A lot of different pills spilled on a table

Statins are linked to higher levels of aggression in women

Managing your cholesterol levels is an important factor in lowering your risk of heart disease. However, high cholesterol continues to be an issue among Canadians of all ages.

“Among Canadians aged 6 to 79, 39% had an unhealthy level of total cholesterol. The percentage of Canadians who had an unhealthy level of good cholesterol (23%) did not vary significantly by age group. However, unhealthy levels of bad cholesterol increased significantly with age,” says Statistics Canada.

Several forms of drug treatment can be used to help lower cholesterol levels, statins being one of the most popular. What are they?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Statins are drugs that can lower your cholesterol. They work by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has built up in plaques on your artery walls, preventing further blockage in your blood vessels and heart attacks.”

According to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, there are four groups of people who can benefit from taking the drug to treat high cholesterol:

  • People with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
  • People with type 2 diabetes
  • People with a high level of bad cholesterol
  • People who are at a high risk of having a heart attack

Statins are used by more than 3 million Canadians; however, a recent study has found that the drug impacts men and women differently. Everything Zoomer reports that researchers at the University of California found that aggressive behaviour typically increased when the drug was taken by women, but that this behaviour was decreased in men.

The study randomly assigned more than 1,000 adult men and postmenopausal women to a placebo or a statin over a six-month period. Participants did not know what they were assigned to during the trial.

The study found that “statins don’t affect all people equally,” says medical professor and lead author of the report, Beatrice Golomb. “Effects differ in men versus women and younger versus older.”

“Either men or women can experience increased aggression on statins, but in men the typical effect is reduction,” she adds.

While it is no surprise that a drug can have side effects, it does call into question whether or not men or women should look for alternative forms of treatment to avoid experiencing increased aggressive behaviour.

To reduce the risk of having high cholesterol or getting heart disease, it is recommended that people refrain from smoking, be physically active, maintain a healthy weight and eat a diet low in saturated fats and refined carbohydrates.

If you are prescribed statins or any other drug by your doctor and want to explore your options to decrease your medical costs, consider private health insurance in Ontario. Get a free quote from Blue Cross today.