Q What do I need to know about statins?
A Much of the cholesterol in your blood is actually made by your liver. Statins lower your cholesterol level by keeping your liver from making so much cholesterol. When the liver makes less cholesterol, it makes up for the loss by taking more cholesterol from your blood. Statins are recommended for nearly half of all Americans because they can help prevent a first heart attack or stroke. Statins also lower the chance of having a repeat heart attack or stroke in people who have already had one, and in people who have atherosclerotic heart dis-ease. For these people, the goal is to take a statin AND make healthy lifestyle choices.
Sometimes, statins cause muscle pain in the legs and arms (not usually in the joints), which can be worse if the statin is taken with certain other medications. Statins are not all the same; the body breaks them down
in different ways. If you have a side effect with one or more of the available statins, it may still be okay to take a lower dose or take a different statin.