Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wisdom Wednesday: Do Statins Raise Odds for Type 2 Diabetes?

Cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins may lower your risk of heart disease, but also might boost the odds you’ll develop type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

“In a group of people at high risk of type 2 diabetes, statins do seem to increase the risk of developing diabetes by about 30%,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Jill Crandall. She’s a professor of medicine and director of the diabetes clinical trials unit at Albert Einstein College of medicine in New York City. But, she added, that doesn’t mean anyone should give up on statins.

“The benefits of statins in terms of cardiovascular risk are so strong and so well established that our recommendation isn’t that peoples should stop taking statins, but people should be monitored for the development of diabetes while on a statin,” she explained.

The new study is an analysis of data collected from another ongoing study. More than 3,200 adults were recruited from 27 diabetes centers across the United States for the study. All of the study participants were overweight or obese. They also showed signs that they weren’t metabolizing sugar property at the start of the study, but not poorly enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Study volunteers were randomly chosen to get treatment with lifestyle changes that would lead to modest weight loss, the drug metformin or a placebo pill. At the end of the intervention, they were asked to participate in the10-year follow-up program. They had their blood sugar levels measured twice a year, and their statin use was tracked, too.

At the start of the follow-up period, 4% of the participants were taking statins. At the end, about one-third were. Simvastatin (Zocor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) were the most commonly used statins.

Findings from the study were published online Oct. 23 in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

My Take:
The benefits of statins in terms of cardiovascular risk aren’t “so strong and well established”. The dogma perpetuated by Big Pharm is what’s really so strong and well established. Statin intervention reduces the risk of a cardiovascular event by 30% (the same risk factor associated with developing diabetes with statin use).

We’ve known from some time that one of the potential side effects of statins is diabetes. As a physician told my patient when she developed diabetes from long term statin use, “Well, what do you what, diabetes or a heart attack?”

Looking at the statistics, he appears to be right. However, this is a prime example of tunnel vision. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are both aspects of metabolic syndrome. You cannot chemically interfere with one aspect of metabolic syndrome without adverse effects.

Statin drugs reduce inflammation – that’s a benefit to all aspects of metabolic syndrome. However, they artificially impair the chemical pathways for cholesterol production. That’s where the negative consequences occur.

The Bottom Line:
We should be looking at inflammation rather than cholesterol levels to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) is a much better indicator of cardiac risk than the total cholesterol or LDL level. Any therapy used should reduce all aspects of metabolic syndrome rather than isolate only one piece of the puzzle. Cholesterol reduction should be natural result of reducing inflammation rather than the ultimate goal of drug therapy.

Source: October 24, 2017 National Institutes of Health

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