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How Statin Drugs May Increase Your Risk For Type II Diabetes

Attention all adults taking a statin drug to lower cholesterol levels as prescribed by your doctor. After piles of evidence and research have been compiled on the side-effects of long-term use of these drugs, the FDA is finally acknowledging the issues and will be now requiring the use of new warning labels.

Let me be the first to say if you are taking a statin drug don’t run out and stop taking your meds altogether. You will however want to educate yourself on the long-term risks of taking these drugs and begin exploring how you could possibly eliminate the need to take them.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance to doing your own research and accepting personal responsibility for your health. I see far too many people just blindly accepting the recommendations of their physician without asking any questions.

Look, this isn’t about not trusting your doctor or me trying to bash the medical profession. Let’s just step back for a second though and do an honest evaluation of how our “pharmaceutical minded” model for health care is really working towards preventing disease?

Levels of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, are they going up or down? Going up, in fact the majority of what we’d call “lifestyle” chronic illnesses continue to increase each year.

The “solution” offered by the mainstream medical community has been to treat the problems with a myriad of prescription medications. And as a society that wants a “pill fix” along with little effort or work involved, it’s been an easy sale.

As a Charleston personal trainer I’m often amazed by the large number of twenty and thirty something year old’s that I see as new clients who are on statin or blood pressure medications. What’s most alarming to me is how many of them accept the recommendations made by their doctors as if the medications would just be part of their life indefinitely.

I’ve got good friends who are my age that have been on blood pressure medications for years and think nothing of it. This isn’t good. There’s something deeper here with what’s going on with our belief systems as a society. And make no mistakes the kids are picking up on this and will be following the same path.

You’d think the normal reaction when told by your physician that they recommend a statin drug to lower your cholesterol level would be to ask the following two simple questions…

Why do I NEED the medication?

What can I do to get off the medication ASAP?

Far too often we’re not challenging our physicians enough on the ways to remove or eradicate a health problem or illness. We accept medications like it’s just another part of our identity…

“Hi, my name is Irving and I’m a member of the fraternal order of Eagles, a republican, and I take Lipitor and Toprol XL.”

All kidding aside, it’s like some people just accept taking medications as something they’ll have to do the rest of their lives to “manage something.” This is a crappy model for disease prevention and health promotion.

Long-term use of most medications according to this site leads to other problems. Such is the case as we’re finding out now with statin medications.

Prevalence of statin medication use by American adults

Would you believe it that one in four Americans over the age of 45 take statin drugs to lower cholesterol and supposedly prevent heart disease? One in four, that’s around 32 million adults in the US. No wonder this is such BIG business.

Well low and behold the experts are finally having to come forward to let the public know about some increased risks with long-term use.  Here are a few of the new warnings that the FDA has mandated be placed on statin medications.

Statin drugs may increase the risk of:

- Memory loss and confusion
- Type II diabetes
- Muscle weakness

Oh great, my cholesterol levels are down but now I can’t remember anything and I’ve got diabetes! No worry, there’s got to be another pill for that, right?

Each year there are more and more drugs approved for the so called “treatment and prevention” of disease. While they may be proved safe and effective for short-term use, there’s simply not enough data on the potential risks of long-term use. This equates to nothing more than an on-going live experiment by millions of guinea pigs.

Sooner or later there has to be a return to the basics with preventing disease and becoming healthy. Prescription drugs and medications can certainly play a role in the big picture but they’re never going to be the single solution.

Lifestyle changes with diet and exercise will always be at the crux of getting off medications and obtaining optimal health. Failure to make changes in these areas is one of the main reasons we’re seeing problems with long-term medication risks.

Link between statin drugs and increased risk for type II diabetes

Statin drugs are a perfect example. Research is now showing that long-term use of these drugs can provoke serious risks of chronic disease like diabetes. One of the mechanisms for how this happens is the correlation with statin use and increased insulin levels.

Statins increase your risk for diabetes by raising blood sugar levels. This is particularly troublesome when the individual consumes the standard American diet of processed and refined foods, many of which are high in sugars and starch.

When you eat a meal that contains high amounts of sugars and starches, some of the excess sugar goes to your liver, which then stores it as cholesterol and triglycerides. Statins work by preventing your liver from making cholesterol. As a result, your liver returns the sugar to your bloodstream, which floods the body with excess sugar and insulin.

Are you getting this?

Statin drugs are disrupting a natural process for the human body. The fact that you may have elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels are simply a sign that something is out of balance. Trying to “fix” the problem with a pill, without making fundamental lifestyle changes, only opens the door to other problems.

The big picture with cholesterol

This whole issue with cholesterol is widely misunderstood anyways. Cholesterol by itself is not a problem; it’s inflammation in the body. Arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries is not simply caused by consuming foods that are high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.

The problem arises when internal balances are disrupted across several endocrine system functions. When insulin resistance is developed by following a poor diet, inflammation increases across the board along with an overburdening of the internal organs and glands. Stress and a lack of exercise only compound the problem. The end result is heart disease, diabetes, etc.

Rarely do you see things isolated in the inner workings of the human body. Blood cholesterol levels for example aren’t necessarily a problem unless inflammation and other internal imbalances are present. Genetics play a large role in this. It’s not just as simple as saying if you’ve got high cholesterol you’re going to develop heart disease.

The point in all of this is to step back and look at the big picture. Ask your doctor exactly why you need any medication and what the plan is for getting off them? Every situation is going to be different which is why I’d never recommend anyone stop taking their meds cold turkey.

Let’s just stop being shuttled in and out of the doctor’s office with a prescription in hand and little education on what in the heck is going on. Ask the tough questions and take full responsibility for your own health and wellness. In the end you’re the one who will deal with the consequences.

Statin drugs like many others may provide very valuable benefits in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise. The problems mainly arise when medications are taken long-term without much in the line of lifestyle changes. Your goal should be to take as few medications as possible and not looking at your daily line up of pill-popping as a life sentence.

I’ve seen countless examples over the years as a fitness professional of clients being able to get themselves off cholesterol and blood pressure lowering drugs. These are some the best success stories even though they may not get the attention and glamour as a body transformation.

I’m proudest of my testimonials where people were able to get off the meds and regain their health. This is life changing stuff and something I never stop getting excited about.

If you’re in the Charleston, SC area and would like to receive some coaching and accountability to help you make lifestyle changes, I’m always here to help. This is what we do every day at my Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios.

You don’t have to go it alone. Making new lifestyle changes can be difficult sometimes when old habits are hard to break. Accountability to someone other than yourself is an integral component towards positive change.

All I want for everyone in my sphere of influence is to be healthy and live life to its fullest. As a teacher and coach I look to share my insight and experience as a way to help make that happen. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can ever be of assistance in any way.

If this article helps you to reconsider your long-term use of statin drugs and prompts you to ask your doctor some tough questions, then in a small way I’ve played a positive role. Wishing you all the best.

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts, a Mt. Pleasant personal training studio that specializes in Charleston weight loss programs for body transformation.

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Category: Hormones & Health.