This Heart Drug May Increase Your Risk of Diabetes

Learn about the benefits and side effects of this drug.

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In the United States, 73.5 million people—31.7% of the population—have high LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. Out of those, only 1 out of 3 people have the condition under control, and less than half are seeking treatment. High cholesterol is a major public health issue because it doubles the risk of heart disease.

The Good

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Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol. It should only be used in cases when and if diet and exercise don’t reduce cholesterol levels. They are considered relatively safe, except for pregnant women and people with liver disease.

Studies have shown that statins can reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and death from heart disease by 25% to 35%. Additionally, statins can reduce the possibility of heart attacks by 40%.

Sound great, right?




The Bad

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Like I mentioned above, statins are not recommended during pregnancy or if a person is experiencing a liver illness. Furthermore, they can cause muscle problems. Even worse, statins can increase the risk of developing diabetes.

A study was carried out by a large group or researchers back in 2010. They looked through statins trial from 1994 to 2009, and chose those with more than 1000 patients. They identified 13 studies with 91,140 participants of whom 4,278 developed diabetes within 4 years. Statin therapy was associated with 9% increase in the risk of developing diabetes.

The researchers interpreted statin therapy as a “slightly increased risk of development of diabetes”, but found the risk low when compared with the reduction of coronary disease.

So, don’t ditch your heart medication, because the benefits outweigh the risks.

The Ugly

I couldn’t think of an ugly fact about statins other than what I’ve already talked about, but you can’t have The Good and The Bad without having The Ugly. So, I’m signing off with this painting call “The Ugly Duchess”, which is believed to be the source for John Tenniel’s illustrations for the Duchess in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

Quentin_Matsys_-_A_Grotesque_old_woman
“The Ugly Duchess” by Quentin Matsys, ca. 1513
References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High Cholesterol Facts. Accessed February 2, 2017.

Medline Plus. Statins. Accessed February 2, 2017.

Sattar, Naveed, et al. “Statins and risk of incident diabetes: a collaborative meta-analysis of randomised statin trials.The Lancet 375.9716 (2010): 735-742.

 

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Juan has worked in various fields of biology. His research history spans from studying DNA damage by pesticides, to the study of proteins to break down vegetable waste to potentially use it as an energy source. He likes camping, Mexican food, photography, and cats.