Want Diabetes? Take Your Cholesterol Meds

  • Find out what this popular heart medication may be doing to you or your loved one
  • These drugs are responsible for more severe health consequences than just diabetes. Find out more…
  • Are you taking risky drugs for no reason? One doctor thinks you might be.

Dear Reader,

It’s no secret that the United States has a cholesterol problem.

In fact, we have one of the highest incidence rates of raised cholesterol in the world. 1,

This is clearly evidences by the numbers — 43.2 million Americans, or one in every four adults, are currently taking cholesterol-lowering medications.2,3

Statins are the group of cholesterol meds I am referring too.

And they are loaded with health dangers, especially for those with low risk of heart disease.

And while some of these dangers, including their ability to interfere with the immune and nervous system functions and decrease muscle and heart health, may not be news to you, more recently, a study has found taking statins can increase your chances of developing diabetes twofold versus those who don’t take the drugs.4

But that’s not the worst of it. I will explain more in a bit.

First, let’s take a look at a few studies.

--Scary Stats

The link between higher risks of diabetes in statin users is not new.

A study in the BMJ published back in 2013 found that certain statins increased the risk of diabetes by 22%. Amongst these statins, atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor) were of significance.5

Next up was a Finnish study published in Diabetologia last year that concluded of 8,749 nondiabetic participants aged 45–73, 625 new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in men over the 5.9-year follow-up period.

Of these new cases, the men taking statins were at a 46% greater risk of Type 2 diabetes, even after adjusting for age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption, family history of diabetes, waist circumference, and physical activity levels.6

According to this study, statins seem to increase risk of Type 2 diabetes through many avenues. One way is through increasing your insulin resistance. This means your pancreas has to produce more insulin in order for your body to function properly. If this continues for an extended period, the pancreas may reach a point where it can no longer produce enough insulin to meet your body’s demands. High insulin resistance can cause diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

In addition, it seems that statins also halt the pancreas’ ability to secrete insulin.

Basically, if you develop diabetes from the statin-increased insulin resistance, your body struggles to produce enough insulin to respond to the resistance.7

While this a scary news, it’s not as terrifying as the findings of the next study on statins and diabetes.

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine last year that tracked participants for close to 10 years found that statin takers had higher incidences of both weight gain and diabetes.

In fact, it found that participants using statins were twice as likely to develop diabetes as the nonstatin-taking participants.

But there is more bad news…

--It’s Complicated

The study also found that of those who developed diabetes also experience a significantly higher risk of serious complications caused by diabetes, including kidney, nerve, and eye damage.8

Because of these results, Ishak Mansi, leader of the study and a heart specialist at the University of Texas, reports, “The risk of diabetes with statins has been known, but until now it was thought that this might be due to the fact that people who were prescribed statins had greater medical risks to begin with.”

He went on to say that statins may be doing more damage than good for some folks with low risk of heart disease, stating:

I am skeptical about the prescribing guidelines for people at lower risk (of heart disease). I am concerned about the long-term effects on the huge population of healthy people on these drugs who continue for many years.8

The study concluded by stating that the statin and diabetes link needs further research but that these results were of great importance.

Perhaps the best way to prevent taking statins is taking control of your cholesterol levels. Proper diet, exercise, and preventative measures can help you accomplish this.

Mansi seems to agree, as he said, “Knowing these risks may motivate a patient to quit smoking to lower risk rather than swallowing a tablet, or may motivate patient to lose weight and exercise.”

If you or someone you know is taking statins and you have something to share, please do! nmoore@lfb.org

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily


Sources

[1] Mean cholesterol

[2] 2 Studies Back Guidelines for Wider Use of Statins

[3] Prescription Cholesterol-lowering Medication Use in Adults Aged 40 and Over: United States, 2003–2012

[4] Statins and New-Onset Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetic Complications: A Retrospective Cohort Study of US Healthy Adults.

[5] Statins and the risk of developing diabetes

[6] Increased risk of diabetes with statin treatment is associated with impaired insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion: a 6 year follow-up study of the METSIM cohort

[7] Statins Linked to Raised Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

[8] Statins DOUBLE the risk of diabetes according to ‘alarming’ 10-year study

[9] An omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrate administered for one year decreased triglycerides in simvastatin treated patients with coronary heart disease and persisting hypertriglyceridaemia

[10] New Study Suggests Combination of Statin and Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Provide Cardioprotective Effects

[11] Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

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