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Medicine for Cholesterol Control

Close up of senior man taking a pill with a glass of water.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in your bloodstream. If there is too much of it in your blood, it can build up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup can cause dangerous blockages in your arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen to your body. If this involves the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart or brain, it can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke. It can also put you at risk for disease of the arteries in your legs and other places in your body. Depending on your risk, medicine can help you to control your cholesterol and can be important for preventing bad consequences like heart attack or stroke

How medicine helps

Different kinds of medicines can reduce cholesterol levels. Some help lower your LDL (“bad” cholesterol).  Other medicines lower your triglyceride levels. And some have several effects. It may take some time to find the right medicine and dose for you. Taking medicine will be only one part of your cholesterol control plan. You will still need to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise.

Talk with your healthcare provider to find out your risk for having a heart attack. Your provider can set goals with you to monitor if your treatment is working well enough. These goals may vary based on your health issues or family history. Discuss with your provider how often your cholesterol should be checked as part of your treatment plan. Ask your provider if you need to fast before getting your cholesterol checked.

Taking your medicine

It is important to:

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines. It also includes vitamins , herbs, and grapefruit juice

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed. This helps make sure that it works as it should.

  • Try not to skip doses.

  • Don't stop taking it if you feel better.

  • Don't stop taking it when your cholesterol numbers improve.

  • Order your refill before your medicine runs out.

  • Get your follow-up blood tests such as liver function tests and cholesterol levels as advised

Side effects

Medicines that lower cholesterol can cause side effects. These often occur at the start of taking a new medicine. Side effects can include headache and upset stomach. Rarely you can have muscle aches or abnormal liver tests. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience, especially if you are concerned that you might need to stop the medicine.

When to call your healthcare provider

When taking your medicine, let your healthcare provider know if you have:

  • Yellowing of the whites of your eyes

  • Blurred vision

  • Muscle aches

  • Trouble breathing

  • Pain in the right upper area of the abdomen

  • Any side effects that make it hard to take the medicine

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 6/1/2020
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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