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Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients with heart disease, even if their cholesterol levels already are normal, according to the largest study of the drugs ever conducted. The research, performed at Oxford University in England, could lead to a major shift in the treatment of heart disease--reducing death rates and the need for surgery.
February 27, 2006 | Marc Siegel, Special to The Times
She was in good health, rode horses regularly and, as an articulate attorney, was not one to simply accept my medical advice without explanation. She came in for yearly checkups, and we had developed a good rapport during the last 10 years. Our main discussion concerned her cholesterol level: It generally ranged between 230 and 260, with a "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) measurement of between 140 and 160.
November 6, 2006 | From Times wire reports
A device that helps severely damaged hearts pump may be able to do what was once thought impossible -- reverse heart failure in people who are weeks from death. The left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, can boost the heart's ability to function, allowing it to recover if used with the right drugs, British researchers have found. The team used the device and a combination of heart drugs in 15 patients who had severe heart failure.
June 22, 2009 | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon
In less than two years on Lipitor, I went from being able to climb the ancient temples at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, to being almost unable to walk to my mailbox. I felt like I had the flu all the time. I had pains in my fingers, arms, shoulders, hips, legs and feet. My doctor took me off Lipitor. Four days later, I could move my fingers again. Many readers report that muscle pain can be a side effect of statin-type medications. There may be a genetic basis to this.
July 23, 2007 | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, and and Special to The Times
I have tried many statin drugs for cholesterol, but all gave me muscle pain and cramps. My doctor put me on Zetia and insists it can't cause muscle pain since it is not absorbed into the bloodstream. I still have muscle pain, cramps and tingling in my legs and feet. Can Zetia cause this? Although Zetia works differently from statin cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Lipitor or Zocor, it is absorbed into the bloodstream.
January 14, 2008 | Chris Woolston, Special to The Times
Could you review red yeast rice? I've started taking it in an attempt to lower my cholesterol and stay off statins. Diana Sherman Oaks The products: Lowly fungi have an amazing ability to create compounds that have strong effects on humans (alcohol, hallucinogens and antibiotics, to name a few). As far back as the Tang dynasty in 800, the Chinese harvested a red extract produced by certain types of fungi growing on rice.
November 22, 2013
Re "A second opinion on statins," Editorial, Nov. 19 When it comes to reducing heart attacks, decreasing inflammation in blood vessels trumps reducing cholesterol. Diet and exercise can be just as effective as statins in this area, but many dismiss these efforts. Maybe that's because most of the unimpressive research used a high-carb, low-fat diet. Individuals at risk for heart disease are often insulin resistant. Of course the high-carb approach was ineffective. Second, dietitians and other qualified nutritionists should be reimbursed by Medicare and other insurance plans for doing what they do best.
May 27, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
Small studies had hinted that large doses of niacin might help prevent heart attack or stroke, and hopes were high that this might prove to be the case. Now those hopes appear dashed. The NIH has stopped a trial 18 months ahead of schedule after finding that combining extended-release, high-dose niacin with a statin doesn't seem to reduce the risk of such cardiovascular events. Niacin, or vitamin B3, is often taken to help reduce blood levels of triglycerides and LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, and to boost levels of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol.
December 22, 2008 | By Erin Cline Davis, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Should statin drugs be put in the water, or what? More than 13 million Americans are taking these medications to lower their cholesterol and hopefully stave off heart disease -- a job the drugs appear to excel at. Statins can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol by 20% to 60%. Over time, this can lower the risk of having a heart attack by about the same amount. For many years, it was believed that statins worked solely by reducing blood cholesterol, which can build up in sticky plaques in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, potentially blocking blood flow and causing heart attacks.
August 22, 1999 | From Associated Press
Should you take a statin? It depends on whether you already have heart disease, how high your cholesterol is and whether you have other medical problems that put you at risk. Many people already know their total cholesterol. But to make a decision about statins, it's also necessary to measure the levels of the two major types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. (LDL is the artery-clogging variety that causes heart trouble; HDL helps prevent it.
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