Statins side effects: Digestive troubles may be due to the medication

This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins

Doctors prescribe statins to those they fear would otherwise develop cardiovascular disease. Such a condition is life-threatening, increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. In fact, the NHS stated cardiovascular disease is “the most common cause of death in the UK”. People who already have cardiovascular disease are also likely to be prescribed statins.

This is to help save their lives, essentially. Statins come in tablet form and are typically prescribed to be taken every day.

The life-long medication is needed to keep cholesterol levels low in the blood.

However, statins can interact with other medicines, so you need to be aware if you’re suffering from any adverse side effects.

Although most people tolerate statins very well, if you experience digestive troubles, do speak to your GP.

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Digestive issues include constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion or farting.

On balance, you and your GP will need to weigh up the side effects with the benefits of the medication.

Other side effects may include headaches, dizziness, feeling sick, or feeling unusually tired or weak.

Some people may experience muscle pain or sleep problems, but don’t just grin and bear it.

Discussing side effects with your GP could lead to a dose adjustment or you may be offered to try another type of statins.

There are five types of statins available on prescription in the UK, which are:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Fluvastatin (Lescol)
  • Pravastatin (Lipostat)
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  • Simvastatin (Zocor)

Although uncommon, some people could experience a wide range of troubles with statins.

Side effects of the medication may include hair loss, memory problems, pins and needles, hepatitis or pancreatitis.

What’s hepatitis and pancreatitis?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that causes flu-like symptoms, while pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that causes stomach pain.

Aside from potential side effects, statins do work wonders for cholesterol levels in the body.

However, it’s not a miracle pill, the use of medication needs to be used in conjunction with healthy habits.

It’s beneficial to get into a routine of exercising regularly – enough to do at least 150 minutes per week.

How you choose to do this is up to you, but a good strategy is to do an activity that causes your heart to beat faster for 30 minutes everyday.

Leading a healthy lifestyle involves eating a healthy diet, full of fruit and vegetables.

People who currently smoke tobacco are really encouraged by the NHS to stop.

Moderate alcohol consumption is also important, meaning you don’t drink more than 14 units in a week.

For some people, they may lead a healthy lifestyle and still be genetically inclined to develop high cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia).

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