Family means everything to me! I am a daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, wife, daughter-in-law, mother, aunt, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, friend and caregiver. I am proud of all the roles I play and it isn’t something I take lightly. When someone close to me is hurting or ill, I do everything in my power to make it better.
High cholesterol and heart disease are prevalent in my husband’s family and that scares me. My husband and one of my sons started showing early signs of heart disease before age 25. No one expects to hear at age 25 that their heart isn’t working the way it should be. Isn’t heart disease something that only the elderly need to worry about? Unfortunately, in our family, that is not the case.
More than 100 million U.S. adults have high cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease – the leading cause of death in America. To lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease, doctors often prescribe a medicine called a statin. Despite the fact that statins are proven to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease, surprisingly, at least 50 percent of people stop taking their statin within one year of starting it. The good news is there are multiple statins available, and by talking to your doctors, it’s possible to switch to a different statin that works with your personal health regimen.
To understand more about why people stop taking their statin, a recent poll* of more than 5,000 Americans aged 45 + with high cholesterol called the ACTION: The Statin Survey, discovered some interesting findings:
- Only one third (33 percent) of people say their healthcare provider explained why that particular statin was being prescribed when they were first prescribed a statin
- Just 21 percent of patients say that their healthcare provider told them that there are different types of statins available when first prescribed a statin
- Roughly a quarter of patients (24 percent) currently taking a statin say they had challenges with the first statin they took
- Only 18 percent of people say they were told that their prescribed statin medicine could potentially interact with other medications and dietary supplements
I am 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. Take Cholesterol to Heart provides great tools and strategies to help people “master the cholesterol conversation” with their doctor. As you may know, there are multiple statin medicines, so it’s important to talk regularly with your doctor about your treatment plan, including a statin, that is right for you.
Regis Philbin, TV legend and heart disease survivor, joined Take Cholesterol to Heart to share his experience having a conversation with his doctor about high cholesterol and finding the right statin for him. Check out his story in this short video:
Health issues can sneak up on you and taking care of your body should be a top priority. You should be working closely with your doctor to make sure you are getting the best treatment possible. Please don’t be afraid to ask questions and advocate for your own health. You know your body better than anyone else does.
I am here to tell you heart disease and high cholesterol are no laughing matter. Please make sure you know your family health history. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are too young or too fit to suffer from medical ailments, (Remember, our family, age 25.) There is nothing more important to me than family. I want to be able to spend as much time with them as possible. Let’s make sure we all learn more about Take Cholesterol to Heart and keep on living well.
If you or someone you love takes a statin, please visit TakeCholesterolToHeart.com for a number of helpful resources, including a doctor/patient discussion guide, a quiz on statins and tips for caregivers.
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.