Statins are a group of pharmaceutical drugs that reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. Your doctor might recommend you take a statin if you suffer from, or might develop cardiovascular disease in the future. Yet, this study found that some statins can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 46%.
This is a huge concern since type 2 diabetes increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Yes, that’s right - some people take statins to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, but develop diabetes, which increases their risk of developing cardiovascular disease! However, that's not all. Statins have a long list of common side effects that includes headache, nausea, digestive problems and muscle and joint pain.
The above study involved over 8000 Finnish men that did not have diabetes at the start of the study. Researchers followed up with the men after 5.9 years and found that more of the men taking statins developed diabetes, than those that did not take a statin drug.
Of the participants that were taking a statin, the most common was simvastatin. The researchers found that both simvastatin and atorvastatin increased the risk of diabetes. What’s more, they found that the higher the dose of statin, the higher the risk of developing diabetes.
The researchers did mention that details from previous studies suggests that pravastatin and perhaps some other statin drugs may decrease the risk of developing diabetes. However, though side effects from statins such as pravastatin appear to be less common than for other types of statin, there still remains the small risk of developing severe muscle pain, tenderness and weakness with these medications.
I believe that food should be the first resort in medicine. However, it is the case that some people have an inherited condition which means they have very high levels of cholesterol and might always need to take a statin. Yet, most people can probably lower their cholesterol by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. I’ve written about healthy diets such as the Mediterranean diet and methods to lower cholesterol without statins before.
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