The safety of cholesterol drugs has definitely been all over the media over the past few years. Physicians are rather quick to prescribe these cholesterol lowering medications, but just how safe are they? There have been conflicting reports, some stating that cholesterol drugs are extremely safe and others saying that they are extremely risky. Before you even consider taking cholesterol drugs, you will want to take a closer look at their effectiveness and the risks involved with them.
Once you are well informed about the risks associated with cholesterol drugs, you might decide that they are not your best option. While this may be the case, high cholesterol levels are not healthy either. If you choose not to take cholesterol drugs, you will need to come up with another way to lower your cholesterol levels and ensure your overall health and wellness.
Do They Reduce Morbidity and Mortality Rates?
First, consider the overall effectiveness of cholesterol drugs. If you take medications for certain ailments, you will want to be fairly certain that they are going to actually help you. Here, we will discuss determinations found in two different studies regarding the effectiveness of cholesterol drugs. Chances are you will find the results to be quite alarming.
A study was done to determine the correlation between cholesterol medications and reduced morbidity and mortality rates. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, based on aggregate data on 65,229 men and women from 11 studies, yielding approximately 244,000 person-years of follow-up and 2,793 deaths, we observed that statin therapy for an average period of 3.7 years had no benefit on all-cause mortality in a high-risk primary prevention population.
For a medication that has many side effects and risks involved, this determination does not prove to be very promising for patients that are currently taking, or considering taking, cholesterol medication. Most people want to see studies that prove that there is a very high success rate in improving mortality and morbidity rates when taking certain medications, instead of seeing that there is really no benefit whatsoever.
Another study that was included in the 2010 British Medical Journal had even more alarming news. It states that for every heart attack allegedly prevented by cholesterol-lowering drugs, two people suffer liver damage, kidney failure, cataracts, or extreme muscle weakness as a direct result of taking the drugs.
From this study, you can see that cholesterol drugs actually caused more harm than good in patients. It is safe to say that you might want to weigh the pros and cons of cholesterol drugs before you fill that prescription. After all, the side effects may not be worth the chance that you may have success lowering your cholesterol levels.
What are the Side Effects?
A variety of side effects come along with cholesterol medications. Most of the common side effects are not considered to be too serious, but a few more rare side effects can be quite serious.
The majority of the side effects experienced by cholesterol medications include headache, flushed skin, insomnia, muscle pain or weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, bloating, constipation and skin rash. Many people have reported muscle cramping disappearing once their doctor took them off their cholesterol medication. While these side effects are common of many medications, you must look at the more serious side effects before you determine if cholesterol medications are right for you.
Most people are unaware that some cholesterol medications warn of potential mental confusion, memory loss, nerve damage, anemia, sexual dysfunction, cataracts, elevated blood sugar and even type-2 diabetes. One of mechanisms interfered with by many of these medications is fat metabolism. Your brain is about 70% fat, all your nerves are coated with fat and each and every cell in the body contains a phospholipid membrane (fat membrane). So you can see how this interruption in fat metabolism can cause damage to many vital functions. Another thing to consider is the fact that these medications can
often interact with other medications to cause other side effects.
Now, let us take a closer look at the more serious side effects associated with cholesterol medications.
- Myositis muscle inflammation, at a higher degree of severity.
- Elevated Creatine Kinase elevated amounts of the muscle enzyme CPK, which can lead to pain, weakness and inflammation of the muscles.
- Rhabdomyolysis another type of muscle inflammation that can lead to severe damage to the body, especially the kidneys.
- Arthritis inflammation of the joints, which can be very painful.
- Hepatotoxicity liver damage that is induced by chemicals.
- Pancreatitis inflammation of the pancreas.
- Lyells Syndrome also known as toxic epidermal necrolysis, and is a dermatological issue that is rare but life threatening. The epidermis and the dermis begin to detach from each other.
According to research done by the University of Balogna in Italy, Muscari and Puddu wrote:
Factors predisposing to adverse effects are age, female sex, renal insufficiency, electrolyte disturbances, infections and trauma. Complications chiefly concern the hepatic function, skeletal muscles and peripheral nerves.
This means that certain people are more likely to experience these adverse effects of cholesterol lowering medications.
Alternatives to Cholesterol Drugs
Whether or not you choose to take cholesterol drugs, you will still need to make a few lifestyle changes to ensure longevity of life. The best ways to lower your cholesterol levels include losing weight, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising and quitting smoking.
Here are several dietary changes that can be helpful in lowering your cholesterol:
- Eat healthier fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats
- Avoid trans fats
- Limit grain intake
- Eat lots of fruits and veggies
- Add wild fish to your diet, especially heart-healthy fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Eat free-range chicken and eggs
Several natural products that have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. After discussing it with your physician, you might want to consider incorporating the following into your daily dietary intake:
- Blond psyllium
(list compilation provided by Mayo Clinic)
As you can see, you can do a variety of things to help promote healthier cholesterol levels, without the use of cholesterol drugs. After seeing the damaging side effects that can be caused by cholesterol drugs, it is safe to say that you should want to take action to prevent the need for medications. Make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle, and focus on ways to naturally reduce your cholesterol levels. Always consult your physician before starting or stopping any medications.
If you want further information on how to naturally lower your cholesterol check out Dr. Stephs Skinny on Fats and Killer Carbohydrates DVD and manual on the product page of this site.
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