Cholesterol Home > Statins for Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your healthcare provider may prescribe one of the various types of statin medications that are available. Technically, statins are known as "HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors," and are effective medications for lowering cholesterol. Some have even been shown to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other similar problems.
When using statins for cholesterol, the medication works by inhibiting a particular enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase, which controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. This causes the liver to make less cholesterol. Statins also:
- Increase the liver's ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)
- Increase HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)
- Decrease triglycerides.
In general, cholesterol treatment begins with lifestyle changes (weight loss, exercise, and a low-cholesterol diet). However, if lifestyle changes alone do not lower cholesterol to a desirable level, medication such as statins may be necessary. The main goal of high cholesterol medication is to lower LDL cholesterol levels enough to reduce your risk for developing problems such as heart disease or a heart attack.
(Click Statins for a complete overview of using statins for cholesterol treatment. This article also discusses how these medications work to lower LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol, and decrease triglycerides.)