Statins are a class of medication frequently prescribed to lower blood cholesterol levels as well as to prevent heart attack and stroke. The statins drug works by blocking the liver to make cholesterol.
What is Statins? How does it work?
Statin drugs lower the LDL cholesterol by reducing its production inside the liver. It is the most widely prescribed drugs of all time. Pharma claim, people who take statins experience no or very few side effects. However, many actual users feel statin side effects outweigh its benefits.
How do Statins work? The process of cholesterol synthesis begins with acetyl-CoA, a building block of life. Three of this acetyl-CoA combine to form HMG with the help of HMG-CoA reductase enzyme. A statin drug is inhibiting this enzyme; this inhibits the cholesterol production as well as Co-Enzyme Q10 and dolichol.
What is Co-Enzyme Q10? Co-Enzyme Q10 is a cellular nutrient synthesized in the mitochondria. You need Co-Q10 for the heart, cell membranes (for membrane integrity), nerve conduction, and formation of elastin & collagen. CoQ10 is essential for the production of energy in the body. Co-Q10 deficiency leads to muscle wasting (weakness & severe back pain), heart failure, neuropathy, and inflammation of the tendons & ligaments.
What is Dolichols? Dolichols role is even more complex; it is responsible for the process of cellular activity involving message transport, neuropeptide formation, and mitochondrial DNA error correction. It is now suspected that insufficient dolichols associated with hostility, aggression, irritability, paranoia, homicidal ideation, depression and suicide. The decline in dolichol numbers causes the premature aging and death of cells, as well as metabolic disorders and loss of proper organ functioning.
What can you expect from statins drug medication? Statins can lower LDL cholesterol levels by about 20 to 55 percent more than other types of medications. It can moderately reduce triglycerides and raises HDL. You can expect results from the statins medication in four to six weeks.
After about six to eight weeks, the doctor can do the check of LDL cholesterol, while on the medication drug. The second measurement of LDL cholesterol level will have to average with the first. This value helps the doctor to decide whether the dose of the drug should change to help meet the goal.
How do you take Statins drugs? Usually take statins drug medications as a single dose in the evening meal or at bedtime, because normally the body makes more cholesterol in the night than during the day.
Do you truly need Statin treatment?
Why kill the fireman instead of the fire? Your body uses cholesterol that acts as a band-aid to repair arterial inflammation. Cholesterol is to heal and not the cause of inflammation!
However, if the cholesterol buildup (band-aid) breaks off might block the arteries.
The American Heart Association said taking a Statins was now recommended for:
- People with cardiovascular disease, including angina, a previous heart attack or stroke.
- Individuals who have high LDL cholesterol (more than 4.9 mmol/L or 190 mg/dl).
- People with diabetes between the ages of 40 and 75 years.
- For those who has increased chance to have a heart attack or stroke or to develop cardiovascular disease in the next ten years.
Patients and their doctors tend to focus only on cholesterol level. A possible consequence is that Statins are now the most prescribed medicines. The guidelines released in Nov 2013 by the American Heart Association has placed less emphasis on cholesterol numbers and more on their overall risk.
Are statins useful for people with low risk? Statins treatment for a lower risk individual offers limited or no benefit and may result in more harmful side effects.
Available Statins brands
Common statins drugs available on the market are:
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor),
- Fluvastatin (Lescol),
- Lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor),
- Pravastatin (Pravachol),
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor),
- Simvastatin (Zocor).
Low-cost generic versions of many statin medications are also available.
Are all the statin drugs the same? Whether it is atorvastatin, simvastatin, or Crestor, the simple answer is they are all the same. But the difference in price is due to whether it is generic or branded drug.
10 Shocking Side Effects of Statins drugs
People taking multiple medications, women, age over 65, drinkers and diabetics, kidney or liver disease are considered to be at higher risk for statins side effects.
Studies show about 10% of people can have statins side effects. However, statins critics have argued that pharmaceutical companies fund most of these statin studies, thus low percentage side effects.
Side effects of statins are:
- Muscle Pain and Weakness – It is the most common side effect, most likely due to the Co-Q10 depletion, a nutrient for muscle function. Muscle pain may be felt as soreness, tiredness, weakness in the muscles.
- Liver damage - Occasionally, statin use could cause liver inflammation that increases levels of certain enzymes. Contact your doctor and order a liver enzyme test if you have unusual fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, upper abdomen pain, dark urine or yellowing of skin/eye.
- Raises blood sugar - Statin use might raise your blood sugar level, which may lead to type 2 diabetes. Already FDA has issued a warning on statin labels regarding diabetes risk.
- Neuropathy - Peripheral neuropathy is a weakness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet, as well as difficulty walking. Statins use for one year raised the nerve damage risk by about 15 %.
- Heart Failure - Co-Q10 is important for proper heart muscle functioning. Co-Q10 can deplete by statin drug use, thus affects proper working of the heart muscle.
- Dizziness – Studies shows Statins has blood pressure lowering effect that might possibly cause dizziness.
- Cognitive Impairment - Statins use seems to cause cognitive problems, especially elderly patients. That could reverse completely within a month after discontinuation of the statins. FDA already issued a warning on statin label regarding risk to memory loss or confusion.
- Cancer - Statins depress the immune system, an effect that can lead to infectious diseases and even cancer.
- Pancreatitis - Prescribers of statins (particularly simvastatin and lovastatin) should take into account the possibility of acute pancreatitis in patients who develop abdominal pain within the first weeks of treatment with these drugs.
- Depression - Several studies have noted a correlation between Statins use with depression, suicide and violence, most likely due to the dolichols depletion.
Other side effects of statins are sleep problems, sexual function problems, fatigue, swelling, shortness of breath, vision changes, changes in temperature regulation, weight change, hunger, breast enlargement, dry skin, rashes, nausea, upset stomach, bleeding, and ringing in ears or other noises.