Myth #: You Could Get Cataracts From Taking Statin Drugs
Truth: Some studies have indicated that there may be a relationship between statin drugs and an increased risk for developing cataracts. However, these investigations have been either conducted in animals or in less-than-rigorous studies.
The best evidence we have comes from high-quality clinical trials in humans, which showed that statin drugs do not increase risk of cataract formation, reports Martin. In fact, some studies even performed eye exams in people over time and showed no difference in eye health between those taking and not taking statins.
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Statin Therapy Is Widespread But Increases Diabetes Risk
Every year, there are more than 250 million prescriptions filled for statins a class of drug used to treat high cholesterol and blood pressure.
A recent study published in Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews concluded that taking statins can actually double a persons risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The study also found that patients taking statins saw a significant increase in their HbA1c.
Used to lower your LDL cholesterol, statins are supposed to improve your overall well-being by reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
For the diabetes population, they are heavily recommended as a critical part of your long-term care, but their impact on your blood sugar, HbA1c, and insulin resistance is concerning.
Get Medical Advice From Your Doctor Not The Internet
Though statins are incredibly effective, there are many different forms of heart disease. Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of men and women in our country, and the epidemic is spreading throughout the world. As long as the battle continues, well continue researching new ways to prevent and treat heart disease.
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The Relapse Rate Of Dyslipidemia And A Comparison Between The Relapse And Nonrelapse Groups After Statin Discontinuation
Of the 62 subjects assigned to the discontinuation group, 49 subjects had an LDL-C level higher than 100 mg/dL at the follow-up examination, which indicated a 79% rate of relapse. In contrast, only one subject of 32 in the maintenance group had an elevated LDL-C level, which demonstrated a significant difference in the relapse rate between groups . When the clinical characteristics of the relapse and nonrelapse groups were compared, the pretreatment LDL-C levels, baseline LDL-C levels, and baseline ApoB levels were significantly higher and the pretreatment HDL-C levels were significantly lower in the relapse group . As a result, the pretreatment LDL/HDL-C ratios , baseline LDL/HDL-C ratios , pretreatment TC/HDL-C ratios , baseline TC/HDL-C ratios , and baseline ApoB/ApoA1 ratios were also significantly higher in the relapse group than in the nonrelapse group, respectively . HbA1c levels and fibrinogen levels were also significantly higher in the relapse group. However, there were no differences in the degree of insulin resistance as measured by fasting insulin level and HOMA-IR or in the proportion of MetS or adiposity as assessed by DEXA, which are the parameters closely related to dyslipidemia.
Is There Any Difference Between The Different Statins
There are a few statins available in New Zealand atorvastatin , pravastatin , rosuvastatin and simvastatin . Rosuvastatin is not subsidized you will need to pay for the cost of this medicine in full. In New Zealand, atorvastatin is the preferred statin and is most widely used. If you have side effects with atorvastatin, your doctor may consider lowering the dose or changing to another statin.
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What If I Forget To Take It
If you occasionally forget to take a dose, take your next dose the next day at the usual time. Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take extra doses.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
Pregnancy Statins And High Cholesterol: What Women Need To Know
The majority of our patients who take statin medications to lower their cholesterol are age 50 and older. However, some younger women can also benefit from taking statins particularly those with familial hypercholesterolemia , a genetic condition that causes extremely high cholesterol, despite the patient’s best efforts with diet and exercise.
Approximately one in 250 people has FH. Statins can help reduce their risk of having a first heart attack by blocking an enzyme the body uses to make cholesterol. While statins areproven to save lives, women who want to become pregnant must consider certain risks regarding statin use.
Statin use during the first trimester has been associated with an increased risk of pregnancy loss. So, we typically recommend that patients go off their statin when trying to conceive, during the pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.
For some women, this break is a year or longer, depending on the patients wants and needs. However, taking this much time off the statin may not be safe for all patients. Women’s cholesterol levels rise dramatically in pregnancy up to 50% between the 18th and 36th week of pregnancy to create functional hormones. Levels may remain elevated up to four weeks after delivery, further increasing an FH patient’s cardiovascular risks.
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Is It Ever Safe To Stop
Statins are generally prescribed for life with the exception of people who lose a substantial amount of weight through bariatric surgery and experience a dramatic decrease in unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Most doctors agree that high levels of unhealthy cholesterol are primarily influenced by our genes and lifestyle changes alone, while helpful, won’t eliminate the risk of heart disease.
Myth: All Cholesterol Is Bad For You
Fact: Some types of cholesterol are essential for good health. Your body needs cholesterol to perform important jobs, such as making hormones and building cells. Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called lipoproteins. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body:
- LDL ,sometimes called badcholesterol, makes up most of your bodys cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- HDL ,or goodcholesterol, carries cholesterol back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, it can build up in the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup is called plaque. As your blood vessels build up plaque over time, the insides of the vessels narrow. This narrowing can restrict and eventually block blood flow to and from your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it can cause angina or a heart attack.
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Ask About Cholesterol Medication
Cholesterol medications such as statins may be the fastest way to lower cholesterol for some people usually within 6 to 8 weeks. This allows a person to quickly reduce their heart disease risk while cultivating a healthy lifestyle. During this period, a person can focus on lowering cholesterol over time with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Because high cholesterol is a risk factor for serious heart health issues, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend statins for many groups of people with high LDL cholesterol.
If LDL cholesterol does not drop enough with diet and lifestyle changes and statins, a person might need additional medications.
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Who Can And Cannot Take Atorvastatin
Atorvastatin can be taken by adults and children over the age of 10 years.
Atorvastatin isn’t suitable for some people. Tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to atorvastatin or any other medicines in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- are trying to get pregnant, think you might be pregnant, you’re already pregnant, or you’re breastfeeding
- have severe lung disease
- have had muscular side effects when taking a statin in the past
- have had, or have, a muscle disorder
Lipitor chewable tablets contain a substance called aspartame – check with your doctor before taking these if you have phenylketonuria .
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Dr Mauricio On Statin Use And Pregnancy
Young women may benefit from taking statins if their low-density lipoprotein is consistently higher than 190 mg/dL, or is consistently higher than 160 mg/dL and they have clinical presentation of FH.
Patients and providers may be concerned that statin use in pregnancy might increase the risk of abnormal fetal development. However, the limited available research suggests that miscarriage may be the greater risk.
A study that reviewed data from thousands of women, approximately half of whom took statins during their first trimester of pregnancy, showed that babies were not at increased risk of birth defects due to statin use. However, patients who did take statins in the first trimester had a higher rate of miscarriages.
Nearly half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, and a woman may not know she is pregnant until several weeks into the first trimester. In these cases, we recommend stopping the statin as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed to reduce the risk of pregnancy loss.
Current guidelines recommend working with your doctor to stop taking your statin for at least three months prior to becoming pregnant. The doctor will likely recommend that you stay off the statin for the duration of pregnancy and for as long as you choose to breastfeed.
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What You Can Do About Muscle Pain From Statins
Keep track of any new symptoms that develop when you begin taking a statin, and report them to your doctor. Some symptoms may go away as you continue to take the medication. If you’re taking the statin preventively, your doctor may try to determine if your muscle pain symptoms are actually due to the statin by suggesting a brief holiday from the drug to see if they disappear when you’re not taking it. However, don’t stop taking a statin without telling your doctor. Although there are no proven remedies for statin-related muscle pain, the following may help.
Exercise. There is some evidence that people who have exercised regularly before taking statins are less likely to experience muscle pain and cramping. Although gentle stretching may relieve muscle cramps, beginning a new vigorous exercise regimen while taking a statin may increase the risk of muscle pain.
Ramp up your lifestyle changes. Commit to an exercise routine, lose weight if you need to, and adopt a heart- healthy eating plan such as the Mediterranean diet. Doing so may enable you to reduce your statin dosage, or possibly even lower your cholesterol enough to enable you to stop the statin. Even if a healthier lifestyle does not lower your lipid levels, it may still lower your long-term risk of heart disease and stroke.
Have a thyroid blood test. If you have a low thyroid hormone level, taking replacement thyroid hormone pills may alleviate muscle pain and can also improve your lipid profile.
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Getting Off Statin Drugs
You definitely dont want to be using statin for the rest of your life. This is mainly because of the side effects associated with its use. When you get off statins entirely, you will need to switch to different cholesterol regulating drugs or adopt a better lifestyle.
Below are top 10 ways to help you stop taking statin drugs:
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Patients need to understand that high cholesterol is governed by your genetics,” said Nissen. “You cant pick who your parents are. Diet alone can decrease your bad cholesterol by 15 percent, but that is not the 40-50 percent reduction that we look for.”
When someone stops taking a statin prescription, cholesterol levels go back up, along with the risk for a heart attack or stroke. After his emergency situation, Pinhas, a father of two, understands that. He’s taking statins again and feels better.
“I go to the gym when I can and I take my meds,” said Pinhas. “I experience some muscle aches but it’s tolerable. I know I have to take these for the rest of my life. We’ll see.”
Dr. Shamard Charles is a physician-journalist for NBC News and Today, reporting on health policy, public health initiatives, diversity in medicine, and new developments in health care research and medical treatments.
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There Are Several Things You Can Do To Prevent Or Minimize The Aches And Pains That Might Accompany Statin Use
If you’re not taking a statin now, you may well be soon. These medications are commonly prescribed to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. They are routinely recommended for people who have cardiovascular disease and for many people ages 40 to 75 who don’t have cardiovascular disease but have at least one risk factor and a 7.5% or greater risk of a stroke or heart attack in the next decade. Moreover, recent research indicates that they may benefit high risk individuals over age 75 as well.
A Reader Complains Of Statins And Nerve Damage:
Q. I have been taking statins for maybe 20 years. The last four years its been atorvastatin, with an increased dose over the last two.
Recently the doctor diagnosed me with peripheral neuropathy. I am not diabetic nor deficient in any vitamin, including vitamin B. Is it possible that atorvastatin is the cause of my neuropathy?
A. Nerve damage leading to numbness, pain or weakness remains a controversial statin side effect. The official prescribing information for atorvastatin lists peripheral neuropathy under the category postmarketing experience.
In other words, this symptom was not detected in the original clinical trials used for FDA approval. It was reported to the agency by patients and health care providers voluntarily, which is why the FDA says it could not establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Researchers have noted, however, that statins have been linked to neuropathy . Cardiologists maintain that there is no convincing evidence for a causal relationship.
On the other hand, neurologists suspect that statins increase the risk for peripheral neuropathy .
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How Do Doctors Decide Who Is Prescribed A Statin
- Have clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease , including those with a personal history of stroke, heart attack, or peripheral vascular disease, and also those who suffer from chest pains
- Have high cholesterol
- Are age 40 to 75 and have diabetes
- Are age 40 to 75 and have an estimated 10-year risk of an ASCVD event greater than 7.5 percent
How To Safely Come Off Statins
Its possible for some people to stop taking statins safely, but it can be especially risky for others. For instance, if you have a history of heart attack or stroke, its not recommended that you stop taking these drugs. This is because youre more likely to have another such problem when you discontinue statins.
However, if you dont have a history of heart attack or stroke and you want to stop taking statins, your first step should be to talk to your doctor. They can help you find out what your risk factors are, and if stopping statins is a safe move for you.
If your doctor thinks that you could safely stop taking your statin, they can suggest a plan for it. This plan may involve stopping statins entirely, or it may involve reducing your statin usage. Another option is to continue taking the statin but to add a supplement. One of these options is likely to address whatever problems taking statins causes for you.
If your doctor will be helping you stop taking statins entirely, some options they might suggest include switching to a different drug or adopting certain lifestyle changes.
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Indications For Using Statins
Statin drugs are generally prescribed for the treatment of high cholesterol levels. Statins have been found to be highly effective for patients who are at risk of cardiovascular disease and can lower the risk of a patient having a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event. Statins are generally prescribed for patients who have not had success with a cholesterol-lowering diet.
Take Lipitor As Directed
Most importantly, take Lipitor as directed at the same time every day. Follow all the directions given by a healthcare provider or provided with the prescription. Most people will take 1080 mg per day. Do not change this dose, skip a dose, or stop the medicine without talking to a doctor or healthcare professional.
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The Science Of Statin Recovery
In my Daily Dispatch articles, I often report on the dangers of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. And last month, I told you about how statins can cause severe nutritional deficiencies, muscle damage, and even cognitive problems. Following that report, a concerned reader asked me if its possible to recover from these harmful side effects. Is there a recovery program for statin drugs?
Of course, there is!
In fact, nearly 900 scientific studies focus on statin damage and/or recovery. Of course, reading these studies can be overwhelming for anyone not in the medical field.
Thats just one reason why you wont hear about statin recovery from the mainstream government-industrial-medical complex. The other reason? Statin drugs are the best-selling drugs in the U.S. And Lipitornicknamed turbo statinis the No. 1 best-selling drug of all time.
But clearly, plenty of men and women out there do stop taking statins because of the side effects.
The good news is, the actual drug starts to leave your body within 24 hours after you stop taking it. But it can leave behind lasting effects in your muscles. And even in your cells.
So you need to be careful about what to do in the days and weeks after stopping a statin regimen. Five critical steps will help support your body as it heals from the damage.
As I explained earlier this month, statins are designed to disrupt normal cholesterol production. And they also cause a lot of collateral damage.
And thats not all