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Hypercholesterolaemia and Simvastatin

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Hypercholesterolaemia Symptoms and Causes

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that's found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese.

If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries. This buildup of plaque is known as atherosclerosis. It can lead to coronary artery disease, where your coronary arteries become narrow or even blocked.

What are HDL, LDL, and VLDL?

HDL, LDL, and VLDL are lipoproteins. They are a combination of fat (lipid) and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. Different types of lipoproteins have different purposes:

  • HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called "good" cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
  • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called "bad" cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
  • VLDL stands for very low-density lipoprotein. Some people also call VLDL a "bad" cholesterol because it too contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. But VLDL and LDL are different; VLDL mainly carries triglycerides and LDL mainly carries cholesterol.
What causes high cholesterol?

The most common cause of high cholesterol is an unhealthy lifestyle. This can include

  • Unhealthy eating habits, such as eating lots of bad fats. One type, saturated fat, is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods. Another type, trans fat, is in some fried and processed foods. Eating these fats can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Lack of physical activity, with lots of sitting and little exercise. This lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Smoking, which lowers HDL cholesterol, especially in women. It also raises your LDL cholesterol.

Genetics may also cause people to have high cholesterol. For example, familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited form of high cholesterol. Other medical conditions and certain medicines may also cause high cholesterol.

What can raise my risk of high cholesterol?

A variety of things can raise your risk for high cholesterol:

  • Age. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. Even though it is less common, younger people, including children and teens, can also have high cholesterol.
  • Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
  • Weight. Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.
  • Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.
  • Weight. Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.
What health problems can high cholesterol cause?

If you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture (break open). This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow in a coronary artery.

If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, it can cause angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.

Plaque also can build up in other arteries in your body, including the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain and limbs. This can lead to problems such as carotid artery disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.

How is high cholesterol diagnosed?

There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high cholesterol. There is a blood test to measure your cholesterol level. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:

For people who are age 19 or younger:

  • The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
  • Children should have the test again every 5 years
  • Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke

For people who are age 20 or older:

  • Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
  • Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years
How can I lower my cholesterol?

You can lower your cholesterol through heart-healthy lifestyle changes. They include a heart-healthy eating plan, weight management, and regular physical activity.

If the lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. If you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still should continue with the lifestyle changes.

Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Check out the latest treatments for hypercholesterolaemia

hypercholesterolaemia treatment research studies

Simvastatin clinical trials, surveys and public health registries


Find Drug Side Effect reports



Simvastatin Side Effects

Rhabdomyolysis (1122)
Myalgia (992)
Renal Failure Acute (459)
Blood Creatine Phosphokinase Increased (458)
Fatigue (445)
Pain In Extremity (403)
Muscular Weakness (399)
Asthenia (367)
Arthralgia (352)
Muscle Spasms (301)
Pain (282)
Dyspnoea (268)
Dizziness (261)
Nausea (236)
Diarrhoea (221)
Alanine Aminotransferase Increased (217)
Fall (217)
Gait Disturbance (195)
Headache (194)
Myositis (193)
Malaise (187)
Myopathy (180)
Back Pain (166)
Amnesia (163)
Vomiting (160)
Insomnia (157)
Depression (156)
Rash (154)
Aspartate Aminotransferase Increased (152)
Renal Failure (143)
Liver Function Test Abnormal (141)
Abdominal Pain (140)
Chest Pain (134)
Blood Creatinine Increased (133)
Confusional State (130)
Hypoaesthesia (126)
Paraesthesia (126)
Feeling Abnormal (123)
Memory Impairment (122)
Anxiety (117)
Myocardial Infarction (112)
Weight Decreased (111)
Cough (107)
Pruritus (107)
Condition Aggravated (106)
Cerebrovascular Accident (104)
Tendon Rupture (103)
Hepatic Enzyme Increased (101)
Abasia (98)
Mobility Decreased (98)

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Recent Reviews

I been on simastatin 20gms for 4 yrs. I remember I did had a rash last Aug 09 and it was realy itch. After 2 wks of suffering. I finally made Appt. with my Dr.. They schelule me for the following week. The day I planed t

:(vvery dissy imsoniac light headness.................. =-O

A few months ago my doctor prescribed 40mg simvastatin to take one before bedtime ,and he never told me anything about the side efect of thid drug,I have started feeling some muscle pain and abdomnel paint that was later on after I started taking the

Blurred vision, like I was looking through water around the outside of my eyes, then very dizz, faint but not fainting--this has happened twice, I was shaky and weak after--it was frightening.....

Extreme muscle pain in legs, shoulders, neck and back. already had fibromyalgia and this was worse than any pain had previous to taking simvastatin. I was on it a yr. I had chonic insomnia, chest pain like pneumonia, so tired couldn't hardly move. co

Hair loss

Has anyone taking this medication after a year,expierenced headaches?

Have been on Zocor for almost 10 years with no problems but 6 months ago started getting rash on my left side which seems to be less annoying with good skin lotion. I also take some vitamin pills that have 1000% niacin(for building good HDL) and Niac

I am taking 40 mg of simvaststin and my hair is really falling out bad. it stated this after i've been on the drug for awhile. should i stop taking it to see will my hair stop coming out from the root?

I can certainly sympathize. I began taking 40mg dose of Zocor inNovember of 2009 three days a week. Took for 6 months. Had blood work done in March. Cholesterol level dropped to 206. Doctor

Hypercholesterolaemia Clinical Trials and Studies

Treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Healthy volunteers say they participate to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. Participants with an illness or disease also participate to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from the clinical trial staff.