Can Statins be Dangerous?

by Leigh on March 20, 2013

statins cholesterol kidney injury death natural heart health

One mechanism behind death from statin-induced kidney failure.

Statins work by blocking a specific liver enzyme that produces cholesterol and this can prevent the continued build-up of cholesterol plaques in the arterial walls. Over time, the body may then be able to clear some of the clogged arteries and lower the risk of heart disease. However, cholesterol is essential for some bodily processes, particularly the production of hormones and protective sheaths around nerves. As such, blocking cholesterol production can have significant side-effects, some mild and some much more serious, such as acute kidney failure as observed in a recent study.

Some of the most common side-effects from statins include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches, pains, tenderness and weakness (may be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia)
  • Sleeping problems, insomnia and wakefulness
  • Drowsiness and poor concentration
  • Dizziness, nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps, bloating, gas and pain
  • Diarrhoea and constipation
  • Skin rashes and skin flushing

Statin Toxicity and Serious Side-Effects

With so many patients prescribed statins it is no wonder that many go on to be diagnosed with a variety of ailments that may very well be connected to these drugs. Rather than addressing underlying issues of all of the health problems facing a patient the allopathic approach to medicine simply piles more drugs on top of the existing treatments, creating a new raft of side-effects ad nauseam. Patients with myalgia, poor concentration and sleep problems may be diagnosed with fibromyalgia and given antidepressants and pain medications that in turn worsen or trigger symptoms of constipation, nausea, and sickness and even weight gain. Getting out of the statin cycle can be extremely difficult when a patient lacks energy and motivation to improve their diet and lifestyle, especially when their physician simply keeps prescribing the drugs rather than any other therapy.

There are also a number of significant health issues connected to statin use, including:

  • Myositis – a painful condition of inflammation in the muscles, particularly likely when statins are combined with fibrate (another drug to lower cholesterol).
  • Elevated creatine kinase (CPK) – again, causing muscle weakness, pain and inflammation, this muscle enzyme is naturally present but statins can cause dangerous increases in CPK which are difficult to then lower to resolve symptoms.
  • Rhabdomyolysis – intense muscle inflammation and damage which causes excruciating pain and weakness across the body. The muscles breaks down at such a fast rate that the kidneys are often damaged as they try to excrete the excess protein, leading to acute kidney failure and even death.

The latter condition, rhabdomyolysis, is quite rare, occurring in around 1 in every 10,000 patients taking statins. However, with one in three over the age of 45 taking statins, amounting to around 17 millions statin users in the US alone, it is easy to see how many lives are likely affected by this painful, debilitating and potentially fatal statin-related illness.

There are, however, alternative ways to lower cholesterol naturally, avoiding the risks of statins and other drugs.

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