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Statins side effects: Interstitial lung disease among ‘serious side effects’ – the signs

This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins

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Atorvastatin is one of the statin medicines used to reduce the amount of cholesterol made by your body. You might have to take atorvastatin in order to reduce your risk of heart and blood vessel diseases.

Every medication has unwanted side effects that some people may experience and atorvastatin is no different.

Common side effects of this pill include:
• muscle pain
• headache
• constipation
• diarrhoea
• nausea and indigestion
• nosebleeds

“In very rare cases, atorvastatin may cause a disease called interstitial lung disease,” stated the clinical information.

Interstitial lung disease describes a variety of conditions characterised by inflammation or fibrosis of the lungs.

The first signs of how to spot whether you’ve developed this disease are shortness of breath or unexplained cough.

Other symptoms include chest discomfort, fatigue and even weight loss.

In some cases, the damage to the lung is irreversible by the time symptoms occur, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That’s why it’s important to seek medical help when you start experiencing breathing problems.

There are a few other rare side effects linked to this pill.

It is recommended to contact your doctor if you experience any of these:
• muscle cramps particularly if you have a fever as well
• allergic reactions such as swelling or rash

Remember to always read the patient information leaflet before starting any new medication.

Always discuss any concerns and dosage with your GP or pharmacist.

Why do I have to take statins?

Having a high level of “bad cholesterol”, also known as LDL cholesterol, can be dangerous as it leads to narrowing and hardening of your arteries.

This causes the blood flow to reduce which increases the risk of heart or blood diseases like heart attack and stroke.

A doctor might recommend taking statins if you have cardiovascular disease or if anyone in your family suffers from one.

Atorvastatin can help by reducing your risk of heart disease, even when your cholesterol levels are normal.

It also reduces the amount of cholesterol produced by your body.

Cholesterol is a type of lipid produced by your liver from food with high content of fat.

The problem occurs when the concentration of cholesterol in your blood is too high.

Too much cholesterol might not make you feel bad but it can lead to heart diseases and problems listed above due to your arteries getting damaged.

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