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Don’t Shy Away from Statins

Don’t Shy Away from Statins

In the 1999 hit film The Matrix, computer hacker Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) wakes up to find that (spoiler alert!) he’s been living in a machine-controlled dream world, “the Matrix,” his whole life.

When it comes to the side effects of cholesterol-lowering statins, it turns out some people who believe the drugs are causing aches and pains might be living in a dream world too. Now, don’t misunderstand us: Statins can cause muscle pain and liver dysfunction, but much less than what’s commonly believed.

Earlier studies have linked statins to muscle problems, memory issues and diabetes. But a review of the research found that many people have wrongly attributed such aches and pains to statins when they’re related to osteoarthritis, myopathy or an injury.

If you think the statin you’re taking is causing side effects, talk with your doctor and get to the real source. If one is making you feel bad, since there are more than eight statins to choose from, chances are there’s a different one that’s better for you. (We like atorvastatin or rosuvastatin for their anti-inflammatory and anti-LDL cholesterol effects.)

The benefits of taking a statin greatly outweigh the risks for people at high risk of cardiovascular problems. If you’re at high risk, taking a statin for one year can reduce your risk of heart-related problems by 25 percent! And there’s growing evidence that for people with diabetes, even before they have diagnosed heart problems, statins can be a lifesaver.

Get personalized advice for controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowering your risk of heart disease. 

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

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