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Can taking statins increase my risk of developing diabetes?

A compilation published in "The Lancet," which analyzed data from a number of large studies involving statins, did indicate that this class of medicines seems to associate with a slightly increased risk of developing diabetes. The authors of the paper consider this risk low, particularly in comparison with the known benefits of statins in reducing cardiovascular complications in appropriately selected individuals. Many high-quality studies have shown that patients with diabetes have reduced cardiovascular events when treated with statins. There are some exceptions, such as diabetic individuals with advanced kidney disease, a population in which studies of statins have not shown benefit. As atherosclerotic complications are a major cause of death in people with diabetes, the results of this study should not dissuade us from using statins according to current guidelines in this population.

Why do statins encourage diabetes? Figuring that out will ideally lead to a fix. Meanwhile, for most statin takers, the benefits still far outweigh the risks.

That said, if you take a statin (a startling 25 percent of Americans over 45 now do), keep your antennae up for early diabetes symptoms: feeling off-the-hook thirsty, hungry, or tired; constantly hitting the bathroom; developing blurred vision; and/or frequent infections. It's not likely, but...the next time you have a checkup, get a test for type 2 diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.