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Cholesterol Lowering Medications: Are They Safe? — an article on the Smart Living Network
February 21, 2010 at 5:46 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Cholesterol Lowering Medications: Are They Safe?

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Diet and exercise are usually enough to reduce high cholesterol levels, but more than 13 million Americans have turned to cholesterol lowering medications, known as statins, to solve their problem.While they do work to lower cholesterol, more instances of complications from these drugs are emerging.Are these drugs really safe?

How Cholesterol Lowering Medications Work

Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase, that controls cholesterol production in the body.They indeed have proven to lower LDL levels and triglycerides, while increasing HDL levels.

Immediate side effects can include:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • heartburn
  • constipation
  • skin rash
  • abdominal pain
  • painful or tender cheekbones/eye area
  • hoarse voice
  • congested or runny nose

Severe Complications of Statins

If the initial side effects aren't bad enough, the following dangerous complications of cholesterol-lowering medications might make you reconsider buying that treadmill.

Myopathy

Statins are known to cause myopathy, which is damage to the muscle tissue. Myopathy is diagnosed when muscle pain or weakness is concurrent with at least ten times the normal amount of creatine kinase in the body.

Increased Creatine Phosphokinase

This enzyme is released when damage occurs to the muscles of the heart, body, and brain.

Rhabdomyolysis

A more severe form of myopathy, this muscle deterioration can lead to myoglobinuria, which can lead to kidney failure and even death.

Heart Failure

Statins also inhibit the vital enzyme Coq10, and cases have been reported that statins inhibited this enzyme in some patients to the extent that heart palpitations and even heart failure occurred. Additionally, this enzyme is an antioxidant that is crucial to fighting free radicals in your body.

Liver Problems

Changes in liver function have also been reported when taking statins.

Reactions with Other Drugs

Several drugs can have adverse reactions with statins, including antibiotics and antifungals.Additionally, something as simple as grapefruit juice can also interact with statins and cause harmful effects.

Inhibits Exercise

Need another reason to stay away from statins? They reportedly make you exercise intolerant.

An Extremely Profitable Drug

Since so many millions of Americans need long-term cholesterol control, cholesterol-lowering drugs have truly become a business, with billions of dollars to be made.As more seemingly public advocate agencies, like the National Institutes of Health, are being revealed as financially tied to the makers of these drugs, outraged Americans are calling a conflict of interest.If these drug companies stand to make so much money from you, why would they ever give you a reason to stop buying? What about if that reason means life or death?

American's must now assume the individual responsibility of doing the research themselves.The research is readily available that statins are absolutely not safe, especially when compared to the comparably effective but safe alternatives of correct diet and exercise.

Sources:

http://medicine.ucsd.edu/SES/adverse_effects.htm

http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Profs/PUarticles/Statinmyop.htm

http://cholesterol.about.com/cs/statins/a/statindef_5.htm

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=38710

Photo Credit: Hazphotos

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