(WYTV) – Many people take statins, which are medications designed to lower cholesterol and save our hearts.

So who should be taking a statin drug?

If you’re at risk for heart disease, your doctor may want you on it. But what is a statin?

Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez works in Cardiovascular Medicine at The Mayo Clinic. He says statins are medications that reduce the amount of cholesterol your liver makes.

“Cholesterol builds within plaques that accumulate and grow inside of the arteries,” said Dr. Lopez-Jimenez. “Sometimes to the point that those arteries will be blocked.”

Blocked arteries can lead to coronary heart disease, but are statins for everyone? Those who would benefit the most are people with a history of heart attacks and strokes.

A diet of less processed meat and more grains, fruits and vegetables is also important, but diet and exercise may not be enough as some people are genetically prone to produce more cholesterol and a statin can help control that level.

Your best bet is to take your medicine and see your doctor regularly so they can check your numbers.