What is the link between cholesterol medication and physical activity?


Physical activity is important at any age. It is known to decrease our chances to suffer from chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, as we grow older.

However different things may prevent us from undergoing physical activity even though its importance, especially in older adults, is very high. Recently, researchers added a new cause for less physical activity which is the use of statins in older men, a significant issue for a population that is already sedentary.

Statins are usually prescribed for high cholesterol levels. The research showed that men who took statins exercised less. Possible causes include the muscle pain that can be a side effect of statin use, and also disruption of the mitochondrial function in cells, which could contribute to fatigue and muscle weakness.

In an analysis of over 3000 men, age 65 or older researchers found that men who took statins averaged about 40 minutes less of moderate physical activity over a one-week period, compared to those who were not taking the medication. That would equate to the loss of 150 minutes a week of slow-paced walking, researchers said.

Of some significance, the study also found that new statin users had the largest drop in physical activity. This could decrease the benefit of the medication, so if someone is already weak, frail, or sedentary, they may want to consider this issue, and consult with their doctor to determine if statin use is still appropriate, concluded the researchers.

Statins work to reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol, while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol. In the body, they block the HMG-CoA enzyme in the liver that’s responsible for producing cholesterol. They’ve been found to be extremely useful for people with high cholesterol and people who’ve had a history of heart attacks, as they prevent the development of plaques in blood vessels....

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