Statins are medications that reduce your risk of a heart attack and stroke by lowering your cholesterol level.
Dr Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist in the United States, says people should combine statins with a heart-healthy lifestyle to get the most benefit.
“If you take a statin and lower your numbers, but you don’t have a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet and food pattern, then you don’t get the benefit of the statin, ” he says.
How can that be?
Dr Kopecky explains that some people ask to be put on a statin so that they can eat what they want.
“It doesn’t work that way, ” he says.
“When you take a statin, your numbers look better, your LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) looks better, but your cardiac events don’t reduce.”
That’s because statins, while important and effective, are just one part of the whole heart-healthy picture.
When you combine a statin with regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling stress, not smoking and eating foods based on the Mediterranean diet, you can improve your heart health.
“A pill doesn’t take the place of a healthy lifestyle. It has to be in addition to it, ” says Dr Kopecky.
He adds that if you work in lifestyle changes slowly over time, you’ll be on your way to better heart health. – Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service
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