It has been asked of me – What are the side effects related to the taking of Statin medication? And do these side effects and risks out way any supposed benefits? Just to let you know before I get started Cholesterol isn’t the “Bad Guy”. After being prescribed Statin medication clients have noticed increased discomfort, pain in the joints, muscles and with performing general activities. When taken long term there are significant and well documented risks to your health associated with taking this medication that I will share with you in this article, also giving you a clear understanding of how the problem isn’t the increase in your cholesterol levels but that of inflammation and how you can improve your health.
The Statin Myth — It’s Inflammation, Not Cholesterol
Articles written in an attempt to sell the advantages of statin medication drugs have appeared in the most prestigious medical journals in the world. It is important to take note here that many of these have been written by scientists employed by pharmaceutical companies purely to market them with no thought behind the Dangers.
Research has shown that Statin medications increase the prevalence of coronary calcification by more than 50%, therefore increasing therefore increasing even further the risk of heart failure. They diminish brain function when taken over long periods of time.
It has also been found that there is a direct link between elevated cholesterol levels – and an increase with inflammatory markers. An elevation in cholesterol levels is the body’s way of reducing inflammation. Therefore, it is evident that in order to reduce cholesterol that the reduction of inflammation will prove a better and healthier option than taking Statin medication. The Healthiest and most efficient way to reduce inflammation, restoring healthy cholesterol levels, improving heart and circulation is with making dietary changes and improved lifestyle changes this will support a healthier YOU.
Prescribing of Statins to Lower Cholesterol
Statin medications prescribed include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).
Doctors often prescribe statins for people with high cholesterol to lower their total cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. They will also be prescribed after an event of a heart attack or stroke. While statins are highly effective for reducing cholesterol. Increased Cholesterol levels as mentioned is not the health problem here. The health problem that needs to be addressed is Chronic inflammation. Most chronic diseases and conditions, such as metabolic syndrome and abdominal fat, are associated with chronic inflammation.
Further research now has the promotors of Statin medications admitting the problem lies with that of inflammation, not elevated cholesterol, being the cause of atherosclerosis. In this article I will share with you healthy ways that you can reduce inflammation, improve heart, circulation and restore healthy blood vessels without using statin drugs. Stories of old had you believing that you were at increased risk of heart attacks and stroke due to, too much cholesterol in your blood. The higher levels of cholesterol in your blood are produced by your liver in order to decrease the increase of inflammation. Can you see why then cholesterol not only will not help the underlying cause of high cholesterol but will actually cause further problems with the increase of further inflammation.
Side Effects of Statin Medications
- Muscle pain and damage – One of the most common complaints of people taking statins is muscle pain. You may feel this pain as a soreness, tiredness or weakness in your muscles. The pain can be a mild discomfort, or it can be severe enough to make your daily activities difficult. Rarely but sometimes when statins are taken long term or in conjunction with other medication, and where there are other health concerns. Statins can cause life-threatening muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis (rab-doe-my-OL-ih-sis). Rhabdomyolysis can cause severe muscle pain, liver damage, kidney failure and death. The risk of very serious side effects is extremely low, and calculated in a few cases per million of patients taking statins. Rhabdomyolysis can occur when you take statins in combination with certain drugs or if you take a high dose of statins.
- Liver damage – Occasionally, statin use could cause an increase in the level of enzymes that signal liver inflammation. If the increase is only mild, you can continue to take the drug. Rarely, if the increase is severe, you may need to try a different statin. Although liver problems are rare, your doctor may order a liver enzyme test before or shortly after you begin to take a statin. You shouldn’t need any additional liver enzyme tests unless you begin to have signs or symptoms of trouble with your liver. Signs of Liver Damage: Contact your doctor immediately if you have unusual fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, pain in your upper abdomen, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of your skin or eyes.
- Increased blood sugar or type 2 diabetes – It’s possible your blood sugar (blood glucose) level may increase when you take a statin, which may lead to developing type 2 diabetes. The risk is small but important enough that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on statin labels regarding blood glucose levels and diabetes. It is questionable that Statins prevent heart attacks in patients with diabetes. You will still need to be looking a lifestyle and dietary changes for long term health improvement.
- Neurological: Brain – The FDA warns on statin labels that some people have developed memory loss, mental confusion, neuropathy of the brain. Headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and difficulty sleeping
- Digestive Problems: Diarrhoea, Constipation, Abdominal pain and cramps,
Interesting to note that Statins cause an increase in inflammation the underlying cause of High Cholesterol levels. An increase in inflammation that remains chronic, long term will lead to more serious health problems and disease.
Who’s at Risk of Side Effects of Statins
Not everyone who takes a statin will have side effects, however this is becoming very rare. Risk factors include:
- Taking multiple medications to lower your cholesterol
- Being female
- Having a smaller body frame
- Being age 65 or older
- Having kidney or liver disease
- Consumption of alcohol
- People who smoke
- Unhealthy diet of processed, packaged and fast foods
- Illegal or Social Taking of Drugs
- Grapefruit juice contains a chemical that can interfere with the enzymes that break down (metabolize) the statins in your digestive system. While you won’t need to eliminate grapefruit entirely from your diet, ask your doctor about how much grapefruit you can have.
- Some drugs that may interact with statins and increase your risk of side effects include:
Drugs and food that interact with statins
- Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), a medication for irregular heart rhythms
- Gemfibrozil (Lopid), another variety of cholesterol drug
- Protease inhibitors, such as saquinavir (Invirase) and ritonavir (Norvir)
- Some antibiotic and antifungal medications, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin) and itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox)
- Some immunosuppressant medications, such as cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
Hidden Causes behind the Side Effects
Statins work by slowing your body’s production of cholesterol. Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs by digesting food and producing new cells on its own. When this natural production is slowed, your body begins to draw the cholesterol it needs from the food you eat, lowering your total cholesterol. The effects of statins on the liver and kidneys creating additional stress. Cholesterol is a necessary component to brain health so by altering these processes has been found to lead to diminished brain function.
In Summary Potentially Threatening Side Effects of Statin Medications:
- Cognitive loss
- Acidosis an increased acidity in the blood. This is an increase in uric acid that travels to the kidneys causing kidney damage
- Decrease immune function leading to regular bouts of colds and fevers
- Sexual dysfunction – this interferes with hormone messages that are not just required for sexual activity but for other processes as well within the body.
- An increased risk of cancer
- Immune suppression
- Serious degenerative muscle tissue deterioration. A condition known as (rhabdomyolysis).
- Pancreatic dysfunction
- Hepatic/Liver dysfunction (If you have a history at all of any liver conditions such as jaundice, fatty liver) Due to the potential increase in liver enzymes this will have a severe detrimental effect on the liver function. This will not show up in a regular liver function test.
- Thyroid disease
Healthy Regulation of Cholesterol by Decreasing Inflammation
- You may well have realized by now that the risk of taking statins just doesn’t way up when research shows the dangerous consequences and further health risks involved.
- However, if you are a person whom doesn’t want to put into place changes within your lifestyle or diet or for some reason are unable to then statins may be the answer for you.
Avoid Taking Statin Medications & Improve your Health and Quality of Life – Reducing Inflammation “Naturally”
- Balance your Insulin levels by eliminating sugar and grains
- Take a high quality Krill oil and include other healthy omega rich foods such as avocados, almonds, wild caught Atlantic salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, eggs (in moderation), edame (green soy beans), wild rice, walnuts. Vegetables are a great source of omega 3’s these include: sweet potato, cauliflower, kale, spinach, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, radishes and your salad greens such as rocket, baby spinach, watercress. Garlic and onion for healthy immune and circulation.
- Fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C such as capsicum, lemons, grapefruit, rock melon, watermelon, apples, pears etc.
- Yogurt for digestive health, providing you with a great source of calcium.
- Pomegranate seeds and or juice, a great way to protect against plaque and may have a significant effect in eliminating existing plaque.
- Water Drink a minimal of 2 litres of water per day. Aids detoxification and provides essential nutrient transport for brain and heart health.
- Hot Drinks include black coffee (pure, not instant), dandelion tea (great for both heart health and circulation, Green or White tea.
- Your Daily consumption of foods should be over 50% raw for optimal nutritional support and benefits.
- Address emotional challenges, using subliminal, cognitive coaching and support to override negative or self-limiting thought pattern. Find and maintain positive outlets to rise above stress.
- Avoid smoking or being around people who smoke. Keep consumption of alcohol to a minimum.
- Exercise Daily a minimum of 30 – 60 minutes of a combination of 30 minutes brisk walking, 30 minutes plus of yoga or tai chi these improve muscle agility and a peaceful mind. Swimming is a great way to stretch out and improve muscle strength, agility and movement. Always remembering that your heart is a muscle so any exercise that improves muscle strength will improve your heart.