In all, more than 255 million prescriptions were dispensed for these drugs in 2010, making them the most commonly prescribed type of medication in the United States.
Unfortunately, this excessive use is an artifact of a medical system that regards prescribing pills to lower cholesterol as a valid way to protect one’s heart health — even though the low “target” cholesterol levels have not been proven to be healthy … and cholesterol is actually NOT the underlying culprit in heart disease.
Worse still, these drugs, which are clearly not necessary for the vast majority of people who take them, are proven to cause serious and significant side effects, including, as new research shows, definite nerve damage.
Are You Taking Drugs You Don’t Need … and Getting Nerve Damage as a Result?It must be understood that any time you take a drug there is a risk of side effects.
Oftentimes, these risks are not fully understood, especially when multiple drugs enter the equation, and appear only after a drug has already been taken by millions of people.
Even once a drug has been FDA-approved, you are depending on a limited number of clinical trials to dictate a drug’s safety … but it’s impossible to predict how a drug will react when introduced into your system, in a real-world setting.
Not to mention, the accuracy of medical research is dubious at best.
In many ways, any time you take a drug YOU are the guinea pig, and unforeseen side effects are the rule, rather than the exception. In terms of statin drugs, side effects are already clearly apparent; at GreenMedInfo.com you can see 304 conditions that may be associated with the use of these drugs, and this is likely only the tip of the iceberg. Among one of the more well-known risks is harm to your muscles and peripheral nervous system with long-term use. Indeed, new research on 42 patients confirmed that:
” … long-term treatment with statins caused a clinically silent but still definite damage to peripheral nerves when the treatment lasts longer than 2 years.”
If You Take Statins for Two Years or More, Nerve Damage Appears to be the Rule
What does it mean when you sustain damage to peripheral nerves? As reported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS):
“Symptoms are related to the type of affected nerve and may be seen over a period of days, weeks, or years. Muscle weakness is the most common symptom of motor nerve damage. Other symptoms may include painful cramps and fasciculations (uncontrolled muscle twitching visible under the skin), muscle loss, bone degeneration, and changes in the skin, hair, and nails.”
At GreenMedInfo.com you can see 88 studies on statin-induced neurotoxicity(nerve damage), with12 studies further statin drugs directly to neuropathy, including chronic peripheral neuropathy. As explained by NINDS:
“Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, the vast communications network that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) to every other part of the body. Peripheral nerves also send sensory information back to the brain and spinal cord, such as a message that the feet are cold or a finger is burned. Damage to the peripheral nervous system interferes with these vital connections. Like static on a telephone line, peripheral neuropathy distorts and sometimes interrupts messages between the brain and the rest of the body.
Because every peripheral nerve has a highly specialized function in a specific part of the body, a wide array of symptoms can occur when nerves are damaged.
Some people may experience temporary numbness, tingling, and pricking sensations (paresthesia), sensitivity to touch, or muscle weakness. Others may suffer more extreme symptoms, including burning pain (especially at night), muscle wasting, paralysis, or organ or gland dysfunction. People may become unable to digest food easily, maintain safe levels of blood pressure, sweat normally, or experience normal sexual function. In the most extreme cases, breathing may become difficult or organ failure may occur.
Some forms of neuropathy involve damage to only one nerve and are called mononeuropathies. More often though, multiple nerves affecting all limbs are affected-called polyneuropathy.”
One of the more disturbing implications of this finding is that since statins damage the peripheral nerves, it is also highly likely that they damage the central nervous system (which includes the brain), as well. One study published in the journal Pharmacology in 2009, found statin-induced cognitive impairment to be a common occurrence, with 90% reporting improvement after drug discontinuation. There are, in fact, at least 12 studies linking memory problems with statin drug use in the biomedical literature, indicating just how widespread and serious a side effect statin-induced neurological damage really is.
Lower Your Cholesterol and Increase Your Diabetes Risk by Nearly 50%
As mentioned, neurological damage is only one potential risk of statins. They are also being increasingly associated with increased risk of developing diabetes.
Most recently, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed statins increase the risk of diabetes for postmenopausal women by 48 percent! Statins appear to provoke diabetes through a few different mechanisms, the primary one being by increasing your insulin levels, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Chronically elevated insulin levels cause inflammation in your body, which is the hallmark of most chronic disease. In fact, elevated insulin levels lead to heart disease, which, ironically, prevention of is the primary reason for taking a statin drug in the first place!
As written on GreenMedInfo:
“The profound irony here is that most of the morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes is due to cardiovascular complications. High blood sugar and its oxidation (glycation) contribute to damage to the blood vessels, particularly the arteries, resulting in endothelial dysfunction and associated neuropathies due to lack of blood flow to the nerves. Statin drugs, which are purported to reduce cardiovascular disease risk through lipid suppression, insofar as they contribute to insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar, and full-blown diabetes, are not only diabetogenic but cardiotoxic, as well.”
A separate meta-analysis has also confirmed that statin drugs are indeed associated with increased risk of developing diabetes. The researchers evaluated five different clinical trials that together examined more than 32,000 people. They found that the higher the dosage of statin drugs being taken, the greater the diabetes risk. The “number needed to harm” for intensive-dose statin therapy was 498 for new-onset diabetes — that’s the number of people who need to take the drug in order for one person to develop diabetes.
In even simpler terms, one out of every 498 people who are on a high-dose statin regimen will develop diabetes. (The lower the “number needed to harm,” the greater the risk factor is. As a side note, the “number needed to treat” per year for intensive-dose statins was 155 for cardiovascular events. This means that 155 people have to take the drug in order to prevent one person from having a cardiovascular event.)
The following scientific reviews also reached the conclusion that statin use is associated with increased incidence of new-onset diabetes:
- A 2010 meta-analysis of 13 statin trials, consisting of 91,140 participants, found that statin therapy was associated with a 9 percent increased risk for incident diabetes. Here, the number needed to harm was 255 over four years, meaning for every 255 people on the drug, one developed diabetes as a result of the drug in that period of time.
- In a 2009 study, statin use was associated with a rise of fasting plasma glucose in patients with and without diabetes, independently of other factors such as age, and use of aspirin or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. The study included data from more than 345,400 patients over a period of two years. On average, statins increased fasting plasma glucose in non-diabetic statin users by 7 mg/dL, and in diabetics, statins increased glucose levels by 39 mg/dL.
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