Benefits of Statin Drugs Like Lipitor and Crestor to Lower Bad LDL Cholesterol
Given the role played by low-density cholesterol in the development of the dangerous arterial plaque, today's cardiologists and general practioners will be prone to resort to the use of drugs that can efficiently halt and sometimes reverse this plaque build-up.
The class of drugs known as statins has been developped by the pharmaceutical industry to that precise end. To the patients, these are known as Lipitor and Crestor...etc. While some people swear they will never take prescription drugs, for all kinds of reasons, in the case of statin drugs, the benefits of taking them may outweigh the inconvenience of the side effects.
The net benefit may well be that one stands a good chance of living much longer and of having a better quality of life. Under certain conditions, statin drugs are even reported to reverse, to a certain extent, the plaque build-up in the artery walls.
What are statin drugs? In order to understand what they do, one must know how cholesterol gets in the blood stream in the first place. There are three main sources of cholesterol :
Cholesterol synthesized by the liver, the largest source
Cholesterol synthesized by the cells of the intestinal lining
Cholesterol ingested through the diet, the lesser source, though important also.
In other words, one could eat and ingest "zero" cholesterol and still have a high level of cholesterol in the blood, because of synthesis by our cells. Some individuals will synthesize more cholesterol than others, they are said to be hypercholesterolemic. How come?
The cells of our liver can use substances like "trans" fats, saturated fats, or acetyl coA derived from ingested foods and synthesize cholesterol from them. Of this newly synthesized one, some of it will be the bad low-density cholesterol. In order to be able to use the substances mentionned above in the synthesis process, the cells will a need the help a of a special molecule called a co-enzyme. In this case that special molecule is called "HMG coA reductase". The volume of cholesterol manufactured by your liver is dependant on this co-enzyme. If something interferes with its action, the quantity of cholesterol will fall.
The pharmaceutical companies have thus been looking at ways to inhibit the action of HMG CoA Reductase. The result was the birth of a class of drugs known as Statins.
Long term agressive use (two years and more) has proven their immense value.
*Data from the "REVERSAL" study, conducted by cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic shows that patients treated with 80 milligrams of atorvastatin (Lipitor) showed a regression (or shrinking of atherosclerotic plaque) of 0.4 percent, while they reached on average a very low 79 mg/dl level of LDL cholesterol.
*In another study, called the "FATS" study, searchers came to similar conclusions regarding the size of the plaque build-up: regression was occuring. Some of the clinicians also point out to a 75% reduction in the rate of cardiac events (heart attacks ...etc)
*Doctor Lance K Gould, of the University of Texas at Houston Medical School has very eloquent PET scans to demonstrate improved circulation of blood in the muscle of the heart (called perfusion)
When it comes to event rates, how often cardiac events happen, the record of statin drugs is quite impressive. As the level of LDL-C in the blood falls, so does the frequency of cardiac events. The following diagram ( from a Bayer College of Medicine organization ) illustrates it very well:
Statin drugs, of course also have side effects. These should be discussed with your doctor.
Nevertheless, it seems that using statin drugs is a part of a winning battle plan against heart disease.
Low Density (bad) Cholesterol and Statin Drugs ...Lipitor, Crestor etc.
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