Are serious statin side effects reason enough to avoid statin therapy?
Statins have been called wonder drugs by many in the medical community. And perhaps they should be in some respects. But the side effects of statins should make us cautious about taking them when other solutions may be available.
It is not my goal to dissuade you from taking statins. They have protected many from the dangers of coronary heart disease.
But it is my goal to inform you concerning statin side effects. And it is further my goal to give you more incentive to do everything you can to improve your heart health naturally instead of – or in addition to – using statins.
The list for reported statin side effects is long. Research pertaining to many of these side effects is difficult to find. Perhaps because they are not a serious danger to health. For example…
... to name a few.
But there are some statin side effects which are more serious by nature. And these are to be our focus. That list is shorter and includes…
Here’s a question for you…
Are you sick and tired of just not
Are there health issues – in addition to your heart health – that concern you? Like…
Anxiety? Or not sleeping well? Or joint pain? Or low energy? Or poor digestion? Or weight gain? Or stress? Why do so many people suffer from these symptoms and others? Those nagging health issues that seem so difficult to define.
Did you know that these health problems – as well as more serious chronic diseases – can be the result of …
Many people have come to realize this and have made changes to recapture their health. We have a great – FREE – resource we want you to have. Simply click the link below.
all the statin side effects, muscle pain is the most popular complaint.
Muscle pain may not seem to be a serious statin drug side effect, but
in its extreme can have long-term and even deadly results.
The cause of muscle pain associated with statin use is not understood. Some have associated it with a CoQ10 deficiency. CoQ10 is a coenzyme necessary for the production of cellular energy. Statins are documented to reduce a person’s serum CoQ10 levels by as much as 50%.
Lower CoQ10 levels have been associated with congestive heart failure. Because cellular energy is necessary for proper muscle function, some believe supplementing with CoQ10 can help.
If you choose to supplement with CoQ10 buy a good one.
In many cases the muscle pain statin users experience is temporary. It is more acute when they start taking statins for the first time… or when their dosage is increased.
At other times muscle pain will be associated with a particular statin. When the patient tries a different statin the pain often goes away.
Beyond making your life miserable, the muscle pain associated with statin use is often temporary and does not cause long-term damage.
But then there are the other times.
In some cases a condition known as rhabdomyolysis can occur. Rhabdomyolysis is the rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle (or rhabdomyo). Muscle breakdown can occur even when tests show no danger. In addition to this, rhabdomyolysis can sometimes result in kidney failure.
To learn more about Statin Side Effects and Muscle Pain please click here.
loss is the second most complained about statin drug side effect. In
spite of this researchers disagree on the relationship between statin
use and memory loss.
Some researchers look at particular studies and claim that statins actually reduce some risk of dementia. Yet there are numerous reports of patients losing entire days of memory after beginning statin therapy.
By the way... if you have experienced memory loss while on statins – or know someone who has – you will get your chance to tell that story. Details are at the end of this page.
It is unfair to attribute all cases of memory loss to the fact that older patients naturally lose some cognitive ability whether they are on statins or not. The reports are too frequent and too dramatic.
The fact is... many people suffer from memory loss while on statins. But the research doesn’t always agree on this.
Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb has suggested some reasons for this disagreement in the research. You can read about that in the Statin Use and Memory Loss section.
If researchers can’t agree on the prevalence of memory loss then they certainly can’t agree on the possible causes. Here are two suggestions:
Studies have indicated that people with high to borderline high cholesterol have more cognitive ability than people with total cholesterol below the 200 mg/dL range. By lowering total cholesterol, statins actually deprive the brain of sufficient cholesterol.
Isn’t that ironic?
Another suggestion – which is similar to the muscle pain scenario – involves CoQ10. We saw above how one of the statin side effects is the loss of CoQ10. Proper brain function requires adequate amounts of CoQ10. Many holistic doctors believe insufficient CoQ10 levels reduce cognitive ability.
Regardless of the disagreements… if you – or someone you love – have suffered memory loss as a statin drug side effect, don’t be shy about talking to your doctor. Insist that your prescription be altered.
Liver damage is another one of the potentially serious statin side effects.
Liver stress or damage is normally detected by testing the levels of certain liver enzymes. When the liver becomes inflamed or damaged it leaks higher levels of these enzymes.
Monitoring liver enzymes is standard procedure for any doctor who prescribes statins – or it should be. Why? Because it is commonly expected that the liver will be under stress when a person is on statins. This is especially true when other liver-stressing factors are present.
Many doctors are becoming more aggressive in prescribing multiple medications to lower cholesterol. Why? Because the bar indicating healthy total cholesterol levels is being lowered. This aggressive approach increases your risk of liver damage.
Your doctor is aware of the risk of liver damage. That is why your liver enzymes will be monitored during statin therapy. If you are at very high risk for coronary heart disease your doctor may push the limit a little when it comes to liver stress.
But it is important that you know that liver damage is possible. And there are documented cases where severe liver damage has occurred as a result of statin use.
Click here to learn more about Statin Therapy and the Risk of Liver Damage.
Another one of the potentially serious statin side effects is…
As indicated in the section above on muscle pain, statin therapy can lead to kidney damage. Rhabdomyolysis – muscle breakdown – in rare cases can lead to kidney failure. There have been a number of lawsuits designed to prove this point.
When muscle cells breakdown, the products of this damage are released into the bloodstream. One of these products is myoglobin.
The kidneys help remove myoglobin out of the body. In large amounts, myoglobin can damage the kidney. It breaks down into toxic compounds, causing kidney failure.
Though rare, advanced rhabdomyolysis can be very serious.If muscle soreness is one of the statin side effects that you experience, ask your doctor to alter your treatment.
On the positive side… some research supports the idea of giving statin therapy to people with kidney failure.
If statin therapy can promote kidney failure, why would doctors prescribe statins for patients who are already suffering with stressed kidneys?It seems rather strange, doesn't it?Not really. The danger of kidney failure discussed above is caused by the breakdown of muscle cells and the subsequent release of a protein – that in large amounts can damage the kidneys.
On the other hand – patients with kidney disease from other causes are often in particular need of having their cholesterol lowered.
Cardiovascular disease is particularly common in people with chronic kidney disease. And coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with kidney disease. Using statins to lower cholesterol might be a good idea for kidney disease sufferers in order to prevent heart disease.
However, many researchers do not see a clear connection between cholesterol and kidney failure itself.
For example... Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health linked high triglycerides and low levels of HDL cholesterol to the onset of chronic kidney disease. However, high levels of LDL cholesterol and high total cholesterol– though connected to heart disease – were not found to be connected to kidney disease.
Click here to read more on these findings.
So should doctors give statins to people with kidney failure? The answer is unclear. Some research supports the practice of treating kidney patients with statins in order to prevent coronary heart disease.
Another of the potentially dangerous statin side effects is…
The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach which secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestines. Under normal conditions these enzymes remain inactive until they reach the small intestine. But sometimes the enzymes become active in the pancreas and can actually digest the pancreas itself.
The pancreas can become inflamed – a condition known as pancreatitis. In severe cases, pancreatitis can cause bleeding, tissue damage, and a release of enzymes into the blood. When this occurs other organs can be damaged.
Pancreatitis is one of the more potentially serious statin side effects. And all statins can cause pancreatitis.
However – according to Sonal Singh, M.D. – the occurrence of pancreatitis caused by statin use is rather rare. It is estimated that only one out of every 300,000 patients who use statins for at least a year will experience this side effect.
Despite the rather low incidence of severe pancreatitis associated with statin therapy you should be aware that it still does happen. If you are on statins and are experiencing any of the following symptoms…
... it is worth checking with your doctor. He or she is aware that pancreatitis is one of the potential statin side effects. Left untreated it could become very serious.
This one is interesting.
The reason I included depression among the more serious statin side effects is because of its potential danger.
I lost a bother to suicide as a result of depression.
If statin therapy is rightly associated with depression then its danger is real. But does stain use promote depression? The reports are mixed. Consider these statements…
"With an increase to 20mg dosage of Lipitor I began to experience a gradual spiraling downward of my mood and energy to an eventual feeling of a low-grade depression."
"My father (68 yrs.old) started taking Lipitor in June of this year. Since then, we have seen a very dramatic change in his demeanor or personality. Very angry, moody, doesn't want to do anything except sleep when comes in from work. We really didn't know if depression might be a symptom of an overdose of Lipitor."
There are a lot of statements like these.
But now consider these...
"The latest findings contradict earlier studies that linked use of statins to higher rates of suicide and depression."
"Overall, patients who used statins had a lower incidence of abnormal psychological scores. The researchers found a 30-40% risk reduction for depression, anxiety, and hostility in those who took statins continuously compared with those who did not take them at all."
Most of the references I can find claiming that statins reduce depression refer back to one specific study. However there are numerous reports of people being impacted negatively with reference to their mood.
If you have had a negative mood shift after being on statins realize that you are not alone. Realize also that you have control over what your doctor can prescribe. There are a variety of treatments that you and your doctor can consider. Be open – and insistent – about what you are feeling.
The last thing I would like to mention among the statin side effects is...
I mention this one last because it is a little different than the rest.
It is well documented that statins reduce your serum CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 exists in every cell of your body. When we are young we manufacture it readily. However, as we age our CoQ10 levels drop off.
Why is this important?
Because CoQ10 is necessary for cellular production.In other words... without sufficient CoQ10 we do not have enough energy for our bodies to function properly. This becomes very important for heart health when we consider the enormous metabolic needs of the heart. For this reason many have associated insufficient CoQ10 levels with congestive heart failure.
We have already noted above that many holistic doctors believe that insufficient CoQ10 is linked to the muscle pain and memory loss that affects so many on statins.
Here is another important point you will want to remember… CoQ10 is an extremely potent antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Why is that important?Because oxidation of LDL has been shown to contribute to coronary heart disease.Now in case you miss the irony in all this let me point it out to you. The reason most people are prescribed statins is to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Which statins do.
But CoQ10 reduces the oxidation of LDL. Which in turn reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Statins deplete your CoQ10. Which means you have less CoQ10 to fight LDL oxidation.
Not only that... but CoQ10 also helps prevent congestive heart failure. And if many holistic doctors are right... it also helps prevent the muscle soreness and memory loss that many statin users experience.
So what do you do? Stop taking statins?
Many doctors say, 'Yes'.
But I think – at the very least – you should consider supplementing with CoQ10 while using statins. I take it. And I am not on statins.
There are no side effects associated with CoQ10 supplementationeven at high sustained doses. So it is safe. But you do want to make sure you get a high quality CoQ10 supplement from a company you trust.
Click here to learn more about CoQ10 and Statins.
All of us respond differently to medication. You may not experience any statin side effects. You may struggle with more than one. Be aware that you are not alone. Your doctor should be aware of potential statin side effects... and be willing to listen to you when you complain.
I hope you will do everything you can to combat coronary heart disease naturally. If you must take statins don’t give up on your own efforts.
But now it’s your turn.I know that many of you reading this have a statin story to tell. You may have had a terrible time with statins. You may have had a great experience. If not you… you may be close to someone who has a story to tell.
We could all benefit from sharing our experiences.
You can have your own webpage right here at Optimal-Heart-Health.com. It is easy to do. It can be short or long. Just be honest and share your story with us.
To learn more about Sharing Your Statin Story with us please click here.
Go from Statin Side Effects to Heart Health Home page.
A Challenge For You!
People are making great improvements in their heart health.
How... are they doing it? By challenging themselves to change the way they eat. Really!
I have a challenge for you. It is my double dog dare.