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Statins are medicines that lower your cholesterol and your risk for a heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. If you have too much cholesterol, it can build up in blood vessels. This raises your risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Statins lower cholesterol by blocking how much your body makes. This prevents cholesterol from building up in your blood vessels. This is called hardening of the arteries. It is the starting point for some heart and blood flow problems, such as coronary artery disease. Statins may also reduce inflammation around the buildup (called plaque). This can lower the risk that the plaque will break apart and lead to a heart attack or stroke.
A heart-healthy lifestyle is important for lowering your risk whether you take statins or not. This includes eating healthy foods, being active, staying at a healthy weight, and not smoking.
Examples of statins include:
Statins interact with many medicines. So tell your doctor all of the other medicines that you take. These include prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, and natural health products.
Take a statin regularly so that it can work well. High cholesterol doesn't make you feel sick. That's why some people may not feel that they need to take their medicine. But it's important to take your statin because it can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Talk with your doctor if you have side effects that bother you.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: September 7, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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