The Statins Debate

I think that there is a lot of confusion about the benefits of statins, and who should take them.

There also seems to be a lot of confusions about LDL, HDL and TC, and how the ratios are interpreted.

I used to take my doctors' prescriptions on trust and generally did not fully read the accompanying leaflets. However, I started wondering as to why I was feeling tired all the time, ad muscle cramps and muscle aches and quite severe lower back pain. I had been prescribed statins because my doctor thought I was a high risk case - onset of type2 diabetes.

I found out that my LDL, after taking statins was 4.2 and my HDL 2.2. This gives an assumed healthy ratio of 1.9.

It is mentioned that the ideal ratio should be 3.5 or less; hence my LDL could increase to 7.7 with an HDL of 2.2 to be considered ok.

The leaflet about statins - among others - does mention that one of the side effects is an increase in blood sugar, which could even lead to diabetes or make an existing condition worse.

So, why should I take statins and suffer quite a few side effects, probably accelerate my diabetes?

I have stopped taking them, and will not resume taking them.

The argument that most people over a certain age should be on statins as a preventative medicine - to save the NHS money - is very much led by an Oxford University professor. There are many other voices in the medical profession who do disagree with him.

Any comments?

15 Replies

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  • I think that more and more people are researching for themselves the risk/benefit balance of statins rather that just taking their doctor's prescription for it and that is a good thing. I do agree that it is a complete maze out there with completely contradictory opinions depending on where you get your information.

    I also think we are all completely different and have to make the decision that is right for us, which is why I hate dogmatic opinion on both sides of the statin debate. Making your own decisions are empowering.

  • I do agree with you, and, as long as we are not told that we will no longer be treated, should we refuse a certain 'recommended' drug, it is possible to use one's own judgment.

    I would say, however, that there has to be more clarity regarding the information that is available. It seems to me that the NHS hierarchy - not necessarily one's own GP - does push the prescription of allegedly preventative drugs like Statins.

    Further, there are many people not used to debating their doubts successfully and will take whatever drug is prescribed.

  • What is triglyceride?

  • It is the fat that is formed in your body - it refers to one carbohydrate molecule forming the backbone to three fatty-acid molecules. Controlling carbohydrate intake therefore automatically controls formation of triglycerides in the body.

    Lowering insulin levels also limits the production of lipoprotein-lipase, restricting the storage of body-fat.

  • I just think there is so much confusion about this whole cholesterol "thing" (for want of a better word!). Most of the general public probably have no idea about FH and the difference between inherited forms and higher levels maybe caused by poor diet. People like Dr Kendrick who I really admire and follow, don't in my opinion fully address this issue either, although I totally agree with his stance on mass statination and I think the new draft NICE guidelines are misguided!

    I decided to take matters into my own hands when I realised that the GP's in my practice all have widely different views on the prescription of statins and I've seen 3 out of 4 with very different views.

  • what are LDL,HDL,TC

  • LDL = 'bad' cholesterol

    HDL = 'good' cholesterol

    TC = LDL +HDL

    I this is not correct, please somebody let me know.

    sometimes the LDL:HDL ratio is referred to, sometimes the TC:HDL ratio.

    I have not come across a truly satisfactory explanation as to the interpretation of the different ratios.

    Any comments?

  • I was advised to take statins for a cholesterol level of 6.1 by my previous gp, I did, & all i wanted to do was sleep when I took them. Then a couple of months into the treatment I began to get muscle pain when I walked, so I stopped taking them. According to my present doctor, & have an 11 per cent chance of a heart attack in the next 10 years. I don`t know if that warrants treatment with statins or not.

  • Get a second opinion if your doctor's comments worry you. In my opinion, there is no clear evidence that heart attacks or strokes will be avoided through statins. I prefer to take a calculated risk and not have to suffer the side effects of statins.

  • im 46 and i was told i had to take statins etc to prevent a stroke,heart attack,etc,etc........but dont do drugs which are plant manufactured by a chemical company etc......and for high profit........it does not make sense........docters are pushing them around like sweets,just for a cheap and easy fix for profit and to save the nhs money so they can ignor the real issues of proper health care ........and ignor real research.........i find it totally insulting........how many docters really over the age of 40 take these drugs for health care etc........their should be more support in weight loss,exercise,diet etc and more deeper research.........than just pushing drugs..........its an easy,careless solution,profit.........just like drug dealers on the streets..........its totally put me off seeing docters who take high wages and dont give real care,some might work long hours, like alot of the general public do in other jobs but this should not be just a cheap,uncareing solution.............

  • I have a hunch that the drug companies do try to promote the taking of statins, and their motives may be more profit related than having patients' welfare in mind. And I am glad I am not alone. Have a look at this link that shows the views of the deputy chairman of the BMA.

    coconutoil.com/deputy-chair...

    "Those sounding the alarm include Dr Kailash Chand, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association, who suffered “awful” muscle pains while taking statins and claims that plans to prescribe them to millions more adults will “only benefit drug companies”.

  • I have a hunch that the drug companies do try to promote the taking of statins, and their motives may be more profit related than having patients' welfare in mind. And I am glad I am not alone. Have a look at this link that shows the views of the deputy chairman of the BMA.

    coconutoil.com/deputy-chair...

    "Those sounding the alarm include Dr Kailash Chand, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association, who suffered “awful” muscle pains while taking statins and claims that plans to prescribe them to millions more adults will “only benefit drug companies”.

  • i cant believe that longterm pumping drugs into our body is the real answer to health care...........apart from our genes,it must have something to do what we are eating............drug companies are in businness to make money profit,real health care is not about profit........this is why deep research is needed around diets,what we put in our bodies to prevent drug companies pushing drugs for short term fixes,as the real damages come out later,by then,. they have ran off with their profits etc.........and damaged other parts of our bodies...........most people know in truth they are pumping to much sugar,fats etc into their bodies........most are not exercising enough........manufactures are using cheap ingredients to bulk food,with chemical names we dont understand..........why has their not been deep research fighting these issues, as this is in front of our eyes to see..........im not against drug companies etc........but wish more would come clean with the public,,im sure some do good,who use natural ingredients etc.......but i dont want our docters,supporting them, both in hand taking money out of the public pockets without deep research in the real issues in front of our eyes.......is this really supporting the public health long term.........or making more problems.......

  • I think that the research of the effectiveness of drugs should be divorced from the manufacture of them. Both pure and applied research should only be carried out by 'not for profit' bodies that do not have an affiliation with the pharmaceutical companies.

    There should be more research into studying groups of the global population with lesser incidents of coronary decease and strokes. What are they doing that is different from those groups that have a high risk of heart decease? Is there a strong genetic link, or is the main contributory factor diet and life style?

    Also, I am not convinced as to what cholesterol level should trigger the prescription of medication.

    My pre-statin level of LDL was 6.9, but my HDL level was/is 2.2; hence TC/HDL is 4.13.., the LDL/HDL ratio is 1.9.

    Why was I prescribed statins? My GP thought that my slight diabetes - type 2, no medication taken - put me into the high risk group. So, why was I given a statin that had a sizable risk of increasing my blood sugar level, thereby accelerating diabetes?

    I do feel angry.

  • They were prescribed because your doctor cannot think for him/herself, but can only regurgitate what he's been taught - and the drug companies are very much involved in student training (sponsorship etc). Medical students are only taught what is currently in vogue, i.e. a drug for everything. The patient can't win because the powers that be don't want doctors who can think for themselves, and this is evident from their selection of students for medical training. Also, drug research is totally financed by the drug companies.

    By the way, 6.9 was in the normal range before they lowered the normal so they could give statins to more people.

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