Option for Controlling Cholesterol Levels

The most potent cholesterol-lowering drug class is statins – drugs designed to inhibit HMG-CoA, an enzyme that impacts the liver’s production and processing of cholesterol. Statins alter the liver’s metabolism of cholesterol and lowers production. Today over thirty million Americans are using a statin drug to control cholesterol.

2013’s guidelines for statins stated that there were three groups of people who might benefit the most from statin therapy:

  • Individuals already suffering with heart disease, stroke, mini-stroke, peripheral artery disease
  • Individuals with an LDL level over 190
  • Individuals between the ages of 40-75 who have diabetes

Prescriptions of statin therapy has changed in recent years.  Historically, statins were often used at the beginning of therapy to positively impact cholesterol levels and than patients were moved to multi-therapy options. Today, it is recommended that a patient maintain their statin therapy and only add another agent if the statin fails to yield the desired results.

Cholesterol Goals With Statins

Statin drugs are implemented to help control a person’s LDL level. The lower the LDL, the better chance there is of preventing the progression of the disease. While each person is different, many suggest that your LDL levels should generally fall under 70. In some cases, effective statin therapy, combined with a healthy lifestyle, can positively regress the disease so that a person improves considerably.

To find out if high cholesterol treatment that includes the use of statins is right for you, consult your cardiac specialist today.


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Published June 14, 2019


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