Monday, May 30, 2011

Statins and their side-effects

Statins are a class of drugs that are used to lower cholesterol levels. Though there are different types of statins - all work in the same way.

Cholesterol is a waxy steroid of fat that is produced in the liver. Although cholesterol is very critical for the normal functioning of body cells, its increased levels damage arteries and are linked to heart diseases. 

Cholesterol develops plaques within arteries and these plaques block the arteries thus obstructing the flow of blood, leading to heart attack.

The functioning of statins is very interesting; as cholesterol is produced in the liver, statins block the functioning of the liver enzyme that is responsible for producing cholesterol. 

Like all medication, statins also have potential side effects. The most common side effects of statins are muscle pain and damage. Muscle pain is generally mild, but can be severe enough to hinder your daily activities. 

The use of statin can cause the liver to increase its production of enzymes that help in digestion, and if unchecked, increased liver enzymes may lead to permanent lever damage.

Some patients on statin therapy do report of nausea, gas, constipation or diarrhea. Actually, these side effects are rare; most of the patients who report these side effects already have some digestive problems.

Besides headache, drowsiness, weakness and difficulty sleeping, some patients develop flushing of the skin.
The most serious side effects of statins, fortunately very rare, are liver failure and rhabdomyolysis - in which there is damage to muscles. 

There are other ways of lowering cholesterol such as eating healthy diet, maintaining proper body weight and shape, and exercising regularly or any type of physical activity. 

Brian Yusem runs a nutritional coaching and counseling facility that specializes in overall wellness programs, can certainly help you with a healthy diet and fitness regime. 

Brian Yusem can be contacted by email at and for further information you can visit his website at

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