Lately, we hear a lot about statins. Some media stress out the potential risks they bear, while others present them as the best medicine ever. Confusing, is it not? A recent research reveals us the truth about statins, and how they affect the cardiovascular health of the people who use them.


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What Are Statins?

The first statin ever produced is the mevastatin, isolated from fungi. A number of other statins are also obtained in a similar way. But, most of these drugs are of completely synthetic nature. These types of drugs block the enzymes that the body needs to synthetize cholesterol. The end result should be lower levels of the bad cholesterol in the body.

Clinical studies show that all these drugs, which lower the cholesterol levels in the body, reduce the risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent. In the US alone, according to some estimates, this type of medicine is used by over 33 million people.

Are Statins Worth The Risk?

Even though some people refer to statins as the best medicine for heart problems and high cholesterol, they are not for everyone. This is a serious drug that should not be used lightly. It should come in hand with a balanced diet and regular exercise, and is by no means a substitute of a healthy lifestyle.

According to a research conducted by David Newman, people who don’t have a heart disease don’t show improvements in the cholesterol levels, when on a statin therapy. On the contrary, they experience more damage than help. For instance, 10 percent of the participants in the research experienced muscle damage, while 1.5 percent developed diabetes.

Who Should Use This Drug?

People with an increased risk of heart disease should use statins. This risk is defined by age, total blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and the fact if the patient is a smoker or not. Also, family history and genetic predispositions should be taken into consideration.

Before making a decision whether to use this type of drug, consult with your doctor, who should take into account your specific health risk factors.

In addition, statins are not the only way to cure cholesterol problems. Have you considered a healthy diet and regular exercise? They are quite effective!

Pregnant women should certainly avoid the use of statins. Also, when combined with certain drugs, statins can have dangerous interactions and side effects. Thus, always consult your doctor prior use.

What Are The Risks?

Even the best medicines in the world carry certain risks, including statins. The FDA has requested the manufacturers to labels these drugs with all risks associated with their use. Some of them are memory loss, confusion and diabetes, due to the increased blood sugar levels.

Even though the blood sugar increase is small, for people who already have higher blood sugar levels, this might mean suffering from diabetes. As far as memory loss is concerned, this side effect is rare and fully reversible.

Studies also show an increased risk of cancer, especially in elderly people. Also, these drugs can cause a progression in patients who already suffer from breast cancer, prostate cancer and bladder cancer. One might ask, how do statins increase the risk of cancer? By lowering the immune system and making the organism more prone to cancer development.

A much more common side effect is muscle sensitivity, which can be with quite strong intensity. It occurs in 5 percent of patients. For this reason, if you happen to have muscle pain due to the use of a certain statin, consult your doctor to switch to a different type of the drug.

While some people tolerate statins very well, others frequently can experience side effects such as:

  • Elevated blood sugar levels
  • Memory loss
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Headaches
  • Troubles sleeping
  • Scaling skin
  • Skin rash
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, weakness
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Reference:
Study: Statins DON’T Lower Cholesterol but INCREASE Cancer and Memory Loss Risk
Controlling Cholesterol with Statins