In honor of February being American Heart Month, I’m sharing pearls from my conversations with family members about cardiovascular disease. Even though I am an Ivy-League trained nurse practitioner with nearly two decades of experience of keeping patients healthy, I’ve found that even my loved ones doubt my perspective until it is validated by their own medical providers, the CDC, or even (shudder) a celebrity interview.
“Ask for a statin,” I said to my husband. His cholesterol had been climbing on his annual work health screening and starting a regular exercise program hadn’t done anything to bring it down. Long-term research about statins not only shows that they are proven to reduce incidents of heart attacks and strokes, but that they also reduce the incidence of certain types of cancers. They are not for everybody (especially women at risk of pregnancy), but my experience has shown that very few people have side effects while on statins. Those that do can usually reduce their side effects by taking a daily CoQ10 supplement along with the statin.
Even small amounts of extra cholesterol can accumulate in the blood vessels over the years and lead to hardening of the arteries, so treat slight elevations just as aggressively as very high elevations. When it comes to cholesterol management, it is worth investing in your long-term health.
As for my husband, he eventually had a conversation with his own provider, and I had a happy-dance when he came home with a Pravachol prescription.
By Ginger Blake, ARNP at North County Clinic