Managing High Cholesterol Is Important to Heart Health
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the United States. About every 34 seconds in the United States, someone has a heart attack. 80% of people who have had a heart attack have high cholesterol, a leading risk factor for heart disease. If you have high cholesterol, you may be at increased risk for heart disease.
High Cholesterol and Its Possible Effects
Having high "bad" cholesterol means you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. LDL is low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can build up in your arteries and prevent the blood from getting to your heart. HDL cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol. It carries LDL cholesterol away from your artery walls.
When you have high cholesterol, a thick, waxy plaque can build up in your artery walls. As plaque builds up, the artery narrows and becomes less flexible. If a blood clot forms and clogs an artery narrowed by plaque, you could have a heart attack or stroke.
A healthy artery is open and has a smooth lining (far left). An unhealthy artery contains plaque buildup, commonly caused by high cholesterol.
Work With Your Doctor to Manage Your High Cholesterol
Unfortunately, you may not know you have high cholesterol. People with high cholesterol often have no symptoms. That’s why if you don’t know your cholesterol levels, now is the time to have your cholesterol checked by your doctor.
Your overall cholesterol is important. But guidelines suggest that you focus on your LDL ("bad" cholesterol) level to manage high cholesterol.
LIPITOR (atorvastatin calcium) tablets are not for everyone, including anyone who has previously had an allergic reaction to LIPITOR (atorvastatin calcium) tablets. It is not for those with liver problems. And it is not for women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant.
If you take LIPITOR (atorvastatin calcium) tablets, tell your doctor if you feel any new muscle pain or weakness. This could be a sign of rare but serious muscle side effects. Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and all medications you take. This may help avoid serious drug interactions. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver function before starting LIPITOR (atorvastatin calcium) tablets and during your treatment if you have symptoms of liver problems. Tell your doctor if you have diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including LIPITOR (atorvastatin calcium) tablets.
Common side effects are diarrhea, upset stomach, muscle and joint pain, and changes in some blood tests.