Which condition would you rather have: high cholesterol or diabetes? It’s a choice you might be unwittingly making if you take statins to lower your cholesterol as studies show that those who take the drugs are twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who do not. On top of that, they also have a significantly greater risk of suffering serious diabetic complications like damage to the nerves, kidneys and eyes.
It’s a connection that physicians have long been aware of, but many attributed it to the fact that people who take statins generally tend to have more risk factors for diabetes anyway. However, a long-term study that was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine has proven the danger of these drugs.
The study tracked people for almost ten years to examine the link between the use of statin drugs and new-onset diabetes as well as diabetic complications and obesity among healthy adults.
This information is especially useful to those who are taking statins to offset high cholesterol as a preventive measure rather than for treating existing heart issues as the downsides could well outweigh any potential benefits.
Statins, which include drugs with the brand names Crestor, Lipitor, and Zocor, have been shown in study after study to cause a slew of negative effects.
A different study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, for example, found that postmenopausal women who take statins see their risk of diabetes go up by a remarkable 71 percent. The study looked at more than 150,000 women without diabetes who were part of the national Women’s Health Initiative. They found a positive association between statin use and a higher risk of diabetes, even after adjusting for other factors that could contribute to diabetes risk, like body mass index, ethnicity, race and age.
It’s believed that statins have this effect because they activate a certain immune response that inhibits insulin’s ability to function properly. They also deactivate the stem cells that are in charge of cellular repair throughout your body. In other words, they make regular users age faster and experience greater mental and physical decline. Sadly, when people experience these side effects, they are often prescribed additional medications to address them rather than getting to the heart of the problem.
Meanwhile, a study in the American Journal of Physiology found that statins cause adverse effects like the weakening of skeletal muscles and neurological side effects in addition to speeding up the process of aging.
Of course, you won’t see the guidelines for prescribing such drugs change any time soon – nor will you see too many headlines about this in the mainstream media – considering the hundreds of billions of dollars these drugs make each year for pharmaceutical companies.
Skip the statins if possible
The good news is that some people can avoid taking statins altogether by making lifestyle changes. It may require more work than merely popping a pill, but it’s an effort that will likely pay off for many years to come – not just when it comes to heart health but overall well-being, too.
First, you need to increase your physical exercise. If you’re not already active, it’s time to start. You can ease yourself into a more active lifestyle by taking regular walks and then consider moving into something more vigorous. Otherwise, take whatever you’re already doing to the next level by doing it more often or more intensely – for example, start adding weights to your walk.
You should also eat foods that can help fight high cholesterol, such as garlic, oats, fish, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and/or fiber. For a holistic approach, try breathing exercises like meditation and practice mindfulness or yoga. You might be able to avoid dangerous medications entirely using these natural approaches to keeping cholesterol under control.
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