Are Statins Good For Our Health Biology Essay

It is quite clear that, nowadays, millions of people in the world are suffering from high serum cholesterol. Approximately 50% of Americans have high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a kind of waxy fat found in the blood. It is found in all the cells of the body, particularly in brain and nerve cells and is the main building blocks, which constitutes the cell wall. About 60% of human brain is consists of cholesterol and essential fats. Although it is mostly made in the body, some can be obtained from foods such as dairy products, meat and cooking oils. It plays a vital role in human body as a structural component of cell membrane. Another essential role is that it plays in cell functions, particularly in stabilising the cell membrane and controlling fluidity. However, having excess cholesterol level in the blood May results in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol is also a major role player in chronic diseases, heart attack and stroke diseases. Nevertheless, statin drugs are there to fight against it.

Cholesterol, however, is consists of fat that does not mix with water. Cholesterol cannot travel abound the body on its own because it does not dissolve in water. So that to carry this in the blood stream it has to be carried by special proteins called lipoproteins. Proteins are the main carriers of cholesterol around the body. Cholesterol together with their carrier proteins is called lipoproteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins namely, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The high-density lipoproteins are a protective type of cholesterol while low-density lipoproteins are the harmful one. Low-density lipoprotein, which is essential for growth and repair, is really bad when it comes to depositing arteries causing diseases. While this cholesterol is circulating through the bloodstream, it tends to deposit in the walls of arteries. Whilst attempting to protect blood vessels, white blood cells convert low-density lipoprotein into toxic substances and hence more white blood cells and other cells migrate to the area. This migration of cells and low-density lipoprotein creates inflammation in the artery; eventually the on-going process generates a bump in the artery wall and slowly blocks the artery. The narrowing and blockage of arteries leads to an increase in the risk of heart attack from a sudden blood clot in the artery.

Whereas, high-density lipoprotein is a biological hoover,(not a scientific phrase!) which goes around and sweep out the bad excess low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and transporting back to the liver, where it can be reprocessed. This cholesterol acts as a maintenance crew for the inner walls of blood vessels and chemically scrubs it, cleans and keeps it healthy. The risk is particularly high if one has a high level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and low level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

The only way to know cholesterol level is to have blood test. There are some people who are more likely to have raised cholesterol level. This includes people who has been with heart attack, diabetic or has blood pressure. Moreover, cholesterol tends to rise with ages, as one gets older it is more likely that cholesterol level rise up. It also tends to be much higher in men than in women.

Treatment for raised cholesterol level is quite complex. First of all we need to make sure that we are conducting our life style appreciably. It is crucial to pay attention on our dietary fats, cooking methods and shopping to ensure that having balanced healthy diet. For some people, however, just living healthy style is not enough when the cholesterol level remains rose. It is important to discuss with your doctors or any other heath consultant to be assessed properly for your cholesterol level as this disease may associate with your other risk factors such as smoke, family history, blood pressure and so on.

Some people will approach level of risk where medication is indicated. The commonest pills taken by people are statins. Perhaps over hundred million people around the world are now taking real common treatments.


Statins have proven themselves not only very effective in lowering cholesterol level, but also in reducing the chance of heart attack quite considerably.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the western world and contributes considerably to health care budgets. However, several research results have shown the beneficial effects of lipid lowering statins in reducing mortality and cardiovascular morbidity.

Statin medicines are the most potent and popular group, specifically prescribed to prevent heart diseases, which are caused due to increased amount of cholesterol or triglyceride in an individual. These are commonly used to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood. Statins are most effective at lowering the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, but also have modest effect on lowering triglyceride (blood fats) and raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This group includes atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin.

How statins work in the body

Statins can potentially produce the required result by working on enzymes, which involve in producing cholesterol in the liver. They do this by blocking the action of a certain enzyme, which is intended to make cholesterol. They mitigate the risk of cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme (write it out once, then abbreviate) HMG-CoA reductase in the liver, which result in decrease cholesterol synthesis and increase synthesis of low-density lipoprotein acceptor. This leads to a rise in clearance of low-density lipoprotein from the bloodstream. Moreover, this is most likely to help in reduction of cholesterol and also work on reduction of low-density lipoprotein in our body. These drugs are also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

Statins compete for space with enzymes thereby inhibit, and eventually minimize the rate at which it is able to produce mevalone. This results in ultimate reduction cholesterol. This inhibition is essential as most circulating cholesterol comes from internal manufacture rather than does from diet. Studies show that cholesterol synthesis tends to occur mostly during the night. Therefore, statins are usually prescribed to be taken at night to improve effectiveness.

The top selling class of prescriptions is the statin drugs, which more than 25 million prescriptions have been dispensed throughout the world and still heart disease is the leading cause of death in the western and other developed countries.

How to use these medicines

These groups of drugs have broadly similar nature and form, despite some such as atorvastatin comes on a tablet to be taken by mouse. Whereas, others like fluvastatin are found as a capsule and as extended-release tablet to be taken by mouth. These are usually taken once a day with or without food at around the same time every day. Sometimes, however, the capsules are taken twice.

The first result is seen after a week of use, whereas the effect is maximal in four to six weeks. Directions on the prescription label must be followed carefully. Doctors, pharmacist, and other consultants are ready to explain any part whichever is not clear to the patient. These groups of drugs are not safe for pregnant women because, although cholesterol plays an essential role in embryonic development, statins could cause embryonic mutation or even death.

Benefits of statins

Statins are prescribed with a supplement CoQ10, essential enzyme for the creation of ATP molecule, to mitigate health risk because these drugs deplete the body CoQ10 which results in adverse effect. The enzyme CoQ10, which produced mostly in liver, is required to function some organs properly, particularly heart as it has the highest energy requirement. Moreover, as the body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness and sore will appear and eventually leads to heart failure. As cholesterol is needs by our body to make vitamin D, the anti-cholesterol drugs (statins drugs) indirectly reduce the body's natural ability to generate vitamin D

Statins and heart disease/stroke

For those who are suffered from heart attack, or stroke, or have existing cardiovascular disease, taking statin medicines can benefit them. Provided that one is being treated every day, results in cut the risk of heart diseases and strokes by a third. The drugs are believed to work not only on people with normal cholesterol levels but also on people with very high levels. It is also reported that for effective heart disease prevention, statin treatments have to be provided for most men from middle age onwards and for older women. The most important thing that should be considered is statins can increase insulin resistance which is extremely harmful to human health that contributes to chronic inflammation in the body. The risen insulin resistance causes heart disease. If someone is at high risk of heart disease or stroke and he takes this group of medicines for 30 years, he is estimated to live an extra nine months. For those who are with diabetes, it is recommended to take statins to ward off cardiovascular problems. Statins are also most likely to reduce the risk of dementia as well as ease some symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Moreover, these drugs can trigger the suicide of some cancer cells.

Statins' side effects

It is most likely for every medicine at higher doses eventually causes severe side effects or perhaps less drastic. Likewise, it is certain that statins have substantial negative impact which can considerably affect quality of life. They have the potential to cause several side effects provided that they are used improperly and over dosage. These groups of medicines are believed to cause well tolerated, and raised liver enzymes and muscle problems are the most common adverse effect. Despite being quite rare, long term use of drugs can increase the risk of nerve damage. It is very controversial whether statins promote risk of cancer or not. However, some studies report that they reduce risk of their colorental cancer.

Statins can occasionally cause inflammation or swelling and damage to muscles. The excess release of creatinine kinase in the blood leads to muscles to inflame or swell. If the level of ceatinine kinase (an enzyme found in the brain, skeletal muscles and heart) in your blood is more than fivefold it may be recommended to stop taking the treatment.

Furthermore, as regular exercise sometimes leads to a rise in creatinine, it is ideal to speak with you GP.

Statins and diabetes

People with diabetes are more likely to be in risk of heart attacks and strokes than the normal one, and most of the deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease. Statins are expected to increase diabetic risk by raising blood sugar. When people eat a meal that contains excess sugar, some of the excess sugar goes to liver and stores there as cholesterol or triglyceride. As statins prevent the liver from making cholesterol, sugar returns to bloodstream and raises blood sugar level. It also reported that long term use of statins shown an increase risk of higher blood pressure level and rose risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Statins cause memory loss

After statins have been in the market for years and large number of people takes them, they are expected to have side effects. Investigators found that, perhaps very limited, risk among men and women, age 50 or over, of memory loss or change in the way they think. Nevertheless, this problem disappears when medication used are discontinued.

Statins cause muscle pain

Researchers found that provided that someone is taking statins, these medicines can damage muscles without showing any noticeable symptoms. The inhibition nature of statins has the potential to cause skeletal muscle damage that might not always exhibit clear pain symptoms particularly in those who are not active. The more people sit for a living and are not dedicated to physical activity, the weaker they become without ever noticing it. They do this by damaging muscle fibres, eroding cell walls and altering the way muscles work. This does rarely make chronic pain symptoms that did not exist prior to having started statin taking, primarily appears in athletes and other active individuals who exercise regularly. A person who depends more on muscles is more likely to notice minor damage. This perpetual damage caused by statin use will likely persist long after the medication is ceased.

Statins and malaria

Lovastatinis has proven that adding with traditional antimalarial treatments lowers neuron inflammation and protect against cognitive impairment in a mouse model of cerebral malaria. There is a small variation between mouse model of cerebral malaria and human disease. However, statins are considered to use in clinical trials or cerebral malaria. Malaria is one of the leading infectious diseases in the world, particularly in tropical countries. It is a parasitic infection which can transmit to humans through a bite of female anopheles mosquito. What is more, cerebral malaria is more severe and potentially fatal disease that transmitted by Plasmodium falciparum. Furthermore, statins are proven to be active to regulating a variety of immune system responses by reducing white blood cells accumulation and leakiness in blood vessels in brain.


If statins are come together with other categories of cholestero-lowering drugs such as fibrate it is most likely that a rise in risk of rhabdomgolysis to occur. This may lead to an increase the risk of dose related detrimental effects. Consequently, patients undergoing therapy with statins are not recommended to consume grapefruit juice.

Factors affecting blood level of cholesterol

Cholesterol level tends to vary depending on what diet you eat. However, there is a chance of having different cholesterol level between different individuals who eats the same diet. Generally, if you eat less fatty food in your diet your cholesterol level is likely to go down. However, cholesterol level can be raised by obesity, drinking too much alcohol and some rare kidney and liver disorders.

Leading risk of raising cholesterol level is unhealthy diets such as liver, kidneys and eggs, which contain huge amounts of cholesterol. Once again, animal origin foods such as meat, hard cheese, butter and lard, pastry, cakes biscuits and creams are high in saturated fat, which is harmful to the body.

Naturally occurring statins

Some types of statins are naturally occurring and can be found in such foods as oyster mushrooms and red yeast rice.

Healthy life style

There is an urgent and extreme need that people should be aware that there is no reason to be dependant cholesterol-lowering drugs and suffer their damaging health effects. It is clear that 75 per cent of body cholesterol is generated by the liver, which is activated by insulin levels. The primary method to modulate cholesterol level is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Cholesterol level can be optimized by modifying balanced diet. It is recommended to optimize vitamin D, grains and sugars, high quality animal-based omega 3 fats like krill oil, and other healthy foods such as olive oil, coconut, raw nut and seeds. What is more, doing daily exercise and avoid smoking or drinking excessively is of paramount importance. And also having good and restorative sleep is extremely crucial to keep you healthy. These lifestyle strategies have, unlike drugs which lower cholesterol level at the expense of your health, holistic approaches that will promote the overall health issues.


All aspects considered, it is certain that people with high cholesterol in the blood have high rates of heart disease. Western countries, USA, Canada and Australia, which have high saturated fat consumption, have higher cholesterol level and high death rates from heart disease. The potential advantages of taking statins to a patient at high risk of cardiovascular problems may outweigh the risk of side effects such as increased level of fatigue.

Nevertheless, the opposite could be true in a person at low risk of cardiovascular problems. This balance may differ from patient to patient, and therefore it should be decided on a patient-by-patient basis by the doctor and the patient, and people should not stop taking their statins based on this news.

It is strongly recommended that to lower down cholesterol levels, one has to lead healthy lifestyle. I mean, by healthy lifestyle, is doing regular exercise, having balanced diets, stopping excessive drinks and smoking and have good night sleep.