Staying on Your High Cholesterol Medication

If you take medication for high cholesterol, it's important to take it when and how your physician has directed. Staying on your high cholesterol medication is vital to reducing your risk of heart disease or heart attack. Asking your doctor questions about the medications you take and implementing tips, like posting a reminder note, can help with staying on your high cholesterol medication.

Staying on Your High Cholesterol Medication: An Overview

For most people, living with high cholesterol is a lifelong journey. Many people are able to lower cholesterol levels by:
  • Eating a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol
  • Exercising
  • Losing weight if needed.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, some people will also need to take cholesterol medication prescribed by their doctor to lower their cholesterol.
If your doctor has prescribed cholesterol medications for you, taking your medicine when and how you are supposed to is important for controlling your cholesterol. Without medicine, cholesterol levels will return to their high levels, increasing the chances that certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, will occur, leading to chest pain (angina), a heart attack, or stroke. The following are some suggestions you might find helpful in staying on your cholesterol medication.

Know What Medications You Are Taking and Why You Are Taking Them

The first step to staying on your cholesterol medication is understanding what you are taking and why. Here are some things you can do to better understand the high cholesterol medications you are taking:
  • Ask your doctor what you are being treated for and how each cholesterol medicine helps. For example, if you are taking a statin, you should know that it is for lowering your LDL cholesterol to lower your risk for heart disease.
  • Know the potential side effects of any medications you are taking. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about common side effects associated with the medications.
  • Ask your doctor how your medicine works with your other medications and the foods you eat. For example, some medicines work best if you take them with food, and others work best if you take them at bedtime.
  • Ask your doctor what to do if you miss a dose of medicine or have problems with side effects. It is important that you keep your doctor informed of how the medicine is working for you. It may be useful to ask your doctor for help in completing a chart on all of your medicines that includes the name of the medication, what the medication is being taken for, when to take it, what side effects to watch for, and whom to call if you should have a problem.
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