Here’s some news you won’t hear in the media — using statin drugs to lower cholesterol has now been associated with an increased risk of sprains, strains and dislocations. This is in addition to the known potential for serious muscle injury from some statins and the other serious side effects, such as liver damage, memory loss and confusion, and type 2 diabetes.
If you are on a statin for real or imagined cholesterol issues, you should have a discussion with your prescribing doctor about these new findings.
New Study Finds Statins Associated with Muscoloskeletal Injuries
In this study published online June 3, 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine, Dr. Ishak Mansi (VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas) et al reported that the use of statins appears to be associated with an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries, including an increased risk of dislocations, strains, and sprains especially in physically active people.
Treatment with a statin was associated with a 19% increased risk of any type of musculoskeletal injury, a 13% increased risk of dislocations, strains, and sprains, and a 9% increased risk of musculoskeletal pain.
According to researcher, Dr. Ishak Mansi,
These findings are concerning because starting statin therapy at a young age for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases has been widely advocated.
Children and Statin Therapy
Children with high cholesterol may be started on statins as young as 8 years old. While very high cholesterol or Familial Hypercholesterolemia (inherited) is something that needs to be watched, children still need cholesterol — more so than adults — for their growing brains. As noted by Dr. Mansi, starting statin therapy with children has been widely advocated.
As we know, most medical doctors keep busy by writing prescriptions rather than inform people about dietary changes. In the case of high cholesterol, even if they do give dietary advice, it is incorrect. As I have said in other articles about cholesterol, it’s not the dietary cholesterol or saturated fat — it’s the sugar and starches that drive heart disease.
I am not opposed to screening tests at all. I think it is a good idea — especially if there is a strong family history of heart disease. For some folks, they need to see how bad things are before they are willing to make some dietary changes. Unfortunately, any conventional dietary advice given is not the correct advice.
Statins Also Cause Fatigue and Other Serious Problems
In this study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2012, researchers found that people on statins reported fatigue and exertional intolerance.
When you take statins, there is the potential for side effects no one is told about.
Officials from the FDA announced in February of 2012 that they would require additional safety warnings to the labels on statins, including brand names Zocor (now known as simvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin). These drugs work by inhibiting the enzyme that facilitates the liver’s production of cholesterol.
Statin labels must now include warnings about the rare but serious risk of liver damage, memory loss and confusion, and type 2 diabetes. Certain statins, such as simvastatin, can also raise the risk of muscle weakness – a rare but very serious disorder called Rhabdomyolysis.
Cholesterol is an Essential Part of Our Physiology
Cholesterol is an essential part of the cell membrane. It makes up part of the bi-layer phospholipid membrane that keeps nutrients in the cell and toxins out. This cell membrane has a certain fluidity to it. When it is made up of the wrong fats (from trans fats and polyunsaturated fats) the membrane may be too fluid or too stiff and lose it’s protective quality by allowing small molecules into the cell that otherwise should not be there.
The cholesterol molecule is the basic building block for all the steroid hormones in the body. It shouldn’t be surprising than, that in the U.S. infertility affects 7.3 million individuals. All the sex hormones (progesterone, estrogen, testosterone) are derived from cholesterol. Cholesterol is also the basic building block for vitamin D.
Finally, in order to digest and assimilate fats, the body makes a substance called bile. Bile acids are crucial to the breakdown and absorption of fats. To make bile, the liver uses cholesterol. Therefore, you need cholesterol to digest fats.
The Real Culprit
What has really happened in the last 40 years is that healthy saturated fats from pastured animals has gone the way of the dinosaurs and people are eating rancid polyunsaturated fats — many of which are heavily laced with pesticides and are genetically modified — which are drivers of inflammation and oxidation. These fats damage tissues and organs and lead to all of the modern diseases we are experiencing today.
Adverse Events Associated with Drug Use
Whenever you take a medication you have to think about the consequences. Sadly, most people are not told by the prescribing doctor all the potential adverse events that may occur. While a sprain or strain may not sound too bad, a dislocation can take months to heal.
A bad sprain or strain can also take up to a year to heal and/or require surgery. If you are active and taking a statin, you have a greater risk of injury doing the very thing that helps to keep you healthy — exercising!
As a chiropractor, or anyone that has a physical job, an adverse event like a sprain, strain or dislocation can put you out of work for a while. These are all things to consider before taking any medication.
In the case of statins, the risk versus the very questionable benefit must be considered. Along with the other serious side effects, such as liver damage, memory loss and confusion, and type 2 diabetes, it’s a no brainer!
Have that chat with your prescribing doctor today! Do you really need to be on a statin?
Where to get more information about cholesterol
- cholesterol-and-health.com — written by PhD student of Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition, Chris Masterjohn
- Ignore the Awkward: How Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive by Uffe Ravnskov — a good book about the cholesterol issue
What so you think about the cholesterol debate? Leave a comment and let me know!
- Avoid Statins: Embrace Your Cholesterol
- The REAL Cause of Heart Disease — Not Cholesterol
- 5 Reasons to Love Cholesterol