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Healthwise: Keeping Your Cholesterol Level Healthy

July 6, 2011

Medication called Zocor, or Simvastatin, is used to help patients regulate their cholesterol. Health officials warn that taking larger doses of the medicine could cause other health problems.

"There's been some research that indicates that Zocor which also goes by the name Simvastatin has a potential muscle toxicity at increased doses specifically in the 80 mg dose," explained Dr. Michael Sty, of Spring Creek Family Medicine.

Patients who take Zocar are already concerned about their cholesterol levels, but now some say they are also worried about the pills causing muscle problems such as aches and pains.

Dr. Michael Sty, has been working to set the record straight, saying the muscle symptoms do not affect everyone and you may not have to switch your medication.

"What I've seen is if they've been on the medication for more than a year on the 80 mg dose and they haven't had any symptoms it would be safe to continue on that dose as long as it's applicable for them. Other people, if you're noticing muscle aches or muscles cramps go ahead and stop the medication and call us and let us know," said Sty.

Sty says once you come into the office for an exam, the symptoms can be fixed often by switching to a lower dose or changing to another common medication.

Regardless of whether you are taking Zocor or not, Sty says it is a good idea for people to pay attention to their cholesterol levels.

"Cholesterol is a huge component of cardiovascular disease in both primary prevention and secondary prevention," said Sty. Whether you are trying to decrease your risk of a heart attack or stroke before it happens, or if you are working to prevent cardiovascular conditions from reoccurring, there are several steps you can take.

Sty recommends changing eating habits and walking more.

"For diet, we like people to start a low saturated fat diet, foods would include fish tuna salmon, tree nuts," said Sty. "I would recommend first for exercise at least 120 minutes of cardiovascular every week."

Sty says modifying these areas in your lifestyle could make all the difference in your health because taking care of your body today, will help you stay healthy in the future.

If patients have concerns about Zocor or maintaining a healthy cholesterol level, Sty recommends making an appointment with the doctor to get them checked out.

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