Top 10 Dangerous Statins Side Effects
Cholesterol is an interesting compound found in the body. It is essential to many physiological processes, such as the construction of certain types of cells, and it serves as an important precursor to the production of hormones like those made in the adrenal glands and sex hormones. Most people are familiar with good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
Good cholesterol patrols the blood highways of the body, snatching up bad cholesterol that has affixed itself to the walls of the arteries. Bad cholesterol in many ways, contributes to an increased risk of coronary related illnesses. The body produces the majority of cholesterol, with a quarter or less being attributed to food intake. The remainder is produced in the liver, and lifestyle, genetics and other things can affect how much it produces. When bad cholesterol becomes elevated, cholesterol medications are often the first course of treatment. Statins are the most common of these, however statins side effects can prove problematic for some, and US News explains that up to 25% of people stop taking them within the first six months of use.
Wondering what are statin drugs? Well, they inhibit the production of the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme, according to Wikipedia. That may sound very complicated, but what the medications do is not. They work to reduce the amount of cholesterol that the liver manufactures. When the aforementioned enzyme is slowed down, so is the production of cholesterol.
There are numerous statins side effects to consider. However, one of the most common cholesterol medications side effects has to do with muscle problems and the elevation of enzymes in the liver. Muscle cramps are the most commonly reported adverse reaction to the muscle related woes of statins, however serious and long term effects have been observed in some cases with their use. Wikipedia explains that one particular statin was pulled from the market in the early 2000s because it was contributing to the breakdown of muscles. While these types of instances are rare, muscle pain is one of the most commonly cited reasons why people choose to quit taking statins, even well known brands. Lipitor side effects, muscle pain, for instance, may be a surprise for people who may not have attributed to the resulting discomfort to the well known brand. Aside from woes of the muscles, there are other statins side effects to consider, and we have compiled a list of the top ten dangerous side effects associated with these common medications.
1. Kidney Problems: If you scroll down the list of Crestor side effects, somewhere after headaches, rash and nausea, you may come across the words “acute renal failure” or “fatal and non fatal hepatic failure.” RXlist.com lists these side effects for the drug, Crestor. It is important to note however that while these statins side effects are very serious, RXlist.com also points out that the occurrence of such is rare and minimal, as evidenced in controlled studies.
2. Neurological Problems: Statins share some commonalities in terms of side effects. However, RXList details this one with regards Lovastatin side effects that is most curious. Lovastatin is marketed most commonly under the name Mevacor, and it may be responsible for affecting memory and causing confusion in some individuals.
3. Nerve Dysfunction: Neurological disturbances are an expected entity among statins side effects. However, RXList.com details specifics about this phenomenon on its list of Pravachol side effects, where it points out that the cranial nerve specifically can be affected while using the medication. This can lead to movement problems, an alteration to the sense of taste and in some cases, nerve palsy.
4. Heart Problems: Well, statins are used to prevent long term and serious heart complications, but WebMD explains that one of the more severe although notably less common Zocor side effects is related to the heart. In rare cases, use of the drug can lead to atrial fibrillation. The May Clinic explains that this condition is characterized by an irregular and rapid heartbeat, where the upper and lower chambers of the organ beat out of sync with each other.
5. Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis: If it sounds terrible, that is because it is. WebMD lists this rare and severe statins side effect under its list of potentially adverse reactions to Zocor. The condition is considered a reaction to drugs and refers to the detachment of skin all over the body from the tissue below, according to Wikipedia.
6. Liver Damage: One of the more severe statins side effects, although unlikely, is severe damage to the liver, according to the Mayo Clinic. For this reason, liver enzymes are normally monitored before the use of statins commences, and then subsequently tested if signs of liver damage become evident, such as fatigue, weakness or jaundice.
7. Diabetes: While statins are used to prevent problems, they may also create them in some cases. The FDA has issued warnings regarding the relationship between statin use and the subsequent development of Type 2 diabetes.
8. Cataracts: WebMD cites a study that points out that an increased risk of cataracts may be plaguing users of statin drugs. Cataracts are responsible for contributing to decreased vision and sometimes blindness as they cause a clouding of the eye’s lens. While these statins side effects may not seem too severe in terms of decreased vision, eventual blindness as a result can dramatically impact quality of life. The study does not specifically state that stains are causative to cataracts, merely that a relationship between statin use and later diagnosis has been observed.
9. Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas, and it is considered serious and can be life threatening. Wikipedia explains that there are numerous causes of pancreatitis including scorpion stings and gallstones, however pancreatitis may also be associated with rare statins side effects as well.
10. Allergic Reactions: With all drugs, one of the most potentially serious side effects relates to allergic reactions. Any drug can contribute to an allergic reaction, which can lead to itching, hives and discomfort. Some allergic reactions are severe and can be life threatening. These types of reactions have been observed rarely in statin users, and it often leads to switching medications or the discontinuation of use of the drug.
With all of the potential side effects that statins can produce, it is no wonder that many people try to look for answers to the question of how to lower cholesterol naturally. Thankfully, with dietary, lifestyle and habit changes, dramatic improvements can be made to elevated LDL cholesterol numbers. Aside from these changes, which include quitting smoking, increasing exercise and adding foods like oats into the diet, supplements may also be used to lower cholesterol and avoid statins side effects. One of the most well known and probably most effective is phytosterol. Wikipedia explains that phytosterol, which include plant stanols and sterols, have proven successful in reducing bad cholesterol. They just might be a natural substance worth considering in lieu of dangerous drugs.
It is abundantly important to remember that cholesterol management requires medical monitoring and counseling. If you have been prescribed a statin, continue taking it until you have discussed it, or its side effects, with your health care provider. Stopping a medication can lead to serious health consequences. However, it may be worthwhile to discuss lifestyle and dietary modifications with your health care provider, as well as natural supplementation options to see if there are alternative treatment methods for you if statins prove to be intolerable or you are uncomfortable with their potential side effects.