Controlling high blood pressure with statins

GEHA | February 20, 2019

blood pressure
Statins can help lower your cholesterol which leads to lower blood pressure.

Do you have high blood pressure? Is your doctor treating it with a statin but you thought statins were for high cholesterol?

Doctors discovered that statins can help lower blood pressure, as well as lower cholesterol. Statins are often prescribed to people with high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in your blood increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes your heart work harder to pump blood and contributes to hardening of the arteries, stroke and heart failure.

Statins work by slowing your body's production of cholesterol, which affects plaque accumulation in your arteries. Lower cholesterol means lower blood pressure, resulting in reducing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).

Statins are very effective but some people experience side effects. One of the most common complaints is muscle pain such as soreness, tiredness or weakness. Other side effects are digestive problems and mental fuzziness. In rare cases they can cause liver damage.

Not everyone who takes a statin will have side effects, but some people may be at greater risk. Risk factors include: 
  • Being age 65 or older
  • Being female
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Having a smaller body frame
  • Having kidney or liver disease
  • Taking multiple medications to lower your cholesterol

If you are taking statins and think you are experiencing side effects, don’t just stop taking the pills. Talk to your doctor to see if a dosage change or different type of medication might be helpful.


Sources:
“Causes of High Blood Pressure.” WebMD.com, WebMD Health News, 22 July 2017.
“Statin side effects: Weigh the benefits and risks.” MayoClinic.org, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), 26 April 2016.
“Statins Lower Blood Pressure.” WebMD.com, WebMD Health News, 11 April 2018.