Funny how issues can swirl right past you, until they become personal. Then suddenly you awake to find yourself at the center of the storm! What I’m getting at here is that a few weeks ago, my endo decided I should start taking a statin drug. And all of a sudden, all the hullaballoo over these widely-touted cholesterol-lowering pills hit home.
On the other hand (there’s always another hand!), new research confirms that statins can cause a lot of undesirable side effects, including muscle pains, pain or numbness in fingers and toes, and other effects ranging from blood glucose elevations (yipes!) to tendon problems. There’s unsettling evidence of late that doctors may have been downplaying these side effects, knowingly or unknowingly.
Scary. But my doctor says the negative effects have in fact been over-hyped, and that the bulk of research suggests statins offer heart protection that is — certainly for anyone over 40 with diabetes — well worth the minimal risks.
Still, I’m not sure I should be on a statin at all. Here’s my deal: I’ve always had great cholesterol numbers. Oddly, my HDL (good cholesterol) levels have always been surprisingly high. (So much so that I was once suggested as a candidate for a study on people with abnormally high HDL.) Anyway, this high HDL, coupled with an LDL level that has slowly crept to the upper limits of normal, has put my “total cholesterol” score into the red — but just barely.
Again, since I’m over 40 (you can stop reminding me now, Doc!) and I have the Type 1, taking Simvastatin is apparently a good idea for me. It’s just that I hate swallowing pills. And I’m suspicous that they’re making me gain weight. And I just don’t like the idea at all. So I’ve been rather “non-compliant” with this drug for starters.
Anyone out there want to share their thoughts on statins, good or bad?