Do We Need Statins?

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2014-03-31 13:56:05 -0500
Started 2014-03-28 10:39:13 -0500

This is a common type of drug many of us face in our treatment plans for our diabetes. Some have loved it, others have not. Here is a story that shows to what great lengths this young woman has taken to deal with her cholesterol and how genes may win anyway.

It is very interesting the things she has done, far more than most I know. There are some good ideas in her journey that others may want to add to their treatment to avoid the statin leg of the treatment of our diabetes.

48 replies

Bonnie K.
Bonnie K. 2014-03-29 19:41:05 -0500 Report

Emma—-Ifully agree with you about not taking drugs, all a person has to do is listen to the side effect and it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure it out not to take them. I too take only what I have to like insulin and bloodpressure. My doctor is like your she does not respect my decision not to take all the drugs and she sure pushes them all the time. I had a stepmother that horded drugs and even went to different doctors to get extra bottles of drugs and of course in the end she wasn't monotored by all the doctors and each one never knew she was going to all of them. we through away all her meds the doctor took her off of after she collapsed and after she got better it wasn't long before she was sick again she was on 32 different pills a day again they took her all off the drugs little by little and we trashed them again thinking she was getting them fromn the doctor in those few weeks but it turned out she had trunks of drugs stashed away and it killed her. It was a wake up call for me I never liked pills ever.

Emma2412 2014-03-29 14:48:20 -0500 Report

I've never taken anything for my high cholesterol. I've had high cholesterol all of my life even when I was a teenager, skinny, and without diabetes or anything else. Plus, in those days I was very active, played tennis, and walked and did other things. I just don't see the point of taking something for it. Also, diabetes is not caused by weight problems. My sister is huge and she does not have diabetes. She also never gets any exercise. Again, each person is different. To do that is a mistake.

TopazDee 2014-03-29 10:23:33 -0500 Report

Fortunetly I was told my cholesterol level was under the bench mark for statins even though I have a weight issue (slowly but surely being resolved) my non-diabetic perfect weight hubby tends to suffer with high cholesterol (he had triple heart by-pass surgery at 39yrs. old 18yrs. ago) our food regime virtually the same sounds totally bonkers but very true.

Type1Lou 2014-03-29 08:42:48 -0500 Report

I have been on Simvastatin for years; 40 mg/day since 2010. Last total cholesterol was 192 with LDL at 100 and HDL at 77. Triglycerides at 77. Luckily, no aches and pains related to it yet. I too think genetics play a greater role in overall individual cholesterol levels.

Bonnie K.
Bonnie K. 2014-03-29 01:35:20 -0500 Report

I for one took a statin drug and after a few months found that I was in more pain in my legs than ever and it seemed to be after taking the statin so I talked to my doctor and she told me I was allergic to statin drugs and they can cause pain in the legs. Trust me I know first hand it is true but now I am off them and after a week I had no more severe pain.

Emma2412 2014-03-29 14:56:23 -0500 Report

Good for you, Bonnie K. I stay away from as many drugs as is possible. The only medicine I do take is diabetic meds and insulin shots. However, neither one really do anything to help me with my high readings. I believe the only thing that really does help me is when I exercise and I've been trying to do that every day. Personally, I don't believe in drugs and I told my doctor the other day that if the drugs I take for diabetes don't help, why should I take them? She looked at me and shook her head. But, doctors don't know everything. But I'm a firm believer that if a drug is causing another problem in the body one should not take the drug. I'm glad you're off of it.

LRD 2014-03-28 20:33:06 -0500 Report

Very interesting. I to have high cholesterol and I weigh only 87 lbs. So what gives? Linda

GabbyPA 2014-03-29 11:46:27 -0500 Report

Weight doesn't always control the cholesterol. I have been overweight my whole life and had good cholesterol numbers until diabetes came on the scene. A lot of it is genetic and other parts are external contributors.

Emma2412 2014-03-29 14:57:26 -0500 Report

Exactly. It is genetic. That's why I don't worry about high cholesterol which, like I've said elsewhere, has been high all of my life, even when skinny as a kid.

Richard157 2014-03-28 18:17:04 -0500 Report

I have a friend in Ohio who was a very healthy type 2 diabetic, until she started taking a statin. She started having muscle problems, and eventually lost muscle mass, so she stopped taking the statins. She never had cholesterol problems, and she was sorry she started the statin. After several years she feels strong enough to o back to working out at the gym.

I have taken several statins for many years . One of them was no longer fully supported by my insurance, and I had to change to Crestor. My total cholesterol has dropped from 280+ to 130, and I do not have muscle problems, but I do have arthritis. I plan to continue with my statin. My strength is not so good, but I am 74 years old, with 68 years of type 1 diabetes, so I think my age rather than the statins is responsible for my fatigue and lack of strength.

Emma2412 2014-03-29 14:59:33 -0500 Report

Hi, Richard157. I'd suggest you get as much walking in each day as possible. Maybe the pains will quit. Like I've said above a few times, even though I have high cholesterol all of my life, I refuse to take anything for it. It's genetic. Both Mom and Dad had it, too.

haoleboy 2014-03-28 17:57:19 -0500 Report

I just stopped taking Pravastatin (20 mg 1x daily) a month ago out of concerns that it was contributing to the issues I am having with my legs . My cholesterol numbers are "excellent' according to my PCP … hoping they will stay that way (we'll know in 2 months).
So far the leg discomfort that I was experiencing at bedtime has stopped. FTW!


Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2014-03-28 22:48:03 -0500 Report

What exactly where the issues with your legs and why?

haoleboy 2014-03-29 00:12:37 -0500 Report

I have neuripathy in my legs but also I have had loss of muscle and weakness. I was having pain along my shins (reminded me of shin splints) at bed time. I just had the neuropathy confirmed with a nerve conduction test but still not convinced that Pravastatin didn't have something to do with that.

Emma2412 2014-03-29 15:03:11 -0500 Report

I'm not usually a betting person, but I would definitely bet that the Pravastatin is the culprit. I hate meds of all descriptions. How about when we hear after years that people who have taken this or that drug are now getting heart attacks or something else? I think the drug people come out with so-called miracle drugs without putting in the necessary tests over at least 5 or 10 years. Incidentally, I find that regular aspirin helps me with the neuropathy feelings. It helps the blood flow better and I've noticed I don't get as many weird feelings (tingling and other feelings) in my feet. Plus, I believe the exercise really helps. I just walk. That's all. But I try to keep up a good pace and I wear good shoes.

azdutchman 2014-03-28 16:00:16 -0500 Report

I have been taking Lovastatin for more years than I can remember. My dosage has been the same (40mg 1x per day). My cholesterol is always in normal range, but I have been taking it for so long I don't know if it would sty normal if I quit taking it. I also take Losartan (25mg 1x per day) even though I have no history of heart problems. In fact, recently, I have had problems with my blood pressure being too low. Just last year I spent three days in hospital with bronchitis. Doctors would not release me due to the fact that my blood pressure was 90/55 and stubbornly refused to reach 100 diastolic. After that, my primary care doctor changed my medication from Lisinopril to Losartan. I'm reluctant to risk not taking the medication even though I do wonder if they are necessary. What I wish for is a cure for neuropathy. There are two clinics that have been doing a procedure that claims to have a high % of success, but, it's relatively expensive and my insurance won't cover it.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2014-03-28 22:50:24 -0500 Report

What is the procedure?

azdutchman 2014-03-31 13:56:05 -0500 Report

To let you know what little I know, it involves electrotherapy and an injection of a drug. It's all minimally invasive. I am told that a cuff is strapped to your leg after an injection and a mild electrical current is applied to stimulate the nerves and encourage them to move (extend?) closer to the skin surface and restore feeling to the extremities affected. With neuropathy, the nerves retract away from the skin and lessen the sense of feeling. That's how I understand it and I am willing to concede that I may have some information wrong.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-28 15:42:56 -0500 Report

It seems that lately, every time I go the doctor he doubles my dosage. At present mine is Atorvastatian 40mg. It seems to be the only one I can take. They have tried me on others but I had some really bad mental side effects, to the point I couldn't function every day normal functions. So far with this statin I haven't had any side effect that I know of. I hate being on them because I love grapefruit.

robertoj 2014-03-28 15:15:11 -0500 Report

That is the one issue that my doctor and me disagree on. The point is moot because I had to stop them for another issue. I didn't think there was a need as my numbers were good but not great.

Nick1962 2014-03-28 13:46:06 -0500 Report

That’s one of the things we’re (my doctor and I) are experimenting with right now. The only medication I’m on is a “maintenance” combo statin for blood pressure and cholesterol (generic Caduet). Right now my BP is almost textbook, and with only my good cholesterol needing to come up 2 points, medically I’m in excellent shape (considering) – trigs and all. Taking this and my diet into account, we’ve cut the dosage in half and will monitor. However, heredity does play a role and with my family history, I may be stuck on them to maintain my good condition. By this time next year I should know.

Chuck Fisher
Chuck Fisher 2014-03-28 13:31:31 -0500 Report

I raised the question about statins last fall with my doctor after reading the publicized reports. My cholesterol was a bit high (but the same value it was 30 years ago.) My doctor preferred that I try changing my diet rather than prescribe a statin. A recent study was published touting eating 50 g a day of nuts/legumes for reducing cholesterol. So that's what I do and the last two blood analyses have shown my cholesterol has dropped.

Last year at this time my doctor took me off of Gliclazide (a sulfonylurea) as my blood glucose levels were a little too "controlled". In general my doctor would prefer the minimum of medications and instead recommend "lifestyle" changes (read diet and exercise.)

GabbyPA 2014-03-28 16:57:21 -0500 Report

I have been eating almonds and making almond milk that I drink almost every day. Since I started that, my HDL has gone up (which is good) and my LDL has gone down. I'm happy with the results.

Chuck Fisher
Chuck Fisher 2014-03-29 00:28:55 -0500 Report

In my case HDL percentage has gone up and overall cholesterol has gone down. Since type II diabetics are recommended to have snacks or mini-meals, the 50 g of nuts/legumes is easy. Plus you can take a small bag with you if you are "on the go". Peanuts are legumes and I also add roasted garbanzos and beans to mix of nuts. Basically any type of nut will do.

GabbyPA 2014-03-29 11:50:10 -0500 Report

I eat nuts every day. I love them, all kinds. Raw, roasted, salted and I mix up my uses. I dehydrate garbanzo beans with cumin and turmeric and they are great. I will have to do them more often then.

rcmodelr 2014-03-28 13:10:10 -0500 Report

Only thing I'm on other than Insulin is Lisinopril 5mg daily. I know it was supposed to help my kedneys stop dumping protein from my body, but I'm not sure… Is it a statin?

Gma Brenda
Gma Brenda 2014-03-28 23:10:01 -0500 Report

Had same problem had to take pottassiam. Pill to. Help me with to much protein in my urine. So check with your doctor.

Chuck Fisher
Chuck Fisher 2014-03-28 13:17:06 -0500 Report

Lisinopril is in a group of drugs called ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure. Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels. You should question your doctor about any medications that are prescribed. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are often encountered in diabetics (especially type II).

jigsaw 2014-03-28 12:54:10 -0500 Report

I think there are many circumstances to consider, as to whether we should take a statin or not. Like most sensible individuals, I prefer to avoid medications, when it makes sense to do so. Unfortunately, there are situations where it is not always best to do so. A good doctor can help you to weigh the pros and cons, when it comes to treating a given condition. Obviously, if the risk caused by a condition is worse then the risk caused by taking a medication, then I suspect you have your answer.

In my particular situation, my body builds up excessive triglycerides, regardless of my diet. Twenty one years ago, and for 7 years that followed, I was able to control my triglycerides with diet and exercise. My triglycerides were discovered to be 750 back then! I got them down to 80, with no meds. After 7 years, my triglycerides started to rise again, regardless of my efforts. My Cholesterol always seemed to stay around 160 to 180, and I never considered that to be bad.. Well, I spoke with a few doctors, and they all agreed that I should be on a statin. Without a statin, I could not get my triglycerides below 350 to 400, at this point in time. With Lipitor, my triglycerides stay between 60 and 80. I assure you that I tried everything reasonable to control my triglycerides without meds, to no avail. With diabetes added to the mix, I have to agree with my doctors, the risks of Lipitor are better than risking artherosclerosis, or a heart attack!

I have a very thin and health conscious friend, whos body produces cholesterol. No matter what he does, or eats, his cholesterol stays extremely high! He happens to be in excellent physical shape, although he is very thin. The only thing that has helped him control his cholesterol, and avoid potentially devastating consequences is a statin. He has been on statins for over 20 years. He is also diabetic, as is his father, who is in his 90s currently. I suspect that he might have departed this planet many years ago, if not for the statins that he still takes.

So, do we need statins? I think it all depends on the circumstances. A good doctor, is probably your best choice to achieving a wise decision. For those that don't trust their doctor, then find another doctor.

camerashy 2014-03-28 12:23:12 -0500 Report

I've been tried on all of the present available statins, and quit each of them for the same reason - my shoulders got to hurting so badly I could hardly even lift a fork to eat. They never completely recovered, and I'm in pain most of the time.

GabbyPA 2014-03-28 17:00:32 -0500 Report

This is what happened to my mom, though not as bad. She got so weak and painful she had issues walking until she got off it.

jigsaw 2014-03-28 13:03:11 -0500 Report

Probably eliminating statins in your case, was a wise choice. Doctors and pharmaceutical companies generally recommend that with your type of circumstances, you should not take them. My wife had a problem with a statin causing leg pain, and had to stop taking it as a result. Her doctor switched her to a different one, and she is doing ok.

camerashy 2014-03-28 13:15:24 -0500 Report

The only other cholesterol medication I was put on works in the intestines like beets, and since I have a love of beets, my doctor stopped prescribing the medication, the name of which I don't recall.

GabbyPA 2014-03-28 17:01:23 -0500 Report

Yeah! more beets! I love beets and know they do good for us, I have started putting them back into my diet.

Gabe50 2014-03-28 11:57:43 -0500 Report

I take statins to for my cholesterol. I have taken this vitamin supplement called Zeal, it is great! I have so much energy, and i am praying my cholesterol goes down, it has many benefits Zeal. It does a lot more it can help with eyes, pain, fibronyalga, and a lot more. I am praying to get off the statins. Sorry for cutting this short have to go and get the bus, be back later, Have a beautiful day.

TONY101365 2014-03-28 11:20:55 -0500 Report

I'm a native DC Washingtonian however my parents were from Spain and Puerto Rico. My diet includes allot of condiment and high calorie foods. My Cholesterol use to run 215 to 225 on the high side and for years my endocrinologist wanted me on Statins I was finally convinced and was prescribed Lipitor wow that was a bad experience after a week of taking the drug and un-explained sore muscles I stop the Lipitor and was switch to Crestor and after two month on the Crestor my cholesterol level had drop to 135. Wow I said my endocrinologist did me a favor and since my cholesterol levels were 135 I said I can stop ! WRONG!! Once you are on Statins you are on them for life. My cholesterol levels jumped to 325 because your liver will stop working once you are on Statins as to the Cholesterol. A week of oatmeal and some exercise with changes to your diet will work wonders for your high cholesterol naturally but Lipitor and Crestor will be with you for life that is why they have so much propaganda and free samples to get you hook for life "BEWARE" I'm currently on simvastin 10mg but I will never ever be the same again. If you are wondering about my size proportion I'm 5 feet 6 inches or 66 inches tall and my weight is 154 Lbs. Not heavy or skinny I was ok until "Statins" I'm a diabetic type since age 23.

GabbyPA 2014-03-28 10:54:49 -0500 Report

Mine have been improving without statins, but my doctor wanted me on them. They really bother my body with aches and pains that I cannot tolerate. I never had issues with it until diagnosed with diabetes.

jigsaw 2014-03-28 13:14:01 -0500 Report

My wife also had aches and pains with statins. Her doctor switched her from Lipitor, to Crestor, and she still had pain. She was eventually put on Pravastatin, and the original dosage was cut to see if her leg pain would stop. It worked, and she is currently doing well with Pravastatin.

jayabee52 2014-03-28 10:51:23 -0500 Report

Fortunately, Gabby I am one who does not need statins. My blood lipids seem to always be in a good range.

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