Older men who take cholesterol-lowering statins are less likely to exercise than men of the same age group not taking the drugs – a trend experts say could be pushing an already inactive segment of the population to be even more inactive, lessening the benefit of statin medications.
Statins, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor, are one of the most prescribed medications in the country, designed to drive down cholesterol levels and thus reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Maintaining a lifestyle with healthy diet and exercise can also lower cholesterol levels and ward off cardiovascular disease, as well as help individuals maintain physical strength and function – something vital for aging adults.
The study, conducted by researchers with Oregon State University, analyzed data on about 3,000 men age 65 and older and tracked them for seven years. Researchers found that men who took statins averaged about 40 minutes less moderate physical activity a week compared to men who did not take the drugs.
The research, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, questions whether statin side effects may actually counter the benefits offered by the drugs. These include muscle pain, fatigue, and weakness. Statins can also increase blood sugar levels and put users at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
“We’re trying to find ways to get older adults to exercise more, not less,” says lead author David Lee, assistant professor in the Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy. “It’s a fairly serious concern if use of statins is doing something that makes people less likely to exercise.”
Source: Medical News Daily