When I am considering prescribing something to help a patient maintain healthy cholesterol or good blood pressure levels, I often select drugs that can treat plaque instability at the same time—baby aspirin and statin therapy.
And, as much as I strongly disagree with the use of statin therapy for treating isolated high LDL cholesterol levels when heart disease is not apparent, I endorse statin therapy in situations where direct measures need to be taken to limit inflammation in anyone with documented coronary artery disease and to treat lipid disorders.
Researchers comment that we still lack the evidence to start pulling out the prescription pad and routinely ordering statin therapy for anyone who has calcified heart valves. However, if you already have this condition, and are on a statin drug to treat your lipids, you should know that you may be improving your valvular function as well—or at least keeping it from worsening with age.
Statin therapy has been known to help stabilize plaque in acute coronary syndromes, so it’s logical to me that it has a probable impact on the calcification process and may also prevent plaque ruptures. In fact, research shows that patients who were admitted to a hospital on statin therapy, and had these medications discontinued while treatment focused on heart attack or unstable angina, actually did not fare as well as those who continued to take their statins. Something about statin therapy obviously assists in stabilizing unstable plaques.
Complementary Treatments to Statin Therapy
Anyone taking a statin drug for an appropriate reason should be chasing it down with a minimum of 200 mg of standard CoQ10.
Low-dose aspirin—i.e., one baby aspirin a day or one half of a standard adult aspirin every other day—is known to help maintain good blood pressure levels and has also been shown to help prevent coronary events in patients with known coronary artery plaque. It will help reduce CRP levels, which lowers the risk of inflammation, resulting in fewer cardiac events. I also recommend chewing on one adult aspirin while you wait for an ambulance if you think that you may be having a heart attack.
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