Tag Archives: Statins

Statins side effects: Four citrus fruits that could interact to have serious consequences

Statins side effects: Four citrus fruits that could interact to have serious consequences

STATINS are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad cholesterol” and statins reduce the production of it inside the liver. However, a recent study has found that statins may interact with compounds in grapefruit juice, and in some cases, this can cause severe side effects.Statins side effects: Four citrus fruits that could interact to have serious consequences

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Statins reduce cancer risk by up to 40 percent among heart failure patients, says study

Statins reduce cancer risk by up to 40 percent among heart failure patients, says study

Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is often called the “bad” cholesterol because it collects in the walls of your blood vessels, hiking your risk of having a heart attack. Fortunately, statins intercept this process by reducing the production of LDL cholesterol inside the liver. Another major benefit of taking the drug is its ability to reduce cancer risk, says a new study.

Lead researcher Dr Kai-Hang Yiu said: “Our findings should raise doctors’ awareness of the increasing cancer incidence among heart failure patients and encourage them to pay extra attention to non-cardiovascular-related outcomes.

“Moreover, our study highlights the relationship between heart failure and cancer development and provides important information regarding the possibility of reducing cancer incidence and related deaths by using statins in these patients.

“Randomised trials should be carried out to investigate this further.

“In addition, the findings, combined with previous research showing the strong association between heart failure and cancer, call for potential strategies to reduce the risk of cancer, such as screening for cancer in heart failure patients.”

Previous laboratory studies have suggested that lipids including cholesterol play a role in the development of cancer, and that statins inhibit cancer development, said lead author Paul Carter, Cardiology Academic Clinical Fellow at the Department of Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, UK.

He added: “However, no trials have been designed to assess the role of statins for cancer prevention in clinical practice.

“We decided to assess the potential effect of statin therapy on cancer risk using evidence from human genetics.”

In a previous study, genetic variants which mimic the effect of statins through a technique known as Mendelian randomisation in UK Biobank was further analysed.

UK Biobank is a large study of UK residents which tracks the diagnosis and treatment of many serious illnesses.

Researchers were able to compare the risk of cancer in patients who inherit a genetic predisposition to high or low levels of cholesterol and were able to predict whether by lowering one’s cholesterol levels could their cancer risk be reduced too.

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Statins side effects: Sensations you should not ignore – you might need a higher dose

Statins side effects: Sensations you should not ignore – you might need a higher dose

Muscular aches and pains are the most common side effects of statins, but there are particular painful sensations that warrant a trip to the doctor. It could be a sign that your arteries are narrowing. Narrowed arteries restrict the blood supply to the heart and brain, which is exactly what you don’t want. Instead of this narrowing being a side effect of statins, it’s rather a sign that your dosage needs to be increased.

Other signs of heart disease include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness, weakness, or coldness in legs or arms
  • Chest tightness.

Dr Richard Hobbs, GP and head of primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, elaborated on using statins.

“They can be split into two groups: low-intensity statins (for example, pravastatin and simvastatin) and high-intensity statins (such as, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin).

“For most people, a lower-intensity statin will be enough to reduce their cholesterol sufficiently.

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“But if it’s not, your doctor may want to increase the dose or switch to a higher-intensity one.”

Once you’re prescribed statins, you’re usually on the medication for life.

“They only work for as long as you continue taking them,” Dr Hobbs explained.

The doctor advises everybody taking statins to have a check-up at least once a year, if not more.

For those who continue to have symptoms of heart disease while taking statins, lifestyle changes are recommended.

In conjunction with medication, Dr Hobbs advises people to “eat a healthy diet and avoid foods high in saturated fats”.

“Plant sterols and stanols – which are added to certain drinks and foods – can help to reduce your cholesterol by up to 10 per cent,” he said.

Anyone carrying extra weight – whether it’s a little or a lot – is recommended to lose weight.

“As well as taking a statin, it’s important to keep active, eat well and if you smoke, stop,” cautioned Dr Hobbs.

If you have any queries about statins you can contact the British Heart Foundation on 0300 330 3300.

The charity is well versed in all health subjects related to the heart, from heart disease to statins.

If you’re due your medical check-up, do get in contact with your doctor’s surgery – whether you have symptoms or not.

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Statins side effects How statins affect the brain’s nerve cells causing sleep problems

Statins side effects How statins affect the brain’s nerve cells causing sleep problems

In a study published in Science Daily, cholesterol-lowering drug and its link to sleep disruptions was investigated.

The study noted: “A cholesterol-lowering drug appears to disrupt sleep patterns of some patients, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2007.”

In the study, researchers tested 1,016 healthy adult men and women for six months in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using simvastatin, given at 20 milligrams (mg), pravastatin at 40 mg, or a placebo.

They assessed outcomes with the Leeds sleep scale, a visual analogy scale of sleep quality, and a rating scale of sleep problems. Both scales were measured before and during treatment.

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Statins side effects: The painful and embarrassing symptoms caused by drug use

Statins side effects: The painful and embarrassing symptoms caused by drug use

Chronic constipation

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, possible association between statin use and bowel dysmotility was further investigated.

The study noted: “The side effects of statins include diarrhoea and constipation, although no pathophysiological explanation is provided by the manufacturer.

“There are various mechanisms that have been postulated by which statins are thought to induce myotoxicity.

“Such theories include blocking mevalonic acid production, depleting coenzyme Q10 and inducing selenoprotein dysfunction.

“Another possible mechanism by which statins can have this effect may be related to nitric oxide levels.

“There is some evidence to imply that nitric oxide acts on inhibitory nerves in the colon to produce impaired motility.”

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Statins side effects: Digestive issues you should not ignore – you may need a lower dose

Statins side effects: Digestive issues you should not ignore – you may need a lower dose

The NHS reaffirmed: “If you find certain side effects particularly troublesome, talk to the doctor in charge of your care. Your dose may need to be adjusted or you may need a different type of statin.”

Types of statins:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Fluvastatin (Lescol)
  • Pravastatin (Lipostat)
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  • Simvastatin (Zocor)

Digestive issues can include constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion and/or farting.

Aside from a statin side effect, there are various reasons why you might be constipated.

This can range from not eating enough fibre (from fruit and vegetables) to not drinking enough fluids.

Other causes of constipation include:

  • Not moving/exercising enough
  • Spending long periods sitting or lying in bed
  • Ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
  • Dietary changes or change to your daily routine
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

How to treat constipation

To make your poo softer and easier to pass, you need to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol
  • Increase the fibre in your diet
  • Add some wheat bran, oats, or linseed to your diet

Once you implement these guidelines, it can take a few weeks for symptoms of constipation to improve.

It’ll also help to rest your feet on a low stool while going to the toilet, added the NHS, especially if the knees raise above the hips (as though you’re squatting).

And you’ll need to incorporate more movement into your daily life, such as going for a walk.

If you use laxatives (medication that encourages bowel movements), they should only be used for a short period of time.

If you’ve been regularly constipation, and it lasts a long time, you’re advised by the NHS to speak to your doctor about it.

Diarrhoea

After a long bout of constipation, diarrhoea can occur, which can be a sign of “faecal impaction”.

This is when poo has built up in the last part of the large intestine (i.e. the rectum).

When you’re suffering from diarrhoea, it’s important to remain well hydrated.

Sipping on water is the best option, as fruit juice or fizzy drinks can make diarrhoea worse.

Do I have indigestion?

Known as dyspepsia, you may have the following symptoms after eating or drinking:

  • Heartburn – a painful burning feeling in the chest, often after eating
  • Feeling full and bloated
  • Feeling sick
  • Belching and farting
  • Bringing up food or bitter-tasting fluids into your mouth

To help ease indigestion, cut down on caffeine and alcohol, and prop your head and shoulders up in bed.

It’ll also help to avoid rich, spicy or fatty foods, not to smoke, and to not take aspirin as this can make indigestion worse.

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Statins side effects: Three signs you should not ignore – it could be a 'life-threatening'

Statins side effects: Three signs you should not ignore – it could be a 'life-threatening'
Atorvastatin – a type of statin – is prescribed to people with high cholesterol. As with all medications, there may be side effects. However, there are three signs that warrant medical attention. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), atorvastatin can lead to the side effect “interstitial lung disease”. The three signs you shouldn’t ignore when taking atorvastatin are:

  • Dyspnoea
  • Cough
  • Weight loss

When to be cautious of atorvastatin

People who have a high intake of alcohol need to be careful if they’re taking statins.

This is because they increase their chances of developing “muscle toxicity, including myopathy or rhabdomyolysis”.

Myopathy

This is when the tissues within the muscles become damaged; this can feel painful.

Rhabdomyolysis

This is “severe” myopathy, where the muscles become severely damaged, and it can lead to kidney damage.

What is heart disease?

The British Heart Foundation explained that heart disease occurs when the arteries become narrowed by fatty deposits.

Symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea

Certain conditions increase the risk of heart disease such as:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Heart disease can lead to heart failure or a heart attack, two possible deadly consequences.

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Statins side effects: The colour of your urine may signal statin-induced liver damage

Statins side effects: The colour of your urine may signal statin-induced liver damage
Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is a fatty substance that collects on the inside of your arteries – it is a precursor to heart disease. Statins help to prevent cardiovascular complications by reducing the production of LDL cholesterol inside the liver.
Taking statins have therefore had an incalculable impact on millions of lives but taking them is not without its risks.

Like all medicines, statins can cause side effects, and some are serious.

“Occasionally, statin use could cause an increase in the level of enzymes that signal liver inflammation,” warns the Mayo Clinic.

According to the health body, you should contact your doctor immediately if you have dark-coloured urine.

READ MORE: Statins side effects: Three types of fruit to avoid if you’re taking statins

Other signs of liver damage include:

  • Unusual fatigue or weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in your upper abdomen
  • Dark-coloured urine, or yellowing of your skin or eyes.

“Although liver problems are rare, your doctor may order a liver enzyme test before or shortly after you begin to take a statin,” adds the Mayo Clinic.

It is worth pointing out that the risks of any side effects also have to be balanced against the benefits of preventing serious problems.

A review of scientific studies into the effectiveness of statins found around one in every 50 people who take the medicine for five years will avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.

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How to lower cholesterol without statins

You can also lower cholesterol naturally by making healthy lifestyle changes.

Eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood.

In regards to the former, the most important dietary tip is to cut back on foods containing saturated fat.

“Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood,” warns the NHS.

The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.

But in general, it’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.

It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.

The Mediterranean diet has been linked with good health, including a healthier heart.

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