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Could Taking Statins Increase Your Diabetes Risk?

More than a quarter of all adults use statins such as Lipitor to help lower their cholesterol and blood pressure and prevent heart attack and stroke. New research shows that these often-used statins could be contributing to type 2 diabetes

Statin side effects

Other side effects of statins include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Liver or kidney damage
  • Memory loss/confusion
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Study on statins and diabetes

In a new study published in Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews, researchers from The Ohio State University found that a group of susceptible patients using statins were twice as likely to have high blood sugar problems that led to diabetes. 

Researchers led by Victoria Zigmont studied 4,683 men and women who were candidates for statins. Patients taking statins for more than two years were three times as likely to develop diabetes. In addition, those using statins were 6.5 percent more likely to have high HbA1c levels. 

The FDA has changed the labeling on statins to reflect a concern for “incident diabetes and increases in HbA1c and/or fasting plasma glucose.”

Are statins safe?

Many believe that the benefits of taking statins outweigh the risks. Others argue that statins should be looked at more closely to see how they affect overall health. More studies are needed to clarify the results, determine which statins and doses are more likely to lead to diabetes, and prove causation.

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Tips for increasing your good cholesterol

There are natural ways to increase your good cholesterol levels, thus removing bad cholesterol from your bloodstream. Here are a few tips to increase your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol:

  • Get regular exercise.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat a Mediterranean diet.
  • Drink a glass of red wine occasionally.
  • Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
  • Take a vitamin D supplement.

See your doctor about any changes you need to make to your lifestyle or medications. Don’t make any changes to your medications or supplements without consulting a doctor first.