What You Need to Know About Statin Drugs
The Complete Story…How They Work…The Good and Bad
Our program is not limited to growth hormone (HGH) replacement therapy.
Part of your treatment includes the latest research and methods of treating the vast array of potential health problems that you may be suffering from, as well as preventing future problems.
This includes pharmaceutical drugs, such as statins, the most commonly prescribed cholesterol-fighting medicines.
While there are many medical issues that are a source of disagreement among scientists, physicians, and researchers, there is one topic that virtually everyone agrees: high levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol is a severe and potentially deadly risk to both your health and your life.
Elevated LDL cholesterol levels increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. This is due to LDL cholesterol from your blood barging into your arteries at ever-increasing amounts.
When this happens, LDL is oxidized, which sets off a chain of events that eventually results in the formation and accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque, leading to a condition called Atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries due to a build-up of plaque on the inner walls, and often leads to heart attacks and strokes.
The causes of this condition are the usual suspects in many other health problems: poor nutritional habits (too much junk food, processed food, and sugar); genetics; sluggish thyroid; obesity and large waist circumference; diabetes; smoking and lack of exercise (i.e., being a couch potato).
Statins have become a popular choice to treat cholesterol problems, and for many, they are efficient and often well-tolerated. Statins are one of the most frequently prescribed classes of drugs, and more than twenty-five percent of adults age 45 and older take statins.
How Do Statins Work?
Statins have been used primarily to treat high cholesterol. Statin drugs, like atorvastatin, pravastatin, and simvastatin, work by inhibiting a liver enzyme that is involved in the production of cholesterol.
They are most effective at lowering levels of LDL cholesterol and may also contribute to increasing levels of High-Density Lipoprotein HDL (“the good cholesterol”).
In the most recent analysis of statins for primary prevention in patients who have not had a previous cardiovascular event, a 14 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and a 25% reduction in fatal plus non-fatal cardiovascular events was reported.
However, the validity of these numbers has been questioned; some researchers have claimed that studies conducted by scientists without conflicts of interest did not find any reduction in cardiovascular events, in contrast to studies paid for by pharmaceutical companies.
Like most medications, statins have both good and bad sides. In many cases, the benefits outweigh the risks. Here is some information about statins that will make you think beyond your cholesterol number.
Cholesterol is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease and a significant risk factor for stroke and disease of the arteries. Statins reduce harmful cholesterol by slowing its production in the liver.
You may think of cholesterol as just a number, but using statins has other benefits to your cardiovascular system. Research has shown that statins may reduce the incidence of heart attack, stroke, and death in people without heart disease.
In fact, statins have a primary role in cardiovascular disease prevention. They’ve proven to reduce heart attack and stroke by lowering harmful cholesterol which thickens arteries and increases the risk of clots.
A review of 90,000 statin users by the Medical Research Council in Oxford and the University of Sydney concluded that risk of fatal heart attack or stroke fell by about a third.
Benefits started immediately, increased the longer statins were taken, and cholesterol continued to fall. The study reported statins are especially valuable to people at high risk of heart attack or stroke and also protect patients whose cholesterol was considered normal.
Additionally, statins have a few side effects that appear to be helpful, such as improving endothelial function (the balance between vasodilating and vasoconstricting substances produced by (or acting on) the endothelium, which controls platelet adhesion, coagulation, and immune function) and reducing inflammatory markers.
Other studies have reached the same conclusion: statins save lives. Cardiovascular disease is America’s biggest killer, causing approximately 610,000 deaths a year.
It’s estimated that statin use has prevented thousands of heart attacks, strokes or deaths from cardiovascular disease.
These drugs primarily benefit those who have suffered a heart attack or stroke or have angina or peripheral arterial disease.
Statins have been tried and tested for 20 years. They’ve been in use for over a decade and most trials, involving tens of thousands of patients, continued for five years or more.
Researchers have investigated the potential health benefits of taking statins. There is evidence that statins may reduce the risk of:
- Heart attack and death in people with heart disease regardless of cholesterol levels
- Cardiovascular events and death in people who are at high danger of developing cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack, stroke, and death in individuals with elevated levels of C-reactive protein, a sign of inflammation in the body
- Cardiovascular events in women who have cardiovascular disease
- Surgery to improve blood flow to the heart and unstable angina in women
Statins may also help lower blood pressure.
More massive doses of statin drugs are associated with higher likelihood of side effects, and additional risk factors such as other drugs, older age, diabetes and high triglycerides also increase the chances of adverse effects.
If your doctor prescribes statins, some common side effects that you may have include:
- Nausea or diarrhea
- A headache
- Pruritus (Itchy skin)
Possible severe side effects include:
Memory loss and confusion. Memory loss is reported by some, but the evidence is inconclusive. Therefore, the debate continues over whether statins may have damaging effects on brain function.
Approximately 17 percent of patients who take a statin experience some mental confusion. Although this is not an extremely high level, it still is enough to warrant trying to lower high cholesterol levels with better nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Elevated blood sugar levels and increased risk of diabetes. It is now accepted that there is an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in statin users. One study reported a 9 percent increase in risk; another said a 13 percent growth in danger.
The reason for this is that statins appear to promote diabetes by interfering with insulin secretion by the beta cells of the pancreas and by lowering insulin sensitivity.
Liver damage. Taking statins can result in elevated liver enzymes, which is a sign of the liver working harder and may cause liver damage.
This side effect has been reported by some statin users. However, once again, the evidence is inconclusive, since many people experience no liver problems while using statins.
Muscle pain or weakness. Some individuals who take statins develop muscle damage. In extreme cases, the body may release the protein myoglobin, which can cause kidney damage.
The most common adverse effects of statins are myopathies (reduced muscle function), which may be due to impaired energy production in the mitochondria of the muscle cells.
These side effects include muscle pain (myalgia and myositis) and a severe breakdown of muscle called rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis can also lead to kidney and liver dysfunction.
More severe muscle breakdown occurs rarely and is usually reversible upon stopping the drug. In a small number of cases, muscles can be severely damaged.
Muscle damage caused by one statin, cerivastatin (Baycol) was severe and widespread enough (several hundred deaths) for it to be withdrawn from the market in 2001.
Cancer. There have been numerous scientific studies about the use of statins and the risk of cancer, but the evidence is conflicting.
Kidney damage. A study examining Canadian healthcare records for 2 million patients who had been newly prescribed a statin found an increase in the incidence of hospitalization for acute kidney injury during the first six months of statin use.
This was worse with high potency statins in particular. Again, this is due to the increased chance of the body releasing the protein myoglobin, which can damage the kidneys and, as mentioned earlier, also can cause muscle pain.
Due to the adverse effects of statins on skeletal muscle, there is evidence that statins may also blunt the beneficial conditioning effects of aerobic exercise.
The likelihood of muscular side effects depends on the dose of the statin, and these side effects are more prevalent in physically active patients.
A team of researchers from Japan and the U.S. has compiled and described possible molecular mechanisms by which statins could accelerate heart disease.
The authors make the argument that the abnormalities caused to the energy production machinery in skeletal muscle imply that heart muscle could be similarly damaged.
Cataracts. Previous studies that have looked at the link between statin use and cataracts have produced conflicting results.
Some say there is an increased risk; others say there is not, and some show inconsistent associations. In light of this, doctors are urged to carefully consider the risks versus the benefits of statin use, especially for prevention.
As with other side effects, further studies are needed.
Women and statins. All agree that both sexes with heart disease should consider statins. But discussion continues over whether women at moderate risk of heart attack and stroke should take statins.
Studies of men and women have shown a reduced risk with statins for both genders. However, the number of women participating was insufficient to produce definitive results. Until a large-scale trial assesses effectiveness in moderate-risk women, statins should be avoided in most lower-risk women.
But for those at moderate risk, the drug should not be ruled out.
In day-to-day living, these side effects can cause some users to have difficulty climbing stairs, suffer from constant fatigue and have sore muscles, especially after activity.
These side effects must be noted If they persist or worsen, the drug dosage must be adjusted, or the drug use may have to be stopped. However, this is not the case for most people taking statins.
The Bottom Line
If you have elevated cholesterol, changing your nutritional intake and getting off the couch should be your first course of action.
Medication is unnecessary for most people who make the appropriate lifestyle changes. A nutrient-loaded choice of foods such as cruciferous vegetables, nuts, beans and berries work synergistically to bring LDL cholesterol down and restore the arteries back to proper operation.
Unlike taking a statin while continuing poor eating habits, a diet based on vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, organic grass-fed meats and adequate water intake for proper hydration delivers multiple benefits: dramatically lowering your risk of heart disease, annihilating atherosclerotic plaque while causing cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammation to plummet.
A healthy lifestyle of smart eating and the right fitness routine also gives your body the strength to ward off diabetes and cancer, and provides you with an “iron-clad” immune system.
Also, nutritional supplements are an essential part of the equation. Statins are potentially toxic to the mitochondria because they may deplete the body’s levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a critical component of mitochondrial energy production.
Cardiac muscle tissue is especially vulnerable to CoQ10 depletion because of its high energy demands. Our clinic will monitor your levels of this vital substance, and recommend supplementation as needed.
However, if, in spite of your positive lifestyle changes, your cholesterol levels stubbornly remain high, statin use may be warranted. In that case, the above information should allow you to make an informed decision.
Restoring Your HGH Levels is the Key
By deciding to slow down and potentially halt the aging process, you are aware that AGING ITSELF plays a massive role in all afflictions, including increased risk of heart attack, stroke and elevated cholesterol levels.
You can choose to remove the cause or treat the symptom. Treating the symptom with statin drugs does not reverse heart disease and carries the risk of adverse effects.
Removing the cause with a medically-supervised growth hormone replacement therapy, combined with health-promoting nutrition, physical fitness, and stress-reducing lifestyle changes will reduce not only cholesterol but also lower blood pressure, heart disease and deliver reliable protection against diabetes, dementia, and cancer.
We have all bases covered.
The whole program.
A synergistic blend of hormone restoration to your youthful levels…the right nutritional plan…a fitness routine personalized for you…the latest advice on health-promoting supplements…and medical supervision of any condition that may require prescription drugs…we leave nothing to chance.
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