Drugs and surgery can help to control coronary heart disease.
Statins are drugs that help to lower cholesterol in the blood. They do this by lowering its production in the liver.
Statins are prescribed for people with heart disease or who have a high risk of developing coronary heart disease. They need to be taken long-term. Cholesterol levels will rise again if a person stops taking them.
Some studies have raised concerns regarding the side-effects of statin use, while others believe they can bring additional positive benefits.
Statins are not suitable for everyone – they should not be prescribed for people with liver disease, or for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Some patients taking statins experience side-effects such as headaches and memory loss. There have been reports of statins being linked with type 2 diabetes and liver damage.
Coronary arteries that are blocked or have become narrow can be stretched open by a process called angioplasty. An uninflated balloon is inserted via a guidewire into a partially blocked artery and inflated. The inflation of the balloon forces the blood vessel to widen. A stent could be inserted to restore and maintain blood flow.
Most people know that a poor diet leads to ill health. It could be high in fat which often leads to obesity, or low in fresh fruit and vegetables which means low in vitamins and minerals. This can lead to deficiency diseases like scurvy. Most people also know that regular exercise is important to maintain good health. The NHS recommends that young people do an hour of exercise every day. Most people also know that taking drugs can lead to ill health. This includes illegal drugs, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Small changes in lifestyle can often have big effects on health.
|Statins - a daily medication to control blood cholesterol levels||Drugs reduce blood cholesterol levels||May cause side-effects|
|Angioplasty - surgery to insert a small balloon into a blood vessel which is then inflated to remove a blockage||Improved blood flow in coronary vessels preventing heart attack||Sometimes only a temporary measure|
|Changes to lifestyle - diet and exercise, stopping smoking etc||Reduces risk of heart disease and reduces blood pressure||A high level of willpower is required to maintain the changes|