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any of a class of drugs that reduces the amount of cholesterolcholesterol
, fatty lipid found in the body tissues and blood plasma of vertebrates; it is only sparingly soluble in water, but much more soluble in some organic solvents. A steroid, cholesterol can be found in large concentrations in the brain, spinal cord, and liver.
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 in the blood by interfering with the production of cholesterol in the liver; commonly prescribed statins include atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, and rosuvastatin. Statins block hydroxy-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase), a liver enzyme that is key to the body's ability to make cholesterol, and they are technically referred to as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. A statin has no effect on the amount of cholesterol in the blood resulting from dietary intake.

Statins are used to lower cholesterol associated with low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which plays a role in the development of artheroscleroris (the buildup of plaque in the arteries) and coronary artery diseasecoronary artery disease,
condition that results when the coronary arteries are narrowed or occluded, most commonly by atherosclerotic deposits of fibrous and fatty tissue. Coronary artery disease is the most common underlying cause of cardiovascular disability and death.
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, when lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating a heathy diet, increasing physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight, have not proved effective in reducing LDL cholesterol. Statins also reduce triglycerides, which also contribute to coronary artery disease; increase HDL cholesterol (so-called good cholesterol); and reduce inflammation. The most common side effects include headache, nausea, and muscle pain; rare but serious side effects include diabetes and muscle or liver damage.

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