Dr. Ted Feldman, Medical Director of Prevention and Community Health with Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, says statin drugs are the ones that have been available since 1985 for high cholesterol treatment.
“They block the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver cells where most cholesterol is made, telling the liver cell ‘I need more cholesterol’, so it increases the number of receptors that take LDL from the blood. So, the liver cell has more cholesterol to make all the steroid hormones, sex hormones and cell membranes, and by regulating the receptors and taking more bad cholesterol out of the blood, there’s less bad cholesterol to be put into plaque,” he explains.
Let’s talk about medications now, let’s say you have high cholesterol, you come see dr. Feldman, what’s prescribed as a statin therapy? yes statin drugs really are the drugs that have been available since 1985, the development of statin drugs led to two researchers at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas winning the Nobel Prize, Mike Goldstein and Joe Brown in 1985, what statin drugs do is they block the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver cells where most cholesterol is made, and by blocking the level of cholesterol synthesis, it tells the liver cell I need more cholesterol and it up what we call up regulates increases the number of receptors that take LDL from the blood, into the liver cell, so two good things happen, the liver cell has more cholesterol to make all the steroid hormones and sex hormones and cell membranes that we need cholesterol for, and by up regulating the receptors and taking more bad cholesterol out of the blood, there’s less bad cholesterol to be put into plaque. These drugs have dramatically reduced the morbidity and mortality from coronary artery disease, it’s been said that statins or – atherosclerosis, what antibiotics were too infectious diseases, and I think the prediction is based upon both population levels of bad cholesterol going down, from better nutrition, more exercise and the use of statin drugs that a hundred years from now, when they’re sitting here on all health all the time health channel, atherosclerosis will not be the number one cause of heart disease, and the number one killer of men and women in the United States, the way 100 years back, we were dealing with rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, and with the introduction of antibiotics, we rarely see new cases of rheumatic fever, and we really see new cases of rheumatic heart disease, so these drugs have fundamentally altered the morbidity and mortality the death and disability associated with coronary artery disease, because by reducing bad levels of LDL cholesterol, we make less plaque, and the plaque that we make is more stable, and less likely to cause things like heart attack.