What Are Statins Used For?
Although lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol is the primary use of statins, these medications may also help increase HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels. Statin uses also include decreasing the chances of developing heart disease (such as heart attacks and strokes). Some have been approved to treat high cholesterol in children with a condition known as heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
Statins Uses: An OverviewStatins are a group of prescription medications originally approved for improving cholesterol levels. While this is still probably the most common use for statins, some have been approved for additional uses.
Using Statins for Cholesterol TreatmentStatins are used for improving cholesterol levels in those people who cannot improve cholesterol numbers through lifestyle changes alone. Statins can lower total cholesterol and LDL ("bad cholesterol"), increase HDL ("good cholesterol"), and lower triglyceride levels in the blood. They usually have the most effect on LDL cholesterol, with modest effects on HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Statin Use for Heart DiseaseStatins are also used to decrease the chances of developing heart disease in people who have high cholesterol without any existing coronary heart disease. In this group of people, some statins have been shown to decrease the chances of:
- A heart attack
- Dying from a heart or blood vessel-related problem (cardiovascular disease)
- Needing a heart procedure, such as angioplasty or open heart surgery (known as coronary artery bypass graft surgery, or CABG).
In people who already have heart disease, some statins have also been shown to decrease the chances of developing several conditions, including:
- Heart attacks
- Strokes or transient ischemic attacks (known also as a TIAs or "mini-strokes")
- Loss of life from a heart or blood vessel-related problem (cardiovascular disease)
- Conditions in which a heart procedure, such as angioplasty or open heart surgery, is necessary.
Some statins have been shown to decrease the rate at which atherosclerosis develops in people who have an existing heart disease.