Cholesterol-lowering drugs may raise diabetes risk

Statins are a class of drugs used to treat elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Recently, researchers carried out a meta-analysis of 13 statin vs. placebo trials. Collectively, these researchers included over 90,000 subjects in their analysis, and came to the conclusion that taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with diabetes by 9% over the following four years.1

This is in fact the second meta-analysis performed in the past few months to come to this conclusion – an analysis published in October 2009 determined that statins increased diabetes risk by 13%. 2

Nine percent (or even 13%) may seem like a small risk, but let’s think about how many people take statin drugs. Today, cholesterol-lowering medications are the 2nd most prescribed drug class in the U.S. (behind only pain relievers).3 Between 1988 and 2006 the use of statin drugs in U.S. adults over 45 increased 10-fold.4 

Currently, over 30 million Americans take statin drugs, and this number may increase further. Statins may soon be recommended to older Americans who have normal LDL levels but elevated C-reactive protein.5 

Each one of these millions of people will have a 9% increased risk of diabetes – when they could have used a high nutrient diet to lower their LDL and reduce their cardiovascular risk. A high nutrient diet rich in unrefined plant foods can reduce cholesterol to the same extent as statin drugs.6 Since reducing cholesterol with diet and exercise addresses the cause of the high cholesterol (the typical American diet), there will be no risk involved – in fact, it will also lead to weight loss, which will then reduce diabetes risk.

Statins are not benign substances – they are powerful drugs with side effects that include muscle pain and liver damage. Which would you choose to lower your LDL – statin drugs plus increased diabetes risk and potential liver and muscle damage, or dietary changes that reduce blood pressure, reverse and prevent diabetes and protect against dementia? My view is that drugs also have the psychological effects to inhibit the necessity of lifestyle and dietary changes that are the root cause of almost all our nation’s medical problems. Any way you look at it drugs kill millions of people and drug-centered health care is the problem, not the solution to our heath crisis and tremendous medical suffering.

 

References:

1. Sattar N et al. Statins and risk of incident diabetes: a collaborative meta-analysis of randomised statin trials. Lancet. 2010 Feb 16. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Rajpathak SN et al. Statin therapy and risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2009 Oct;32(10):1924-9.

3. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/FASTATS/drugs.htm

4. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/10newreleases/hus09.htm

5. Spatz ES et al.  From here to JUPITER: identifying new patients for statin therapy using data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2009 Jan;2(1):41-8. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

6. Jenkins DJ et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism. 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503.

 

Cholesterol Crystals Tied to Heart Attacks

A study in the American Journal of Cardiology claims cholesterol in the arteries crystallizes from a liquid to a solid, expanding and disrupting plaque, leading to potential heart attack and stroke. Researchers examined coronary arteries from patients who died from cardiovascular events and when compared to a control group, they discovered cholesterol crystals following a cardiac attack damaged artery linings and appeared much further away from the site of attack, putting survivors of an attack at higher risk; ScienceDaily reports.

Cutting cholesterol is a bid deal! Studies show the more animal products in a population's diet the higher their cholesterol levels and the more heart attacks they have, but eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with fiber and plant nutrients, effectively cuts cholesterol, even putting cholesterol-lowering medications to shame.

And a recent report showed why lowering cholesterol and blood pressure is still the major preventer of heart trouble. Actually, in the May 2006 edition of Healthy Times, Dr. Fuhrman discusses how superior diet protects against and reverses cardiovascular disease.

Image credit: Michigan State University

High Blood Pressure Makes it Hard for Kids to Think

If you’re kid can’t concentrate. He might have high blood pressure. New research in the Journal of Pediatrics claims children with hypertension struggle with complicated tasks and have more memory problems than kids with normal blood pressure. The study involved 32 children, ages 10 to 18, newly diagnosed with hypertension, and paired them up with 32 kids with normal blood pressure. Parents of both sets of kids were surveyed to determine their children’s mental aptitude and data revealed the hypertensive group performed more poorly and had more anxiety and depression; ScienceDaily investigates.

Many people don’t realize it, but heart disease starts young. Dr. Fuhrman explains that lipoprotein abnormalities, i.e. problems with high LDL and low HDL, associated with heart attack deaths in adulthood, begin in childhood and bad foods habits, like eating a lot of saturated fat, are established when you’re a kid. That’s why it’s important for the whole family to eat healthfully, that way everyone can avoid heart disease and high blood pressure.

But some health officials would sooner put kids on statins than educate them and their parents on the benefits of improved nutrition. Fortunately, other experts call giving kids statins a monumental failure.

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Way More Americans Could Go on Statins!

Pretty soon, 11.2 million more people could be put on cholesterol-lowering medications. A new study in Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes reveals statins, such as Crestor and Lipitor, can lower heart attack and stroke risk by 44%. Currently, 33.5 million older Americans, with high cholesterol and hypertension, take statins. However, authors of the new study, called JUPITER, believe 44.7 million people now fit the criteria for statin therapy, meaning more and more prescriptions; HealthDay News reports.

Not all news on statins is good! Just last week, research came out linking statins, like the aforementioned Crestor and Lipitor, with rare eye disorders, including eyelid-droop and double-vision. That means 11.2 million more people will have googly eyes!

I guess it’s easier to prescribe pills and meds, than fruits and vegetables, which naturally reverse and prevent high cholesterol and heart disease.

Image credit: SheWatchedTheSky

Statins May Weaken Eye Muscles

A new study in Ophthalmology claims statins, very popular cholesterol-lowing drugs, may cause rare eye disorders, like eyelid-droop, double-vision and weakening of the muscles that control eye movement. Researchers examined 256 cases where statins, such as Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor, were associated with eye-muscle disorders, of the cases, 62 patients reported no more eyelid-droop or double vision after they stopped taking the medication. Experts call this side-effect rare; Reuters investigates.

Statins might make drug companies a lot of money, but they come with a price. According to Dr. Fuhrman, other side-effects of statins include hepatitis, jaundice, liver problems, gastrointestinal complications, low platelet levels and anemia. And many doctors question whether statins even prevent heart attacks at all!

There’s a better way. A diet rich fruits and vegetables improves cholesterol and reverses heart disease.
 

U.S. Cholesterol: LDL Down, Triglycerides Up

At the American Heart Association's annual meeting researchers revealed LDL cholesterol levels in U.S. adults have dropped since 1980, but triglyceride levels are 5 times higher. Scientists cite increased awareness of the dangers of high-fat diets and statins for the drop in LDL and the surge in obesity for the jump in triglycerides; Reuters reports.

Okay, it’s good to hear people are getting wise to high-fat diets. Diets rich in saturated fat are linked to heart disease, but statins are no saving grace. They have serious side effects and only offer a band aid solution. However, plant-based diets lower cholesterol, improve triglycerides, reverse cardiovascular disease and promote healthy bodyweight.