This post was sponsored by Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own.
As a heart attack survivor, a good relationship with my doctors has been very important. Over the years I’ve had challenges with medication side effects, worried about interactions with other medications, and had other frank conversations about what it feels like to live with my health issues. Open communication with my doctors has led to better choices and a better quality of life. My advice:
Your doctor can’t help you if you aren’t open about the challenges you experience – a stethoscope isn’t a mind-reading device!
Many people with high cholesterol take cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, a class of medicines which are proven to be both safe and effective in the treatment of high cholesterol. Statins can reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes, and are one of the best-studied medications according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA). Statins are so effective the AMA also recommends statins for people who have heart disease, or are at high risk for heart disease, even if they do not have high cholesterol.1
As patients, we have to do our part!
Whether you are concerned about side effects, drug interactions, or just wonder why taking a statin is right for you, having a frank conversation with your doctor is essential. Not all statins are the same and you can talk to your doctor about your options.
Here are some tips to have a productive conversation with your doctor about whether you are taking the right statin for YOU:
- Do Your Homework: Take the time to understand how a statin works and the health benefits it provides. You may find this article helpful. I am also proud to support a new educational campaign called Take Cholesterol to Heart to help people understand their treatment options for high cholesterol and motivate them to speak up if they are thinking about stopping their statin.
- Be Realistic: Each of our bodies is unique. What works for me, may not work for you. It sometimes takes fine tuning to find the right fit. Luckily, there are many choices in statins, and they each work differently too. The first one you try may be the right fit. If not, keep the lines of communication open and ask about your options.
- Be Specific: Keeping a log of what you experience with side effects can be very helpful. Tell your doctor HOW the side effects are affecting you. What aren’t you able to do comfortably? What are you avoiding? Has your quality of life changed? This information paints a clear picture of the problem.
- Ask the right questions up front: “Am I taking the best statin for me, or are there other options?” It is easy to get sidetracked and run out of time. Make sure your doctor knows what is on your mind and don’t be shy about asking for another appointment if there isn’t time to discuss your options thoroughly. A stethoscope can’t read your mind! Also, make sure to attend all your appointments and speak up in between appointments if you’re experiencing side effects or symptoms that concern you.
Please, if you are experiencing challenges with your statin, or any medication, talk with your doctor and explore your options BEFORE you stop taking it.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. and should not be construed to constitute medical advice. My personal story and opinions are my own. I am not a medical professional and am not qualified to give medical advice. Please talk with your doctor about your individual medical situation.
*Harris Poll conducted ACTION: The Statin Survey (Understanding Patient Adherence and Concerns with Statins, and Medication Discussions with Physicians) online on behalf of Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., within the United States from July 7- August 4, 2017, among 5,014 U.S. adults aged 45 or older, who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, and have ever used a statin to treat high cholesterol. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Erin Bittner at W2O Group, 212-301-7226.