Statins and Type 1 at 54


(Katherine) #1

My Endocrinologist is recommending I begin taking a statin. My LDL Cholesterol is just above the “good” range, but there is heart disease in my family. I am 54 years old and he has been recommending this for a couple of years. My LDL stays about the same each checkup, and while I exercise and definitely eat a “heart healthy” diet I have been unable to lower that level on my own.
But, I am concerned about the side effects. The body fatigue and muscle aches are a concern since I already have that from some bursitis in my hip, issues with a tendon in my foot, and micro tears in a rotator cuff. And, fatigue, well, as an elementary school teacher, I am already “fatigued” after work and am concerned this medication will make a hard job even harder. But… of course I want to be smart, and I know the risk of heart disease is high.
If anyone has experience with this I would love to hear your story and your recommendations. Thanks. And, be well.


(joe) #2

@Kbescherer hi Katherine, only a small number get side effects you describe, I’ve been taking statins for >10 years and have had no side effects and my cholesterol was always good (now it’s great). You can always stop.


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #3

Hi Katherine @Kbescherer, I’ve been on prescribed statin for about 15 years since my total cholesterol went above 150; the endocrinologist I was seeing at that time told me that the target for a person with long-term diabetes should be as close to 10 as possible.

during my time on statins - at least three different ones during 15 years - I have not had any problem with “soreness”. In fact, since I began using the gym regularly, 4 to 6 days every week, the shoulder bursitis that had been bothering me since the 1970’s has cleared up - and now in my late 70’s I am up and about, relatively active without signs of fatigue. Of course, each of us is different.


(Katherine) #4

Thanks Joe. Good to know. :blush:


(Katherine) #5

Hi Dennis. Thanks so much. It sounds like you are doing great. One followup, I’m wondering why did you need to switch statins over the years?


(trufflemaker) #6

Hello, a year ago I went about 90% vegan. I eat animal maybe 1 dinner a week, fish mainly. Reduced my cholesterol 35 points. Good cholesterol was great, I just wanted an edge for family history wasn’t a good future. Now it’s 150.

Before you choose, go to www. Nutritionfacts.org and watch what ever you can on statins. It’ll help you decide. Best to you.


(Bill) #7

Hi, Katherine @Kbescherer,

Well, I guess I’m the one who had the “bad reaction” out of the group. Statins, even at half the recommended dose, made me hurt so bad it was difficult to move. And the fatigue was really tough to deal with. After six weeks I explained to my internist that I just couldn’t (wouldn’t) take them anymore. Since he knows me pretty well he said, “okay.” But, to show he’s following the “guidelines,” he brings it up at my yearly physical.

And that brings us around to “beta blockers” (the recommended “protection” for kidneys if you have T1D). I couldn’t get out of a chair without experiencing significant postural hypotension. I would often come close to “blacking out,” even when taking half the recommended dose. And the “cough” that beta blockers caused was really, really frustrating.

There are some of us who are “hypersensitive” to many medications. It sometimes boils down to a “life expectancy vs. quality of life” kind of decision. I chose “quality of life” with both types of medication.

I hope your trial of statins goes great! Perhaps I’ll end up the only “outlier” in the group.

Cheers!

Bill


(Jess) #8

About 2 years ago, my endocronologist convinced me to go on a statin. I’m a little heavy, and my cholesterol numbers were at the upper normal range.

After about a week, I was having really bad leg cramps. After about 2 weeks, It would take me about 3 minutes to put my socks on in the morning, and I had to take breaks because my legs and hips hurt so bad. So, I quit taking that one.

Next Dr. Appointment, I try a different statin, with similar results.

Then I switched to a 3rd statin, one that supposedly didn’t have as bad of muscle stiffness side effects, but it still did. I gave that one an honest try for about 2 months, then gave up.

I’ve been taking red-yeast-rice. Supposedly that can help to lower cholesterol. I’ve also tried to make better food choices, and stay away from fried foods and other fatty foods.

I decided I would rather die of a heart attack at age 60 than to suffer the painful side effects of taking statins. They limited my mobilility to the point I wasn’t getting very much exercise because it was painful to move. I figured regular exercise would have a larger impact on reducing my heart-attack risk than taking a statin and living with the side effects. So, I told my doctor I was not going to take them anymore because in my opinion, they were doing more harm than good.

Hopefully, you have better results than I did. Good luck!


(Bill) #9

Okay, so Jess @MrEntropy and I are the “outliers” in this group. And his point that statin side effects (when they occur) can reduce activity is important - people who have T1D just have to keep moving!

Jess offered his “health food store remedy” (red yeast rice). Mine is gluten-free oatmeal. With my extremely-limited diet (because of gluten-sensitivity and T1D) I have found that gluten-free oatmeal is the perfect base for a really good breakfast. And, as a very complex carbohydrate, it stays with me until about 11:00 in the morning without running my blood glucose level through the roof… My cholesterol and triglyceride numbers are perfect. And my wife’s are perfectly acceptable (she, too, has problems with statin side effects). So, for some people, “health food store remedies” provide a very useful alternative to statins.

Your mileage may vary.

Bill


(Steven) #10

I’m going to throw my 2 cents in (pretty much all it’s worth).
I’m 58 and have had T1 for 6 years. I’ve read the studies and they do show a decreased risk for cardiovascular complications. I do have slightly elevated cholesterol (bacon tastes great!). I also have a very high HDL (good cholesterol). I saw no mention of HDL in the studies ( my oversight?). I already have muscle aches and fatigue, for whatever reason. I told my Endo “no, no, hell no”. But I agreed to take a baby aspirin daily.
Personally, I think that there are individual considerations and that I would weigh the pros and cons in your INDIVIDUAL case.

I’ve also seen studies where statins are recommended for almost everybody. I’m NOT a conspiracy theorist, but seriously, who stands the most to gain? You or the pharmaceutical companies? Just asking (for a friend).


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #11

Katherine, I switched the first time because after using the same one for several years it appeared to become less effective; the second switch was from a Brand Name with high co-pay to a generic which appears to work better for me than the other two .


(Katherine) #12

Makes sense. Thanks for the info. :blush:


(Katherine) #13

Hi Steven. Thanks for your reply. Yes, case by case is definitely well advised especially when it comes to T1D. And, I think some consideration is of course given to how long you’ve had it. I have had it for 28 years and I know the wear and tear adds up.
It does seem that statins fall under the “prescribe it to everyone” category and there has been a lot in the news over the past year on how detrimental that can be. Also, double check on the baby aspirin every day, I recall just seeing something about that in the news and it was not always advisable.
Be well.


(Katherine) #14

Thanks for your reply. Way to go on your diet and improved results. :+1:t2:


(Katherine) #15

You certainly gave it a go. I don’t know that I would have been nearly as patient. Hopefully you can find alternate ways along with being active to help but, wow, those side effects do sound terrible. Sorry you had to go through that. Hang in there. :blush: Thanks for writing.


(Katherine) #16

Thanks for your reply. T1D and gluten sensitivity is a lot to manage. I’m glad you found a solution and I will look into the diet changes that might be a difference maker. Be well.


(Steven) #17

@Kbescherer. Yes, the studies DO mention that the duration of the diabetes IS an important consideration. Thanks for clarifying that point.
Also, thanks for the advice on Baby Aspirin. I have been paying attention on the news. It’s kind of my “Compromise”. But I’ll keep an eye out.


(Jm1977) #18

I recently was put on a statin too. My doctor wants me to go for a blood test after a month to check liver levels (apparently it can affect them). He also said to record any side effects I notice. He said if one statin doesn’t work for me, another one likely will. He also said by documenting and letting him know about side effects, it will help justify prescription of a different statin to my insurance.

So far I have been lucky. I am watchful. If I do notice a side effect which effects my muscles, I will stop taking it and revisit my doc.

I think as long as you are proactive and aware of and watch for side affects, you can deal with them the moment they occur (although I hope they don’t occur.).

Good luck to you.

Joanna


(Jm1977) #19

Why a statin? For me my cholesterol is “great”?! But I have high levels of lipoprotein A (genetic). My doctor thinks that is a large factor in a stroke I had last year. I definitely don’t want to go there again so am taking the avorstatin and one my no aspirin daily. Type one for just over 4 years and 40 years old.


(Christopher) #20

I took statins for about 10 yrs., until I developed muscle aches. Without the Lipitor, my lipid panels are pretty poor, and my family history, on my father’s side, is alarming.
BUT then I had a CT calcium score done. Got a zero. Can’t get any better than that. So I don’t worry about my lipids any more, though I am careful about my diet.
My suggestion is to get a calcium score. Most insurance won’t cover, but if you shop around you can find places (not hospitals) that do them for a couple hundred dollars. It’s worth the piece of mind, or will tell you whether you need to take measures like statins.