As the controversial new guidelines on statins begin to kick into use in doctors’ offices around the country, the number of Americans for whom these drugs will be recommended is expected to double. “Myopathy, which is muscle weakness, is the most frequently reported complaint, and severe myopathy (rhabdomyolysis) only occurs in about 1 in 10,000 patients,” Dr. Victoria Shin, a cardiologist with Torrance Memorial Medical Center in California, told Healthline. A recent study finds that only 6 percent of people prescribed statins are taking them. Don't despair if you can't take a statin. "Many people are at low risk for heart attack or stroke and do not need to take a statin. Marijuana advocates say it's unfair to compare marijuana and tobacco, but some health experts say there are concerns about cardiovascular disease, Experts say people who drink green or black tea at least three times a week get the benefits of polyphenols that can improve cardiovascular health, The Food and Drug Administration approved use of a fish oil based drug, Vascepa, to help prevent cardiovascular events like heart attacks, strokes…. No drug comes without potential side effects, but the most frequent one experienced with statins is reasonably minor compared to the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. *Talk to your doctor before taking any of these supplements—they may interact with medications or affect certain chronic health conditions. A daily serving of oats, for example, can lower LDL by 20%. Typical dosage: 1.2 g … A new study tracked how they did. “Moderate-intensity and high-intensity statins increase relative risk for diagnosed diabetes by about 10 and 20 percent, respectively. The side effects. With seven million Britons taking statins, that could mean up to 1.5 million are being affected. What I tell my patients: Take pantethine with meals to reduce the risk for indigestion and to aid absorption. Researchers say even healthy young people need to keep an eye on their cholesterol because high levels at a younger age can lead to health issues when…, Researchers say people who move up or down the economic ladder can face higher heart-related health risks than those whose status remains more…. I advise starting with 1.2 g daily. Experts say it is important to lose weight, eat healthy, and exercise after an initial heart attack. “And the benefits outweigh the risks in patients with known cardiovascular disease as well as those with high cholesterol as primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.”. When patients do have muscle pain: Actual muscle damage occurs in only 1 in 10,000 patients. How common and serious are the drugs’ side effects? — of a healthful diet and regular exercise. Rich in soluble fiber, these foods help prevent cholesterol from getting into the bloodstream. Reducing the risk. Yet you write in your new book there is little evidence they are effective in many groups and no evidence they are effective in one group: women without heart disease. May and her team found that patients who took their statins as prescribed at least 80 percent of the time reduced their risk of having a heart attack or stroke by nearly 50 percent. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. “The more patients adhered to their statin regimen, the better that they did. In a 2016 Lancet article, researchers put statin side effects into perspective. Other good foods rich in soluble fiber include barley, beans, pears and prunes. The dose can be increased as needed, based on your physician’s advice. Yet high cholesterol, which the statins address, is a relatively weak risk factor for developing atherosclerosis. Do statins cause muscle pain and weakness? However, a recent study has found that statins can increase the risk of developing diabetes. Exercise—ideally, about 30 minutes at least five days a week—should also be part of a healthy-heart regimen. A new study that concludes one egg a day doesn't necessarily increase heart disease risk is the latest in a long line of conflicting research. I am a 55-year-old man and don’t have heart disease, but my GP has prescribed me a statin. So what’s the debate? Statins are the “gold standard” for treating high cholesterol. They concluded that statin users, particularly people who have prediabetes or are at high risk, should be monitored carefully while using these drugs. Good pantethine products are made by Jarrow, Jarrow.com…and NOW Foods, NOWFoods.com. Statins do come with side effects, the most frequent being muscle weakness, although it affects a very small percent of people taking them. Statins have … It’s the most common side effect of statins, but another way to look at it is that nine out of 10 patients don’t experience it at all. Here are some other fiber-rich foods that have been found to give cholesterol the heave-ho…. Here's why women are at an increased risk of heart disease versus men, and what we can do about it. So, if you want to increase your chances of not having another cardiovascular event, then taking the medicine is really important and can help.”. Typical dosage: 1.2 g to 2.4 g daily. Given the huge controversy around statin use, can anyone tell me where I stand if I still refuse to take the doctors advice? Red yeast rice can be a good alternative for people who can’t tolerate statins due to side effects such as muscle aches and increased risk for diabetes. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. In the American Heart Association’s (AHA) first scientific report specifically reviewing health issues associated with statin use, the AHA states that, in double-blind randomized controlled trials “there is little, if any difference (at most 1 percent) in the incidence of muscle symptoms between the statin and placebo.”. For years, oat bran and oatmeal were touted as the best foods for high cholesterol. This will affect roughly 1 in 100 statin users during five years of statin use. People with narrow arteries who take statins can cut their risk of heart attack or stroke in half. “We really don’t know why people weren’t taking them, mainly because we had no contact with the patients, we didn’t talk to them,” May said. For, whereas the rare cases of myopathy [muscle pain] and any muscle-related symptoms that are attributed to statin therapy generally resolve rapidly when treatment is stopped, the heart attacks or strokes that may occur if statin therapy is stopped unnecessarily can be devastating.”, “Statins are very safe in the majority of patients,” Shin emphasized. “But we don’t think cost was really an issue because they all had health insurance and statins are pretty inexpensive — I think it’s 5 or 10 dollars for a three-month supply.”. *, The natural regimen that I’ve fine-tuned over the past 25 years for my patients…, Fish oil (typical daily dose: 1,000 mg total of EPA and DHA) fights inflammation, lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol and is part of most good heart-protective regimens. Instead, work with your doctor to find a program that's effective. Bottom Line, Inc. publishes the opinions of expert authorities in many fields These opinions are for educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be considered as either individual advice or as a substitute for legal, accounting, investment, medical and other professional services intended to suit your specific personal needs. “We conducted this study because statins are really important to prevent recurrent events or deaths among patients with cardiovascular disease. Millions of healthy Britons are about to be given statins needlessly and exposed to debilitating side effects which include muscle pain and diabetes, leading doctors warn. To find one in your area, consult the American College for Advancement in Medicine at ACAM.org. Dr Mike Knapton says: ‘Should I take a statin?’ is a common question in my surgery, particularly when newspaper stories advocate benefits or report dire side effects. They all received a statin prescription to reduce cholesterol within the first year of being diagnosed. Red yeast rice can be a good alternative for people who can’t tolerate statins due to side effects such as muscle aches and increased risk for diabetes. What I tell my patients: Unfortunately, red yeast rice has gotten a bad rap because of the way some products were labeled. Even if you can't take a statin, you can enjoy the many benefits — and pleasures! Researchers looked at whether they took their medication and how many major adverse clinical events such as strokes and heart attacks they experienced over the following five years. When taking red yeast rice, some people have heartburn, gastrointestinal (GI) upset or mild headache—these effects usually are eliminated by taking the supplement with food. Most integrative physicians, who prescribe natural therapies (and drugs when needed), agree that the majority of people who take statins—and most of those who will be recommended to do so under the new guidelines—could get many of the same benefits, such as lower cholesterol and inflammation levels, with fewer risks, by relying on targeted food choices (see examples in box) and supplements.