We’ve been told of irrefutable evidence for the benefit of taking “Statin” drugs to lower our cholesterol and in turn decrease our chance of developing heart disease.
In the last year however the FDA has stepped up advice on the RISKS of using Statin drugs.
An example of that type of warning is in the following article.
The article is a bit long but it describes a laundry list of ailments associated with Statin drug use. The most pertinent new warnings stem from new research and retroactive review of patient data going back nearly 2 decades. The FDA currently advises consumers and doctors that:
- Statin drugs have been associated with cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion.
- People treated with statins have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Statin drugs have been associated with muscle and nerve damage.
Ouch! There’s also lots of research already linking congestive heart failure (CHF) to Statin use.
This year we’ve seen a surge in research and interest in the link to developing diabetes.
In August 2012 two new studies surfaced linking statin drug usage to the development of vascular calcification. Vascular calcification represents a key step in the biochemical process of degeneration and plaque formation thought to trigger heart attacks, strokes, and vascular disease.
I’ve attached the links to the abstracts for those interested in specifics.
Bottom line, both trials suggest that people who USE statin drugs FREQUENTLY have ACCELERATED artery calcification, especially in Type 2 Diabetics.
WHAT? This suggests taking a drug that’s “Supposedly” beneficial for heart disease prevention could actually CAUSE an increase in vascular disease….especially in those most prone to vascular disease…..diabetics.
Furthermore, as a physician, I’m told that ALL diabetics should routinely take statin drugs to reduce the risk for heart disease!
You can imagine my confusion when the research suggests statins may cause diabetes in up to 9% of folks taking these drugs regularly?!!
Where the heck am I going with all this?
I’m trying to point out, don’t believe everything the “Research says.” Two different research groups arrived at similar conclusions about the relationship with artery calcification and Statin drug use. As a physician I frequently see the Statin side effects of memory decline, muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, etc. Top it off, many of the most important trials that give us the “Unequivocal” statistical benefits of taking Statins were funded by drug companies or run by researchers with a financial incentive to have particular outcome in the trial.
From my perspective, there’s a couple of key take home points
- Folks on statin drugs should carefully consider their individual risks and benefits with their doctor. Times are changing, and research doesn’t looks so “Slam dunk” anymore. If your doctor seems dismissive, inquire as to whether they have seen the studies linking statins to progression of vascular calcifications…..I’m a physician, it’s really difficult to know what to tell patients. (When in doubt I don’t believe we were born inherently “statin drug deficient.”)
- All recommendations for statin usage indicate that the patient should try an “adequate trial of diet and exercise” prior to initiating therapy–THEN DO IT. All research on exercise, weight loss, smoking cessation, etc has shown positive prevention benefits. NO SIDE EFFECTS, BRAIN DAMAGE, HEART FAILURE, NEUROPATHY, OR INCREASED DIABETES RISK….JUST BENEFIT.
Proper Diet, now more than ever, combined with basic fitness activities appears to be the safest way to help prevent degenerative diseases and common problems like heart disease. I think the jury is still out on statin drugs but it sure looks like the risk vs benefit scale is tipping the wrong way.
Keep your eyes peeled. Remember, health doesn’t come in a bottle. Make the necessary diet, lifestyle, and fitness changes necessary to regain or maintain your vitality.
Anyone interested in natural ways to reduce cholesterol and artery inflammation?