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Statin side effects: Weigh the benefits and risks

Doctors often prescribe statins for people with high cholesterol to lower their total cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. While statins are highly effective and safe for most people, they have been linked to muscle pain, digestive problems and mental fuzziness in some people who take them and may rarely cause liver damage.

What are statin side effects?

· Muscle pain and damage One of the most common complaints of people taking statins is muscle pain. You may feel this pain as a soreness, tiredness or weakness in your muscles. The pain can be a mild discomfort, or it can be severe enough to make your daily activities difficult.

· Liver damage Occasionally, statin use could cause an increase in the level of enzymes that signal liver inflammation.

· Increased blood sugar or type 2 diabetes It's possible your blood sugar (blood glucose) level may increase when you take a statin, which may lead to developing type 2 diabetes.

· Neurological side effects The FDA warns on statin labels that some people have developed memory loss or confusion while taking statins.

Alternatives To Statins?

1. Lose weight if you’re overweight.

2. Follow a diet that emphasizes vegetables and fruits, fish, particularly cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, herring and black cod for their heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Red rice yeast can also be very effective.

3. Reduce the amount of sugar and flour in your diet, particularly soft drinks, and processed snack foods. Added sugar – in the form of table sugar (sucrose) or high-fructose corn syrup – probably contributes more to heart disease than saturated fat.

4. Avoid trans-fatty acids. These heart-damaging fats can reduce HDL (good) cholesterol levels and raise levels of LDL cholesterol. Trans-fats are found in many brands of margarine and in most heavily processed foods, such as chips, crackers and cookies, and in the oils used to cook fast-food French fries, doughnuts and movie popcorn.

5. Daily aerobic activity can help increase HDL levels.

6. Don’t smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease.

7. Emotional stress may prompt the body to release fat into the bloodstream, raising cholesterol levels. Counter this with daily breathing exercises and other stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery or tai chi. Regular chiropractic adjustments help create a “buffer” so your body is better equipped to handle emotional stress


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