Are Statins Very Risky?

Health & Wellness, Heart Health

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In the May issue of the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) informative publication, Nutrition Action Newsletter, a number of “controversies that won’t quit” were put to the task by showing the evidence that exists in support of or refuting the 6 controversies discussed. Some topics included whether dietary supplements prevent depression and whether cinnamon lowers blood sugar (if you want an honest and unbiased appraisal, check it out).  I was interviewed as to whether statins are “very risky”.  After all, I continue to have patients refuse to take a statin because they believe that it will cause them permanent harm.  And while statins can cause muscle-related issues, they are reversible when the statin discontinued.

Yet books have been written designed to instill fear about statins….. here are some facts that you should be aware of before you refuse a statin indicated and recommended by your health care professional to help you:

  1. Statins do not cause permanent muscle or nerve-related issues in the absence of a pre-existing deficit.  
  2. Statins do not cause very high glucose levels in someone with a normal blood glucose.
  3. Statins do not cause permanent liver issues in someone with a normal liver.

Before starting a statin, you should have your blood tested to make sure your thyroid, liver and kidney function is normal.  Most people prescribed a statin have no problems. But if you do and depending upon the side effect experienced, your physician may temporarily discontinue the statin, readjust the dose or dosing regimen, switch you to another statin or try another cholesterol lowering agent.

The bottom line: statins have over a 30-year track record of reliability, effectiveness and safety… with a high upside for those in whom this therapy is indicated.

Michael Miller, MD is author of Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” & Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland USA.

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