New American Heart Association guidelines suggest senior citizens should take cholesterol-lowering statins to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, but doing so could put them at greater risk for statin side effects.
According to the guidelines, 97 percent of people age 66 to 75 would benefit from the cholesterol-reducing effects offered by statins, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor. The guidelines also recommend statin use in those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol, as well as healthy adults who have a risk of heart attack or stroke risk within the next decade.
However, statins carry side effects that make the difficult to tolerate for many people. Risks include muscle pain and injury, and liver damage. The drugs have also been linked to an increase in blood sugar levels that can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that women are at greater risk of developing diabetes from statin use, even those who are not considered overweight. Women are also more likely to suffer the adverse effects of type 2 diabetes, such as coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease and heart failure.
Diabetes is a serious health issue that requires patients to follow a lifelong strict diet and to monitor blood sugar levels several times a day, every day. Many patients require insulin injections and medication to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
Pfizer, makers of the blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor, knew for years that the statin can cause type 2 diabetes, but the company refused to warn consumers. Pfizer is now facing numerous lawsuits.
Source: The Economic Times