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September 6, 2012
Statins are special medications which are designed to reduce cholesterol levels and work by interrupting the activities of certain substance that our body requires to produce cholesterol. Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor, Zocor and Pravachol are among the most commonly used statins. They are recommended to those patients who have high cholesterol (above 235-240 mg/dL) in those cases when it is necessary to decrease high cholesterol levels as soon as possible, or in those cases when other cholesterol lowering techniques (a special diet, plenty of physical activities, giving up smoking and other bad habits, using herbal remedies and homemade solutions for cholesterol lowering, etc.) did not help achieving good results. High cholesterol is linked to high risks of such serious conditions as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and others.
Despite the fact that statins are actually very powerful cholesterol lowering medications and can help lots of people to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, they are not recommended for a prolonged use since they can trigger certain unwanted effects and cause other quite serious health conditions. The most common statins side effects include nausea, constipation, diarrhea and other digestive problems, damage and pains in muscles, flushing and skin rashes, liver damage, neurological conditions, as well as increased blood sugar and high risks of type 2 diabetes. The minks between diabetes and statins were known before and there were pretty many researches and scientific works carried out to study these connections. Another important disadvantage of statins is the fact that in order to enjoy their effects, one should take such medications as a lifelong treatment.
Recently, the findings of one very interested study related to the effectiveness of statins were published. A group of experts from Columbia University, New York, discovered that statins are actually more effective for men than for women, therefore, they can work better in preventing strokes and heart attacks in modern male patients. These conclusions were made after analyzing extensive data on 43,000 American people, males and females. The experts found out that using statins can assist men in decreasing their risks of dying from a heart attack by up to 21 per cent, and reduce their risks of having a stroke by 19 per cent. At the same time, in women these risks are far not as significant as they are for men.
These findings, actually, contradict with one other recent researches, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. According to the conclusions of that study, statins have the same effects on women, which are about 20 per cent cut risks of a stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases. In addition, it is important that the scientists from Columbia University failed to find the causes of the phenomena they observed. ‘The reason for this difference is uncertain. One possibility is that the small sample size of women limits the power of the study,’ said Jose Gutierrez, one of the authors of the study and a Vascular neurology specialist at Columbia University Medical Centre, New York. He suggested that hormonal differences could play a role, too.
It is estimated that about 8 million adults in today’s United Kingdom are using statins to support their health, despite the risks and dangers linked to statins side effects. According to the research of an expert group at Oxford University, for the year 2011 statins saved the lives of over 2,000 men and women in the country. These medications play a role in preventing cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, and statins are considered acceptable lifetime treatment for those who suffer from high cholesterol, obesity and other risky conditions. At that, most of the experts, including Shah Ebrahim, Professor of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, are sure that both men and women can used statins to benefit from.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.