Statin side effects can cause discomfort as well as long term side effects of diminishing your health even further.
Therefore making it seem like the risks outweigh the benefits of these medically approved cholesterol-lowering medications.
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.
Doctors often prescribe statins for people with high cholesterol to lower their total cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. While statins are highly effective, they have been linked to muscle pain, digestive problems and mental fuzziness in some people and may rarely cause liver damage.
Statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).
Having too much cholesterol in your blood increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Statins block a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. This causes your liver to remove cholesterol from your blood.
If you think you’re experiencing side effects from statins, don’t just stop taking the pills. Talk to your doctor to see if a change of dosage or even a different type of medication might be helpful.
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.
Oddly enough, most randomized controlled studies of statins indicate that people taking statins develop muscle pain at the same rate as people taking placebo. But up to 29 percent of the people who start taking statins report muscle pain and many discontinue statins because of it. Many of these people do well when they are switched to a different variety of statin.
Very rarely, 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.
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.
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.
Statins prevent heart attacks in patients with diabetes, so the relevance of the mild increase in sugar values with statins observed in some patients is unclear. The benefit of taking statins likely outweighs the small risk to have the blood sugar level go up. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
Neurological side effects
The FDA warns on statin labels that some people have developed memory loss or confusion while taking statins. These side effects reverse once you stop taking the medication. There is limited evidence to prove a cause-effect, but talk to your doctor if you experience memory loss or confusion while taking statins. There has also been evidence that statins may help with brain function — in patients with dementia, for example. This is still being studied. Don’t stop taking your statin medication before talking to your doctor.
Who’s at risk of developing statin side effects?
Not everyone who takes a statin will have side effects, but some people may be at a greater risk than are others. 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
- Drinking too much alcoholGrapefruit 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)What causes statin 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.It’s effect 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 here is the list of possible consequences of taking statin medication for any length of time, especially long term:
- Statins may affect not only your liver’s production of cholesterol but also several enzymes in muscle cells that are responsible for muscle growth. The effects of statins on these cells may be the cause of muscle aches
- It’s unclear what causes statin side effects, especially muscle pain.
There are many drugs that may interact with statins, so be sure your doctor is aware of all the medicines you take when being prescribed with statins.
Summarizing the 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
Safe Alternatives to regulating Cholesterol Levels, even after heart surgery
- 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.
For those of you who are Looking to avoid taking statin medications and want to improve your Health and Quality of Life.
Here are some lifestyle changes that you can put into place-
What You Can Do!
- 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.