If you want to know more about statins and cholesterol, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about statins, how they work, and the long-term use of statins. Remember that you should always ask your doctor or healthcare professional for more specific information or for advice.
What are statins?
Statins are usually prescribed to those of us with elevated cholesterol levels. They work by reducing production of LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol in the body, bringing the total level down.
If you’ve never had a cholesterol test or it’s time for your check-up, it’s important to schedule in an appointment with a healthcare professional to have it checked. They will then perform a cholesterol test and let you know whether you have raised cholesterol levels and might need statins for high cholesterol.
How do statins help lower cholesterol?
To explain how statin medicines work, it’s best to first talk a little about how blood cholesterol levels rise in the first place.
The body needs some cholesterol for all kinds of vital tasks: it’s one of the things that make up our cells. So the liver makes (or rather, synthesises) some cholesterol itself. Cholesterol can also be formed from the food we eat, usually from saturated fat. The problem arises when levels get too high, and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol starts to build up in the arteries.
To help solve this problem, statins reduce the amount of cholesterol the liver synthesises in the first place. The result is less cholesterol in the bloodstream – it’s as simple as that.
Remember: cholesterol levels go up and down throughout our lives, so you can’t technically ‘cure’ elevated cholesterol for good. If you’ve lowered your cholesterol through healthy eating or long-term use of statins, it’s worth remembering that if you stop doing those things, they can go back up again.
Can I take statins for high cholesterol and eat Flora ProActiv?
Flora ProActiv products help to lower cholesterol through the power of plant sterols*. And because plant sterols actually do this in a different way to statins, you could use both.
Plant sterols do their good work in the gut: because they are very similar in structure to cholesterol, they compete with it for absorption into the bloodstream, and less is absorbed, reducing the amount of LDL-cholesterol in the blood. This doesn’t interfere with anything statins might be doing as they work in a different way, so the effect is accumulative.
However, you’re already on cholesterol medication, it’s important to consult with your doctor before using ProActiv.
What else can I do to lower cholesterol?
There are other things that you can do to help lower cholesterol:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Eat less saturated fat, and more unsaturated fat
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight
It’s also a good idea to take steps towards a more heart-healthy lifestyle overall:
- Stop smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Drink alcohol only in moderation
- Avoid stress, and relax more
Again, none of this will clash with statin use, and every little helps!
Whether you have just been recommended statins for high cholesterol or have an ongoing prescription, the best person to talk to about any statin questions is always a healthcare professional. They will be able to provide you with all the information that you need on statins, heart health care, and managing your cholesterol levels.
If you are looking for more information on how to lower your cholesterol, then download our Cholesterol Lowering Starter Kit. With useful recipe ideas and healthy lifestyle tips, it will help you to make a start today!
* A daily intake of 1.5 – 2.4g sterols can lower cholesterol by 7 – 10% in 2 – 3 weeks as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.