Cholesterol treatment often includes a combination of medication plus diet changes and exercise. If you're having trouble sticking to your treatment, you're not alone. Apparently, medication noncompliance (not taking your medication as prescribed) is very common – affecting as many as 40% to 50% of people who have chronic health conditions, such as high cholesterol.
So, why are people not sticking to their treatment? There are many different reasons. The first is that people think cholesterol is "just a number." Because they don't feel it, it doesn't bother them. They're often not aware that high cholesterol is linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Many people also don't stick to their treatment because of concerns about side effects. The most commonly reported side effects of cholesterol pills are muscle-related problems. However, they can be managed by implementing different strategies, and these side effects are rare in some medications. The risks for muscle-related side effects also vary depending on individuals. Given the benefits of taking these medications, it's important to consult with a doctor or pharmacist to come up with the best treatment plan that meets your needs.
Information is another factor that comes into play. Doctor's visits are often quite short. People may not be sure what questions to ask during the visit or they may feel overwhelmed or intimidated during the visit. As a result, they may not have the information they need to make a fully informed decision about the risks and benefits of the medication. It is helpful to be as specific as possible when asking questions, and come prepared with a list of questions to ask during your visit.
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