What Causes Anxiety

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Anxiety may be caused by a mental condition, a physical condition, the effects of drugs, or a combination of these. The doctor’s initial task is to see if your anxiety is a symptom of another medical condition.

Common causes of anxiety include these mental conditions:

These common external factors can cause anxiety:

  • Stress at work
  • Stress from school
  • Stress in a personal relationship such as marriage
  • Financial stress
  • Stress from global occurrences or political issues
  • Stress from unpredictable or uncertain world events, like a pandemic”
  • Stress from an emotional trauma such as the death of a loved one
  • Stress from a serious medical illness
  • Side effect of medication
  • Use of an illicit drug, such as cocaine
  • Symptom of a medical illness (such as heart attackheat strokehypoglycemia)
  • Lack of oxygen in circumstances as diverse as high altitude sickness, emphysema, or pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the vessels of the lung)

The doctor has the often-difficult task of determining which symptoms come from which causes. For example, in a study of people with chest pain — a sign of heart disease — 43% were found to have a panic disorder, not a heart-related condition.


Statins are a type of medication used to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood and protect the insides of the artery walls.

High levels of cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits building up in your arteries which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and can lead to angina, heart attack and stroke.

Why do I need to take statins? 

You may be advised to take statins if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke in order to reduce your risk of another event. If you have peripheral arterial disease statins can help to slow the progression. If you are diabetic, you are at a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and taking statins will help to reduce this risk.

Even if you’re in good health, you may be prescribed statins if you’re at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, for example, if you have a strong family history of cardiovascular disease. Statins can help lower your risk. A research study has also suggested statins can help reduce your risk of stroke if you’re aged over 65.   

Why do I need to lower my cholesterol?

Cholesterol is essential for your body to work well, but too much ‘bad cholesterol’ (called low-density lipoprotein or LDL) is unhealthy. Statins reduce the amount of ‘bad cholesterol’ your body makes.

High levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ in your blood can lead to fatty deposits building up in your arteries. This can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which includes conditions such as coronary heart disease (leading to angina and heart attack) and stroke.

Your body will always make cholesterol so if you stop taking a statin, it’s likely your cholesterol levels will rise. If you are prescribed a statin, you need to take it every day. Statins are most beneficial when you take them on a long-term basis.

When should I take my statin?

It’s important to take your medication regularly as prescribed. Most statins are taken at night, as this is when most of your cholesterol is produced. Check with your doctor or pharmacist when you should be taking your statin.

Most statins come as tablets. The most common one is simvastatin. Look up your medication on the Medicine Guides website.

Are there any foods, drinks or other medications I should avoid?

Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any other medications. Taking certain medicines together may affect how well they work.

If you’re taking simvastatin or atorvastatin, avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice as they can increase your risk of side effects.

If you take another type of statin, limit your intake of grapefruit juice to very small quantities or you may want to avoid it all together.

What are the side effects of statins?

Like all medication, statins have potential side effects. The most common are muscular aches and pains, but many people experience none at all. 

A research study suggested that in very rare cases statins may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However statins are among the safest and the most studied medications available today. 

If you do experience side effects, or if your side effects change or become worse, tell your GP.

Statins target the liver cells where cholesterol is made. Before you start taking statins, you will have a blood test to check how well your liver works. Your doctor may request that you have a follow-up blood test a few months later. If your liver is affected, your doctor may want to reduce your dose or change your statin to another kind of medication that lowers your cholesterol.