It seems that every doctor in this country is writing prescriptions for the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. There are seemingly no boundaries between patients who truly need statin drugs and those who would be better served by altering their elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels with alternative methods.
This is a travesty because statin drugs can produce some very serious side effects.
Don’t get me wrong—for middle-aged men with established coronary artery disease, statins can be a true blessing. That’s because statins have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and may also reduce blood viscosity—true lifesavers in sick patients.
But the current overprescribing of statin drugs to healthy people who merely have elevated cholesterol may potentially have some serious consequences—including an increase in the incidence of heart failure. (Statins deplete the body of coenzyme Q10, a biochemical central to cellular energy production and heart health. Without enough of this critical nutrient, heart failure can occur.)
Who Should Take Statins?
Are you someone who could benefit from these medications? Here are the criteria I use when prescribing statins.
Take a statin drug if you have one or more of the following, regardless of your cholesterol levels:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Severe and symptomatic peripheral vascular disease
- A diagnosis of angina
- Previous angioplasty or a stent procedure
- Previous coronary bypass surgery
- Previous heart attack
Never take a statin even if you have elevated cholesterol levels if you:
- Have no known coronary artery disease
- Have no history of cardiovascular disease among your parents and siblings
- Have no elevated markers of inflammation
WATCH: Is Taking a Statin Drug the Right Choice for You?
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Healthy Cholesterol Levels
What nutrient support do you need if you are taking a statin drug to lower elevated cholesterol? Find out which supplements are a must if you're taking a statin.
What are the different subtypes of LDL and HDL cholesterol? Discover which kinds of cholesterol are most harmful.
What tests do you need to accurately assess your cholesterol levels? Find out which tests can flag the most dangerous subtypes of cholesterol.
Should advanced age play a role in the decision to start statin drug therapy? Learn how age can affect treatment decisions.