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Cholesterol is not in and of itself bad. In fact, your body needs some of it to function. What is bad is an EXCESS of LDL Cholesterol. You’ve learned that your diet can provide both LDL and HDL cholesterol. But your body itself also makes cholesterol. Your liver is the organ that takes the raw elements and creates cholesterol from them.
Some things you eat cause your liver to go overboard and make too much. These substances are saturated fat, trans fat and oils such as palm and coconut oil. While modifying your diet can go a long way to helping your body regulate the cholesterol in your blood, sometimes it’s not enough. Your genetics also affect the cholesterol levels in your body. In those cases, your health care provider may prescribe medications to regulate your cholesterol even better.
These medications fall into several main groups: Statins, Resins, Fibrates, PCSK9 Inhibitors and Absorption Inhibitors. Learn how each of these drugs works below.
Between having a healthy diet, taking prescription medication and getting regular exercise, you CAN beat high cholesterol!
Statins inhibit the liver’s producing cholesterol. They work to lower the LDL Cholesterol in you body. The most common statin drugs are lovastatin, pravastatin simvastatin, fluvastatin and atorvastatin. Statins are the first medication recommended for patients who cannot use diet alone to control cholesterol levels.
Resins cause your body to evacuate cholesterol through your intestines. The names of these medications include cholestyramine, cholestipol and colesevelam. Resins are used when statins either are not effective or have serious side effects.
Fibrates both lower triglyceride levels and also raise HDL Cholesterol levels in the blood. These drugs are gemfibrozil, clofibrate and fenofibrate.
PCSK9 Inhibitors work inside your liver to stop LDL Cholesterol production. Some names of these drugs are alirocumab and evolocumab.
Selective Absorption Inhibitors keep cholesterol from being absorbed in your intestines. One such medication is ezetimibe.
Niacin, while not a drug, also can assist in lowering LDL Cholesterol and raising HDL Cholesterol. Niacin is one of the B Vitamins, also known as Nicotinic Acid. It will limit the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol.