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INDIANAPOLIS–Statin therapy may be right for you if you visit the doctor and the lab work says you have too much bad cholesterol. One Indiana cardiologist says he believes in statins because they can reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke by 25 percent.

The story of statins

“Statins are basically a class of drug that have been around since the 1980s, that reduce cholesterol levels in the body primarily by reducing cholesterol production,” said Dr. Dave Kovacich, with Franciscan Health Indianapolis.

He said he never tells a patient that he’s prescribing a statin to reduce cholesterol levels, but rather to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Kovacich said over 78 million Americans, or just over a third of all adults, are eligible for statin therapy or are already taking a statin, according to the CDC, but a recent survey indicates as many patients are not being prescribed the medication.

The risk calculator and diabetes

He said the “ten-year risk calculator”, or a test to determine how susceptible you may be to a cardiac event, can also be an indicator of whether you should be on a statin drug. One group that is at highest risk for developing cardiovascular disease is people with diabetes.

“For diabetics between the age of 40 and 75, we want to be aggressive in dropping their LDL levels because that will reduce their risk of having an event,” he said. An event could be fatal.

He said lab work will not alert you or doctors to a possible blockage.


What about the muscle tissue issue?

Kovacich also said it is not likely that you’ll destroy muscle tissue in your legs by taking a statin.

“In the real world you hear a lot more complaints about muscles. But, when you switch back and forth from placebo to active therapy, patients can’t tell the difference.”

He said with an active compound like statins, there’s always a risk. So, you should make sure you tell your doctor about any pain.

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