Posts Tagged ‘statins’

Cholesterol: the New Approach to Managing Your Cholesterol Levels

November 3, 2015

I am 72 years of age and have a family history of heart disease in both of my parents. I have been very concerned about heart health and my cholesterol level. This blog is intended to discuss the new numbers and what you need to know about using medication to lower your cholesterol levels.

More than a quarter of Americans older than 40 are taking a statin, a number that could rise to 46 percent of people aged 40 to 75 under the newest prescription guidelines, especially now that almost all statins are available as inexpensive generics. A recent study showed that prescribing statins under the new guidelines could cut in half the number of people who develop clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease.

Because statins are cheap, as well as effective and safe for most people, doctors often prescribe them for otherwise healthy patients with elevated cholesterol, even if they have no other cardiovascular risk factors. Yet many who could benefit — including people with established heart disease and serious risk factors like smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure — who are not on a statin for reasons that include reluctance to take daily medication, and concern about possible or actual side effects.

While best known for their ability to lower serum cholesterol, statins also reduce artery-damaging inflammation that can result in a life-threatening blood clot. By lowering cholesterol, statins also appear to stabilize plaque, artery deposits that can break loose and cause a heart attack or stroke. And they may cleanse arteries of plaque that has not yet become calcified.
Instead of striving for a target level of, say, under 200 for total cholesterol and under 100 for LDL, the new guidelines, put forth by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, focus on four main groups who could be helped by statins.
1. People who have cardiovascular disease, including those who have had a heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, transient ischemic attack or surgery to open or replace coronary arteries.
2. People with very high levels of LDL cholesterol, 190 milligrams or above.
3. People with an LDL level from 70 to 189 milligrams who also have diabetes, a serious cardiovascular risk.
4. People with an LDL level above 100 who, based on other risks like smoking, being overweight or high blood pressure, face a 7.5 percent or higher risk of having a heart attack within 10 years.
Gone are the recommended LDL(low density lipoprotein)- and non-HDL(high density lipoprogein)–cholesterol targets, specifically those that ask physicians to treat patients with cardiovascular disease to less than 100 mg/dL or the optional goal of less than 70 mg/dL. According to the expert panel, there is simply no evidence from randomized, controlled clinical trials to support treatment to a specific target. As a result, the new guidelines make no recommendations for specific LDL-cholesterol or non-HDL targets for the primary and secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Bottom Line: The new guidelines identify four groups of primary- and secondary-prevention patients in whom physicians should focus their efforts to reduce cardiovascular disease events. And in these four patient groups, the new guidelines make recommendations regarding the appropriate dose of statin therapy in order to achieve relative reductions in LDL.

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Erectile Dysfunction High Cholesterol? Statins An Option For ED

February 16, 2015

ED affects millions of American men and many of these men have high cholesterol levels which causes narrowing of the blood vessels all over the body including the blood supply to the penis. Now there is evidence that statins, drugs used to lower the cholesterol level, may offer help for men with ED. statin – not only to improve their quality of life but also to reduce their future cardiovascular risk.

The study from treated men with high cholesterol levels and a history of ED with statins 6 months and the men had improvement in their sexual health-related quality of life and reduced their risk of heart disease.

A greater benefit was seen in men with severe ED treated with statins who had improvements of 12% versus 5% in men who did not receive a statin.
Improvement in erectile function (on the International Index of Erectile

Bottom Line: If you have either ED or an elevated cholesterol level, speak to your doctor about using a statin, which not only improves your quality of sexual life but also reduces your future cardiovascular risk.

Are Statins Responsible For Placing Your Sex Drive In the Tank?

October 22, 2014

Statin therapy prescribed to lower cholesterol also appears to lower testosterone, according to a new study that evaluated nearly 3,500 men who had erectile dysfunction or ED.

Current statin therapy is associated with a twofold increased prevalence of hypogonadism or low T a condition in which men don’t produce enough testosterone.

About one of six adults in the U.S. has high cholesterol, according to the CDC. The number of people using a statin (such as Lipitor or Zocor) rose from 15.8 million people in 2000 to 29.7 million in 2005.

The Italian study evaluated 3,484 men with complaints of sexual dysfunction between January 2002 and August 2009.

Of that total, 244, or 7%, were being treated with statins for their high cholesterol. Most often the statin was simvastatin (Zocor) or atorvastatin (Lipitor).

The researchers calculated the men’s total testosterone as well as free testosterone, the amount of unbound testosterone in the bloodstream.

When they compared men on statins to those not, the men on statins were twice as likely to have low testosterone.

The researchers emphasize they have found a link between statins and lower testosterone.

One possibility is that low testosterone levels and the need for statin treatment share some common causes.

Some researchers also have looked at the possibility that the statins’ inhibition of cholesterol synthesis may interfere with the production of testosterone, which depends on a supply of cholesterol. The statins may disrupt the body’s feedback mechanism to instruct it to make more testosterone.

Bottom Line: There appears to be documented study that links statin use to low testosterone. If you have symptoms of low T, lethargy, decreased sex drive, or erectile dysfunction and are using a statin, speak to your doctor. He will likely order a testosterone level and suggest hormone replacement therapy if the T level is low or provide you with suggestions to lower your cholesterol that don’t require the use of statins.

Alzheimer’s and Statins-What’s the Situation?

September 27, 2014

We have all heard of suggestions for preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s disease (AD) including physical exercise and crossword puzzles. Now we know that statins, which are used for treating high cholesterol levels, may prevent AD.

Multiple studies have showed that statin use was associated with a slightly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s or any type of dementia than not using statins.

Bottom Line:  Currently, there’s not enough solid evidence to recommend taking statins to prevent dementia. In the meantime, however, if your doctor has prescribed a statin to lower your cholesterol, know that when you take your daily pill you may be protecting your brain as well as your heart.