Typically, the major health benefits of taking statins outweighs the minor side effects. The medication is used to lower cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of a deadly heart attack or stroke. Statins do save lives, but if you’re feeling generally achey all over the body, and it lasts longer than a few days, you might need a different dosage. The cholesterol charity Heart UK said: “If you experience this don’t ignore it, you should talk to your doctor.”
Be prepared to keep taking your statins until you get the most up-to-date advice on your situation from the doctor.
Trials involving more than 170,000 people have shown that statins reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
In addition, the study revealed that for every 1mmol/L drop in LDL cholesterol there was “an important drop” in a person’s five year risk of cardiovascular disease.
What’s LDL cholesterol?
There are two types of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL cholesterol is the kind that can stick to the side of blood vessels (i.e. artery walls).
The arteries are responsible for delivering oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the tissues of the body, clarified Web MD.
When there’s too much LDL cholesterol, it can clump together and stick to artery walls, causing the blood passageway to narrow.
As a result, the heart pumps blood more ferociously, trying to force the blood to the body’s tissue (this increases blood pressure).
Should the artery wall become completely blocked by LDL cholesterol, tissues are going to die.
Furthermore, this can interfere with the blood flow to the brain and back to the heart, meaning the person could have a stroke or heart attack.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, picks up excess LDL cholesterol and transports it to the liver.
Once deposited at the liver, the LDL cholesterol is broken down and evacuated from the body.
Thus, the more HDL cholesterol there is, the better; the more the LDL cholesterol, the more risky life becomes.
The overall health benefits of taking statins is the reason why people might decide to just get on with any side effects.
However, the NHS wants people to discuss their symptoms with their doctor if they are bothering them.
Common symptoms can include:
- Feeling sick
- Feeling unusually tired or physically weak
- Digestive system problems, such as constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or farting
- Sleep problems
- Low blood platelet count
The NHS added that any muscle pain, tenderness or weakness that can’t be attributed to physical work needs to be brought to your doctor’s attention.
“Your doctor may carry out a blood test to measure a substance in your blood called creatine kinase (CK),” the NHS added.
Should the results show that the CK levels are five times their normal level, you may be advised to stop taking the statins.
Alternatively, the dosage or brand of statin you are taking might be altered.