After You Have A Heart Attack, Is It Too Late To Benefit From Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs?

The most common cause of death in the country for the past two decades has been heart diseases, more specifically ischaemic heart diseases.

Ischaemia refers to an insufficient supply of blood to an organ or tissue in the body, causing a constant inadequate supply of oxygen. Among many other reasons, this is usually caused by a narrowing or blockage of the artery that supplies the area.

In ischaemic heart diseases, the arteries supplying the heart (known as coronary arteries) become narrowed which lowers the oxygen supply. In the long run, this will lead to permanent tissue death, which is a myocardial infarction, otherwise known as a heart attack.

Some of the major risk factors for the development of heart attacks are:

  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity

Cholesterol and Heart Attacks

Heart attacks happen when there is permanent damage to the tissues of the heart.

Where there are high levels of cholesterol in the blood, there is a higher chance of it building up along the linings of the arteries. This process is called atherosclerosis, and can happen at more than one location at the same time.

Over time, these plaques continue to grow in size and eventually block off the flow of blood completely. In some cases, plaques may rupture, causing blood clots to form and may cause further blocks.

The two types of cholesterol in the blood that many are familiar with are the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as the “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDLs are the type of cholesterol that forms plaques while HDLs work to remove cholesterol from the blood.

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

Having high cholesterol levels usually comes with no symptoms. Many in the community go about their daily lives not knowing about the condition until the symptoms of a heart attack occur. Therefore, the importance of an annual health screening cannot be emphasised enough to ensure heart health.

Heart Specialist in Pune | Centre of Cardiac Science | Jehangir Hospital

Early detection of any disease would allow better tackling of the issue and early intervention. The same goes for having high cholesterol levels. Depending on the severity of it, various methods can be applied, such as diet control and cholesterol-lowering drugs. An example of these are statins, which are a group of cholesterol-lowering drugs that lowers the level of LDL in the blood.

Cholesterol Control After a Heart Attack?

After going through an episode of heart attack, the consensus would be to not go through that whole experience again. However, as many as one in five people who had suffered a heart attack was readmitted into the hospital for a second episode within five years. Statistics have also shown that after the first episode of a heart attack, the chances of getting another is higher. This is why it is imperative to control as many risk factors as possible, especially after the first episode.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs have been shown to be beneficial for:

  • Primary prevention. Reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack, in individuals with high risk.
  • Secondary prevention. Lowering the risk of a second heart attack after the first.

These medications have not only been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks, but they also lower the risk of strokes and death caused by these diseases.

The Bottomline

Cholesterol control is as important after an episode of heart attack as it is before experiencing one. The benefits of cholesterol-lowering medications have been proven over the years to help prevent this. Of course, having a healthy diet is as important as having the right medications and it cannot be stressed enough that being responsible over one’s own health is the first step to improving one’s lifestyle.

Always seek advice from trained healthcare professionals before starting any diet or workout regime, or getting started on any medications. Provide your trusted healthcare provider with all the information and questions in order to have fruitful discussions that will lead to the best possible care.