The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) say more people should be offered statins to reduce their cholesterol levels.
What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a substance found in the body. It is waxy and like fat. Too much cholesterol in the blood causes ‘fatty deposits’.
What are fatty deposits? A build up of cholesterol. Fatty deposits make arteries narrow, potentially causing heart attacks and strokes.
What are statins? Statins are medicine that lower blood levels of cholesterol. They block an enzyme (in the liver) that is involved in producing ‘bad’ cholesterol. Statins help maintain a healthy supply of blood to the brain. They can help reduce cancer of the gullet (throat).
What are enzymes? Enzymes are in the body and help the body to do things faster. For example, enzymes in the stomach help breakdown food faster so that the food can quickly change and be used as energy.
What are the problems with statins? Statins can cause muscle weakness, diabetes and depression, and erectile dysfunction in men.
How can you lower your cholesterol without taking statins? Have a healthy lifestyle. Exercise for 150 minutes (or more) per week. Avoid foods with high saturated fat: meat pies, sausages, butter, cream and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. If you’re not sure what fruit and veg to eat, or how much, read our blog post Carrots, Apples, Bananas, How Much Fruit and Veg Should You Eat?