What’s the link between cholesterol drugs and diabetes?
Over the past few years, a number of studies have linked statin drugs
to a small increase in risk of diabetes
. The ACC’s recent study only strengthens and adds to previous findings.
The ACC based findings on data from three large clinical trials and then compared the effects of high-dose statins, low-dose statins and placebo pills on people with cardiovascular disease.
The trials included a total of 3,800 adults with a history of stroke who were all diabetes-free at the outset of the study.
What the study revealed is that people who are only a high and low dose of statins are 9% and 6% more prone to type 2 diabetes respectively. Those on placebo pills are not prone at all.
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But what’s the reason behind all of this?
Scarily enough, statins are the only drugs that have been linked to diabetes risk.
Dr David Waters of the University of California explains, the reason for the risk appears to be the drugs’ effect on the body’s ability to control sugar. While it’s not clear why this is the case, the study also suggests that the risk largely exists among people who have the well-known risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as excess weight, high blood pressure
and high blood sugar
And that’s why Dr Waters says it’s crucial you manage these risk factors if you’re on statin drugs. By shedding excess weight, for example, you can curb additional diabetes risk. Waters also stresses that the diabetes risk tied to statins is large.
If you suffer from high cholesterol but don’t suffer from heart disease
or stroke history, you may want to first try diet and exercises changes for lowering cholesterol before having to resort to deadly statins, Waters suggests.