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Three Things You Should Know About Taking Statins That Lower Cholesterol

New guidelines were released earlier this month on who should take statin drugs to reduce cholesterol.

New guidelines were released earlier this month on who should take statin drugs to reduce cholesterol. It turns out that those cholesterol numbers we’re so obsessed with may be less important than risk factors.

Amid controversy over the recommendations, we take a look at what statins are and how they work. In Vital Signs, KERA’s Sam Baker spoke with Dr. Roberto Wayhs, a cardiologist withMethodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas.

Three Things To Know About Statin Drugs

How do they work? Statins can lower your cholesterol by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol. The drugs may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol built up in plaques on your artery walls, preventing further blockage in your blood vessels and heart attacks.

Should you be on a statin? It depends on your cholesterol level, along with your other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as family history, inactive lifestyle, high blood pressure, obesity, having diabetes and smoking.

Lifestyle is still key for lowering cholesterol Dr. Wayhs says taking a statin is not a pass. Successful results call for combing the medication with good lifestyle choices: No smoking, a healthy diet low in fat, salt and cholesterol, exercise 30 minutes a day most days of the week, and manage stress.

For more information:

New Drug Guidelines Q&A

Controversy Over The Heart Risk Calculator

Statins: Are these cholesterol-lowering drugs right for you?

How Statins Work And The Side Effects Of Statins

Health Checkup: Cholesterol

Things To Know About Cholesterol

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.