Should I Take a Statin Drug?

Thursday, 12 Sep 2013 06:39 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: I have had open heart surgery and now manage my blood pressure quite well. How do you honestly feel about statins? My heart specialist feels they are a must for me; my cholesterol is higher than he likes — about 240. What do you think?
 
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
I honestly feel that the statins have been the most useful single medications introduced the past 30 years except for  cancer, antibiotic, and directed cell therapy and tissue culture techniques that have revolutionized medicine as we know it today.
 
As long as you avoid the side effects (which with sensible choices can be minimized and are now quite rare on the third generation agents), we are now able to reverse narrowing of blood vessels without surgery, thanks in large part to statin use. Most physicians, cardiologists and emergency physicians now aim to have their LDL levels as close to 80 as possible with triglycerides of under 150 and HDL over 60.
 
This usually means total cholesterol needs to be under 160-180. Many of us use statin drugs ourselves to maintain these lower goals to not only reduce our risk, but to retard progression and reduce any blockages that may have been there without our knowledge. 

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