NEW DISCOVERY TO REDUCE CHOLESTEROL

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally. And one of the major culprits involved — in arteriosclerosis, for example — is cholesterol. There is therefore a considerable need for an effective method of treatment against increased cholesterol. Now, Danish researchers have made a discovery that may change how it is treated.
The researchers have identified a new so-called receptor system, located in all the cells in the body. The receptor, which is called sortilin, has a decisive influence on the protein PCSK9, which is of great importance for the body’s ability to deal with the harmful LDL cholesterol.
New strategy for cholesterol treatment
Ten years ago it was discovered that the level of LDL cholesterol fell if you inhibited PCSK9. PCSK9-inhibiting drugs have since become the new hope within cholesterol treatment and the first products will probably be approved this year. The discovery is one of the biggest biomedical success stories in recent times, as it is normally takes 20 years before basic research can be converted into a product. The high pace and great focus on the effect has, however, meant that only a few people have conducted research into how the body itself regulates PCSK9.
Possible alternative to statins
The positive effect of inhibiting sortilin has been demonstrated in mice and studies in humans suggest that the same correlation is present here. The next step is now larger studies on humans. The hope is that the discovery can be used to develop medicine that can act as an alternative to statins, which are the most widely used cholesterol-reducing medication. Particularly because not everyone can either tolerate or benefit from statins.






CHOLESTEROL AND STATINS

Statins are a family of medications that lower cholesterol. Even more important, they lower the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Statins include atorvastatin (generic, Lipitor), fluvastatin (generic, Lescol), lovastatin (generic, Mevacor), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (generic, Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (generic, Zocor). The new guidelines recommend a statin for:
-anyone who has cardiovascular disease, including angina (chest pain with exercise or stress), a previous heart attack or stroke, or other related conditions
-anyone with a very high level of harmful LDL cholesterol (generally an LDL above greater than 190 milligrams per deciliter of blood [mg/dL])
-anyone with diabetes between the ages of 40 and 75 years
-anyone with a greater than 7.5% chance of having a heart attack or stroke or developing other form of cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years.
How is this different from the previous guidelines? They recommended specific cholesterol targets for treatment. For example, people with heart disease were urged to get their LDL cholesterol down to 70 mg/dL. The new guidelines essentially remove the targets and recommend basing treatment decisions on a person’s heart risk profile.
In other words, anyone at high enough risk who stands to benefit from a statin should be taking one. It doesn’t matter so much what his or her actual cholesterol level is to begin with. And there’s no proof that an LDL cholesterol of 70 mg/dL is better than 80 or 90 mg/dL. What’s important is taking the right dose based on heart attack and stroke risk.






Consider Statins a Lifelong Commitment

Statins are drugs that can lower your cholesterol. They work by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has built up in plaques on your artery walls, preventing further blockage in your blood vessels and heart attacks.
You may think that once your cholesterol goes down, you can stop taking medication. But, if your cholesterol levels have decreased after you take a statin, you’ll likely need to stay on it indefinitely. If you stop taking it, your cholesterol levels will probably go back up.
The exception may be if you make significant changes to your diet or lose a lot of weight. Substantial lifestyle changes may help you lower your cholesterol without continuing to take the medication, but don’t make any changes to your lifestyle or medications without talking to your doctor first.
The side effects of statins
Although statins are well tolerated by most people, they do have side effects, some of which may go away as your body adjusts to the medication.
Common, less serious side effects:
-Muscle and joint aches (most common)
-Nausea
-Diarrhea
-Constipation






What are Statins?

Statins are a class of medicines that are frequently used to lower blood cholesterol levels. The drugs are able to block the action of a chemical in the liver that is necessary for making cholesterol.
Although cholesterol is necessary for normal cell and body function, very high levels of it can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition where cholesterol-containing plaques build up in arteries and block blood flow.
By reducing blood cholesterol levels, statins lower the risk of chest pain (angina), heart attack, and stroke.
Several types of statins exist such as atorvastatin, cerivastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, mevastatin, pitavastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, and simvastatin. Atorvastatin and rosuvastatin are the most potent, while fluvastatin is the least potent. These medicines are sold under several different brand names including Lipitor (an atorvastatin), Pravachol (a pravastatin), Crestor (a rosuvastatin), Zocor (a simvastatin), Lescol (a fluvastatin) and Vytorin (a combination of simvastatin and ezetimibe). Mevastatin is a naturally occurring statin that is found in red yeast rice.