Diabetes & Statins

Hi, Hope you can help. I am a 41 yr old type 1 diabetic now being strongly advised by my doctor to start taking statins. Have heard some conflicting reports as to the side effects. Any thoughts would be really welcome.

I’m a 40-year-old type 1 and started a statin a couple of years ago. My LDL (bad) cholesterol was <100 from the effects of my diet, exercise, and genetics but my general practitioner said that studies have impressed him with the need to aim for <70 to help prevent heart disease. I have to admit, I should go check and see if the studies were of type 1s or type 2s!

No side effects for me. The statins are quite expensive and are a long-term commitment. Because heart and stroke complications are of much more concern to me than the traditionally feared eye and limb complications and because I have insurance coverage, I’ve been following my doc’s advice.

Have you checked these threads?
https://forum.tudiabetes.org/topics/should-i-start-taking-a-statin
https://forum.tudiabetes.org/topics/statins-for-all-type-1s

Other then the usual statin side effects I’m not aware of any particularly targeted for Type 1s. Quite a few years ago I was on Lipitor and developed the usual side effects, leg pains and had to stop taking them. After Lipitor I tried all the other statins like Crestor etc and all affected my legs. So it’s been a while since I’ve had statins.

There is a great deal of controversy related to the dietary fat - cholesterol - heart disease hypothesis. I suffered terrible side effects from statins and when I learned more about the science behind all this stuff, I lost a great deal of confidence in the whole cholesterol thing. The book Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes was very informative. I have spent huge amounts of wasted time energy and money arguing with doctors about this. I now simply tell doctors that I am fatally allergic to cholesterol medications and they don’t bother me as much. I would encourage you to become informed on the topic and make your own decision. In my assessment, while diabetics are certainly at higher risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis, there is no causal evidence that cholesterol lowering affects those rates in diabetics. If you want to reduce your risk of heart attack, you would be much better served by putting your money and energy into tight blood sugar control.

I’ve been on lovastatin for about 3 years now. I’m 41. Sometimes I get insomnia, which I understand can be a side effect. But given what the complications are with chronic high cholesterol, I’ll deal with some sleepless nights.

I think that most of the studies on high cholesterol , diabetes and heart disease risk were done one Type 2 diabetics, many with Metabolic syndrome. 3 years ago, I refused to continue to take statins as advised by my endo., as I had the leg pains, fatigue ,and just generally felt “Icky” while I took them. He is a good doctor, but I think he had to follow the company practice line of prescrbing anyone who is African- American, middle-aged and diabetic ( risk factors for heart disease)a statin drug. My bad cholesterol was 81 and he said it should be less than 70. He told me I could not get it lower than 70 without a statin. I told him, ; “Just let me try and see”. I started taking 300-600 mg of Omega -3 in gel capsule form daily, I exercised and 3 months later my bad cholesterol was 66, good cholestoerol was 122, and total cholesterol was 146. Heart disease does not run in my family, and my c-reactive protein test, ordered by my internest has come back as .O2, negiible inflammation, a prercursor to coronary blockage. So I do not take statins and probably NEVER will. I continue to take Omega -3 capsules and try to follow an exercise regimen, lean meats ( rare beef, pork, or fried foods, limited egg and dairy restrictions, as I love an omelet once every other week or so)

God Bless,
Brunetta

God Bless,
Brunetta

I finally gave in to my doctor and started Zocor 3 days ago but if I get any side effects I’m going to stop. Unfortunately my LDL is 130, not so good. Maybe I’ll try that Omega 3 stuff that Brunetta was talking about.

I’ve been on 20 mg Zocor (minimum dose) and have had no side effects. I suppliment with Lovazza - a prescription fish oil. Trigylcerides went from 57 down to 22, LDL from 145 to 97. Also my HDL improved from 56 to 98 over this period but I think this has more to do with exercise. If you don’t get any side effects, it seems to be a very sensible thing to do - I’ve even heard some people suggest that statins should be in the water like fluoride…Your doctor can best advise you but all I’ve read suggests that keeping levels down (along with good BG control) can only help protect against heart disease.

I take a statin and I’m not sure why,
My cholesterol levels were never very high,
But my endo said I ought to
And I saw no reason not to
Now I fear I’ll have to take them 'til I die.

I take 10 mg of Lipitor nightly. No side effects. My cholesterol is fine, but it was within normal levels beforehand. Now i wonder if it was wise to blindly follow my doctor’s advice in this matter. She said it was recommended to high-risk patients, such as diabetics, on a prophylactic basis to head off cholesterol issues. About a year later I heard a physician representative of one manufacturer say on the radio that ‘everyone’ should take a statin.

“Everyone”?

Uh-oh.

That statement made me think that someone is pulling a fast one. I wonder now if it’s safe to stop.

In your case, I would do some research to satisfy yourself that you’re doing no harm. That’s what I should have done in the first place.

Terry

Just curious what your cholesterol results show, Chris. My present Endo said that I don’t need statins or bp medications, after I told him that my GP had written me out a script for them(just in case). I finally decided to take the bp meds. That was a mistake(side effects). Sorry, I can’t comment much on the statins since I’ve never taken any. I have heard many times how some People get Bad leg pains but most seem okay on them.

BSC I am with you on this one. I know Dr Bernstein talks about this over on his member web page. Chris you dont mention how your blood sugars are going in your post. Many in his camp would say tighter control of your sugars first, and stricter low carb diet

They have been pushing statins on me and I want tigher blood sugar and diet before I go that route. I have no family history of heart and my BP is fine. I am holding out for awhile on this one…

BSC; I thought there was a hub hub with the TV commercials for lipitor that featured Dr Jarvik and Pfizer? I remember they pulled the commercial though.

My doc recommended statins immediately upon my diagnosis as T1. I don’t think he even had my blood tests to know if my lipids were good or bad. Turns out they were fine (not great), but he wanted me on them anyway along with aspirin daily as prevention. I declined. What I read about statins worried me & I wasn’t willing to take them “just because.”

It seems pro forma that doctors prescribe statins for their patients with diabetes.

My current endo is less impressed with statins. With less carbs & better control, my lipid profile has improved. I recently found out that hypothyroidism adversely effects HDL & LDL. I’m hypothyroid, so I’m keeping an eye on it.

Thanks everyone for all your helpful comments. It feels strange that as soon as you hit 40 mortality issues suddenly coming up. I am in UK so unsure if cholesterol is measured the same but i have a combined cholesterol of 5.0 which is ok although i understand could be better. My hba1c is 7.4 which again is ok. I have had no complications in 28 yrs as type 1 diabetic. Biggest decision i have is that for last 20 yrs have suffered from chronic fatigue although has improved last few yrs. I am concerned the statins will affect this part of my health regards further weakness, without exception most people i spk to have experience side effects but according to any doctor i spk to they are perfectly safe without side effects so there is some conflict there.I have returned to work after long absence dont want to take step back but with 2 young children want to live as long as poss to see them grow up. Its a tough one!!!

I have been taking statins for about 5 years and I am Type 1. I have had very little problems with side effects. I do get leg pain occasionally that might last a couple of days and i can not contribute it to anything else but a side effect. I take them because my doctor said to, but I also have issues with high cholestral, no matter how much I do or do NOT exercise. The statin seems to keep me fairly stable no matter what.

It seems that some of the new research shows some positive effect of statins unrelated to cholesterol…they are not sure why but pointers are that it reduces C-reactive protein concentration (inflamation)

Pfizer which owns Lipitor, attempted to rake in one last sweep of profits as Lipitor is due to come of patent protection in 2011. Jarvik who was famous for his artificial heart (which I won’t go into further), fell from fame. Although he had a medical degree, he was never licensed. His appearance for Pfizer in the commercial was what I consider a pinnacle of sleeze. There was a huge backlash against the use of what many considered not a real doctor, with long greasy hair advising people as a doctor to use Lipitor. Pfizer subsequently pulled the ads and Lipitor is now on the long slide to either no more profits or a reinvigoration as an inhaled statin.

Now, could you write an ode to aspirin in iambic pentameter?

Best wishes as you make your decision.

Despite all the studies and medical opinions, it’s not easy being a one-person science experiment. Which pretty much sums up each of our lives with diabetes!

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So, I have been listening to my docs and I may not need to when it comes to a statin. Everyone needs to take them? Oh great. I thought it was just because I was high risk. Obviously everyone is high risk. I think I do need to do some more reasearch and approach my doctor with what I find at my next checkup which is in March. Thanks Terry.

Wonder if age has some bearing on using statins …I am well into my 69 th year …living with diabetes 27 years
My total LDL is 1.86 mmol/L …target range < 2.0 here in Canada ( CDA 's 2008 Clinical Guide lines )
My Chol. is 3.39 mmol/L …target range < 4.0
Am I on target due to the statin OR would I have simelar numbers without the meds.???
I have been taking Simvastatin ( 20mg ) for at least 1/2 dozen years ( counselled NOT to eat or drink grapefruit juice at any time ) . No side effects.
I have recently changed GP and at my next visit I will discuss and learn her point of view …thanks for the post and responses !!
PS My husband is 79 , no diabetes …just a happy senior ( most of the time ) and is NOT taking Statins ( he has same GP I used to have ) .