Since February is our “Heart Health Month”, I decided to ask one of our stellar cardiologists, Dra. Leslie Swindle a few questions about statins. After all, when I ask someone “what medications are you taking?” large percentages state a statin. I am always surprised when I ask them, “for how long?” and they say “for years”. We then proceed to have a conversation about why they are taking them, do they ever have their cholesterol checked, have they ever discussed with their physician trying to control their cholesterol by diet and for a large part, the answer is no. Obviously these are important questions to be discussed between the patient and their physician!
In layman’s terms, what are statins and what are they used for? They are used for lowering cholesterol levels in the blood, but also as “coronary artery anti-inflammatory” agents, especially in post-myocardial infarction situations.
Do you think that statins are over-prescribed? I think that they are over prescribed, yes. But that is just me. There is a lot of controversy since the 2013 guidelines, which if we had followed, over 50% of the population would be on them! More recent guidelines are more flexible. Doctors can prescribe individually, taking each person into specific consideration, risk factors, underlying diseases as well as number but not JUST numbers.
What are a couple of the most common side effects of statins? Myositis and liver disease. Right now, a large study is showing that dementia can be a possible side effect.
If someone is taking a statin, should they not drink alcohol? One does not need to stop alcohol but yes, limit alcohol intake. Liver function should be monitored with statin use.
Thank you Dra. Swindle!
Please take note of the upcoming speakers programs as we focus on Heart Health:
February 15, 2018 – 9.30 am – Hospital San Javier Marina – “Atrial Fibrillation”. Dr. Carlos Hernandez
February 20, 2018 – 9.30 am – Hospital San Javier Marina – “Cardiovascular Emergencies – when to go to the Emergency Room”. Dr. Adolfo Curiel.
February 27, 2018 – 9.30 am – Hospital San Javier Marina – ““Women and Heart Disease, We Make Even this Difficult!” (Also known as “Women Lie, Even on Their Treadmill Test). Dra. Leslie Swindle.
There is no charge for the speakers programs but space is limited so you must RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to have your blood pressure checked, for the month of February you can stop by Hospital San Javier Marina on Tuesday or Thursday between 10am and 12 noon in the main lobby.
Here’s to a hearty week!