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September 01, 2014 06:00 PM

Statins Can Help Keep Heart Problems At Bay

Sioux Falls, SD

Steve Becker has gone through a few lifestyle changes to improve his heart health.

"Six months ago, I went to the doctor and I had a quarterly checkup and my A1C was up to 9.4 and he told me that's too high," Steve Becker said.

Becker admits at first he didn't pay much attention to his diet.

"I thought I could eat what I wanted to and I'll just take the pills. Well, I was eating what I wanted to and the pills weren't working so I had to come up with a different solution of I have to eat better, I have to eat right,"  Becker said.

Eating right is now a priority for Becker. He's a Type-II diabetic but not insulin dependent, and that's something he doesn't want to change.

"I am controlling it on diet and every once in a while I cheat and my numbers go up a little but I am pretty dedicated. Going to insulin was not an option so this is enough motivation to keep me off insulin," Becker said.

Dr. Ray Allen says about 28 percent of South Dakotans are obese and about 14 percent are diabetic -- both of which are strong risk factors for developing coronary artery disease especially if there's a family history.

"If you have high cholesterol, your LDL's elevated and you've got a brother who had coronary artery disease before age 55 than your risk is more than 20 percent of the next 10 years," Allen said.

High-risk patients may decide to take certain medications.

"Statins have been the one drug that over the years has been shown in multiple studies to reduce the risk of coronary disease and improve the mortality rate," Allen said.

But for now, Becker is doing fine without them.

"If I would have continued where I was, eating how I wanted to like I said I would have been on insulin some of the lifestyle changes is what did it for me to get off statins," Becker said. "It was healthier too, I lost 23 pounds and I feel good."

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