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Old 08-30-2014, 05:54 PM   #1
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To women who have gone off...or refused to take...statins

I'm reading more and more of the dangers of statins for women, specifically the increased risk of diabetes. I've lamented in several posts how I don't have the usual risk factors associated with diabetes (I'm thin, 108 lbs, I have normal fasting insulin (4.8), I've exercised my entire life), yet my A1c is in pre-diabetes territory. I've been taking a statin for the past 15 years and this past year my A1c has been inching up to the point where I'm now on low dose Metformin (low carbing hasn't helped much). I'm afraid that my statin is driving me towards diabetes (20 mg Zocor). I know that if I go off the Zocor, my cholesterol will go up as will my LDL and tri's which are all well controlled with the statin. My HDL is good too, last test was 82. I keep saying I'm going to talk to my doctor about this, but I have yet to do so. For those women who were on statins...or refused to take one....how are your cholesterol numbers? Are they through the roof? What does your doctor say about it? And for those women who did go off a statin, did your sugar numbers come down (specifically A1c)? I'm so nervous about "rocking the boat", but I don't want to get diabetes, and I certainly don't want to get it from a medicine that's supposed to be helping me. I don't have heart disease, but I do have high blood pressure. No one in my family has had a heart attack, but my sister has a stent (she has a very poor diet and doesn't exercise). Is there anything you can tell me that will give me more ammunition for when I talk to my doctor? By the way, my doctor has stopped checking CRP (inflammation), but the last time he did mine was very low. (But so was my sister's and she had a blockage).
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:13 PM   #2
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If you supplement Coenzyme Q10, you should avoid (most of) the damage from the statins.

You should *insist* that you have serum Coenzyme Q10 levels done when you have your 3-month liver bloodwork for being on a statin. That is a major marker of whether the statin might be harming you. If your Coenzyme Q10 is low, start with 100 mg per day, in the morning preferably. If it's not low, you should be okay but have it rechecked regularly. I'd also insist on the CRP, at least every year.

If you want some light reading, look up Merck's initial studies on Lipitor, and how they initially recommended that Coenzyme Q10 be supplemented while on Lipitor, but decided against the recommendation of the researchers because it would "cost the consumer too much and they wouldn't buy it".

Also - I would suggest getting a cardiologist if you don't have one already. Too many people trust their GPs to prescribe potentially harmful drugs. Considering how many choices there are for both cholesterol and blood pressure control, I'd rather go to a specialist, and also get a baseline to see what is going on.

Concerning your diabetes - have you had a 6-hour GTT? How is your fasting blood sugar? Does your endocrinologist recommend staying on the Zocor? I have competing interests, where my GI doctor doesn't want me to take certain medicines, and I have to go back to the prescribing doctor to get them changed. But my ulcers have been a lot better since changing from medicines that aggravate ulcers.

(I was taking Niaspan, and have been off it for two months. I will let you know what my cholesterol numbers are when I get them rechecked in a month. I cannot go on a statin because I already have the symptoms it causes due to a medical condition.)
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Old 08-31-2014, 02:04 AM   #3
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I just wrote a very long response and hit the wrong key and it's gone (I'm sitting here in the dark at 4:30 in the morning). I'd like to thank you for your very informative response. I actually already take CoQ10 but I need to check the dose. Are you saying that if my CoQ10 levels are normal that my elevated A1c is probably not due to the Zocor? Diabetes is in my family, my maternal grandmother had it and my brother has it. I haven't been diagnosed with diabetes and don't have an endocrinologist (even though I do have autoimmune thyroid disease...not Hashi's...I have Silent thyroiditis for which I take 50 mcg Synthroid). My fasting BG before the Metformin was 87. I do test my BG and when I showed my doctor my logs and pointed out some spikes after eating certain foods (which I no longer eat) he said he didn't see "anything out of the ordinary" and couldn't explain why my A1c was in prediabetes territory. After being on the Metformin for 2-/2 months, my A1c went from 6.0 to 5.7 so it seems to be helping. I haven't had a six hour GTT and I doubt my doctor would order me one. I'll do more research on the statins and CoQ10, thank you for that information. In the meantime, I'll continue to eat right and exercise and take the Metformin (by the way I'm on the lowest dose 500 mg Metformin ER).
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Old 08-31-2014, 03:14 AM   #4
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I've read that statins can bring on diabetes, but here's my experience.

I was undiagnosed hypothyroid for several years--and my LDL kept going up, which I now know was due to my low thyroid. My HDL has always been high (90s) and my trigs low. Nevertheless, all my doctors were making 'noises' about statins. I ignored them, and told them directly that was NOT an option for me.

Once I was diagnosed, even my very good endo mentioned statins early in my treatment (at that time I didn't know the thyroid/LDL connection, but HE certainly should have!). I told him that I was not concerned because of my high HDL and low trigs. He did a VAP test, and all my LDL was the 'large, fluffy' kind that's not perfect but healthier than the small, dense particles.

Over the next few years, as my thyroid optimized, my LDL went down until it's now well within range--my HDL has remained high and trigs low. So I was right to ignore the doctors--something I don't often do. I really think that doctors have been 'brainwashed' by Big Pharma to prescribe statins willy nilly without a sense of the patient's overall physical condition.

I can't tell you what's right for you, but I hope my experience is helpful.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:49 AM   #5
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Thanks, Leo. Your numbers are good and you obviously don't need a statin. I think some doctors aren't so quick to prescribe them now after all the recent studies and new warnings on the labels. When my A1c went to 6.0 I e-mailed my doctor asking him if it could be the Zocor and he said, "no", but that's a dismissive response. You know, I have no idea what my numbers would be without a statin because I've been on one for so long (even way before my thyroid stopped working). If I went off it, I know my total number would go over 200, but I'm not sure how much over 200. What I do know is that with 20 mg of Zocor, my numbers are in the "good" range and that includes my LDL particles. My tri's have been low and HDL high, but that is with the statin....I don't know if they would remain that way if I went off. I guess it wouldn't hurt to stop the Zocor for 3 months and see what my blood results are. I'm one of those people who needs to rehearse what I'm going to say and to have some answers prepared just in case the doctor has an argument (I've never been able to think on my feet...I always come up with the perfect response 3 o'clock in the morning when I'm lying in bed awake going over the conversation in my head) All I know is, I'll be better off discussing this with my doctor rather than just letting it go. But I said the same thing before my last appointment and I didn't say anything. Next appointment is beginning of November. I have plenty of time to prepare. DH said I should make a special appointment now to discuss it....I'm thinking about it.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:51 AM   #6
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Ronnie-
What you might do is 'rehearse' what you plan to say to your doctor and actually write yourself some notes to bring with you.

I do that with questions I intend to ask because I've found that in the midst of the appointment with other things going on I would forget to ask my questions.

Keep in mind that if you 'ask,' I doubt that any doctor would say, 'OK--you can go off the meds.' It's your body, so you could phrase it, "I want to drop the statins for 3 months to see how I'd do without them." If the doctor resists, I might insist UNLESS he could provide a good medical reason for staying on them.

My understanding is that far too many people are prescribed statins. Keep in mind that just being slightly off the lab values may be 'normal' for any particular individual. Statins were developed for that minority who have a genetic disorder that causes the body to produce too much cholesterol. When that happens, the numbers are astronomical.

I know this because I worked with a man who had that problem. His father had died of a heart attack at age 38, and he suspected a genetic problem and had his cholesterol checked when he was in his early 30s. This was before the current statin 'craze,' and his doctor doubted that there was any problem, as my friend was trim and fit. His numbers were incredibly high, and he's been on statins for the past 35 years. HE is the type of individual for whom statins were developed, not the person whose numbers are slightly 'off,' according to standardized lab ranges.
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:55 AM   #7
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Thanks, Leo, that's good information and good advice. I do remember that before Zocor my total cholesterol number was something like 240 (I think ) which is by no means astronomical. I'm writing down your sentence about stopping the statin for three months....good stuff, thank you! I will be prepared for my next appointment as I intend to write it all down. I know I would definitely forget a lot of what I wanted to say unless it's written in front of me. Will post afterwards.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:07 AM   #8
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The thing is, statins mess up your liver. They interfere with your liver. Of course, there is a good part to that, the cholesterol lowering part. The bad part is that it lowers other things that are good.

This image is a summary of what is happening:
http://sg0.pharmanord.com/1000/Mevalonate.jpg

Note that some think that you need higher CoQ10 supplementation if on a statin, even if you are showing normal CoQ10 levels.

As for the diabetes and statins - I'm not sure that I buy the connection. Every time I see a study that "studies studies", I wonder how comprehensive they can take out factors like weight, family history, and previous pre-diabetes.

However, what was your cholesterol when you were off the statin? I went off Niaspan, and my cholesterol went from 200 to 204, but my HDL went up. Would you consider trying fish oil, if you talk to your doctor about it?

My husband is on Niaspan now, and his cholesterol was 267, and he is trying the LC WOE to get his cholesterol down.
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