Do Statin Medications Cause Diabetes or Raise Blood Sugar?

Statins are a prescription medication that is aimed at reducing bad cholesterol levels in your blood vessels. As with all medication there are risks and there are benefits. The current recommendation from both the Food and Drug Administration and the FDA and Health Canada, is that the benefits outweigh the risk for people who need to take statins. There are a lot of people who take statins under doctors’ orders and many people who need to take them but don’t know it yet.

Statin Medication Cause Diabetes

Do Statins Cause Diabetes?

Health Canada is telling all citizens that the labels on statins have changed. All prescriptions that lower cholesterol now carry a notice warning of a raised risk of higher blood sugar content and a somewhat lesser increased risk of diabetes. The possible side effects particularly affect patients who have a pre-existing weakness for heart disease.

Health authorities everywhere have now reviewed all the available data from statin studies and concluded that the possibilities of developing diabetes is mostly among those people a propensity for the disease already. For example those people with extra high levels of glucose or triglycerides, or those people who are obese and or with hypertension. But still the overall benefits to the heart and blood systems within the body benefit more than they risk by having statins cut their cholesterol. The whole picture around statins is very complex and messages are confusing. There have been a number of health scare stories appearing in the media that receive an undue amount of attention.

How Do Statins Work?

Statins operate by blocking the body’s production of an enzyme, which builds cholesterol in the liver. Raised cholesterol in the blood is a precursor of cardiovascular disease and a significant contributory factor in the development of diabetes. Diabetes is a debilitating condition in which your body cannot absorb blood sugar. This is because your body is not producing insulin, or is insensitive to the insulin it does produce. Diabetes is a multi-cause, multi symptom condition that can be triggered by several factors. Thus a minor change in blood sugar levels does not automatically mean an increased risk in all cases.

New Warning Label?

All statins on the market today now have an updated label. It contains advice on raised blood sugar numbers and the added dangers of contracting diabetes. More importantly there is guidance on how to identify people at greater risk from being on a statins regime. The only realistic recommendation though, is that doctors are required to monitor diligently patients on statins and very diligently those patients in the high risk groups.

From the patient’s perspective they need to consult their doctors before stopping any medication and to find out if they are in the high risk group. This is particularly important if patients become aware of the symptoms of raised blood sugar levels. These are; a marked increase in the need to urinate, abnormal thirst and or increased appetite. In the long term, the side effects of statins may be memory loss and muscular injury.

Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

2 thoughts on “Do Statin Medications Cause Diabetes or Raise Blood Sugar?

  • March 17, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Then there are the studies suggesting that total cholesterol is not important but instead, lipid particle size and numbers of lipid transporters.

    Then there’s the camp that states that the anti inflammatory properties of the statins are what are really beneficial to the well being and risk reduction of coronary artery disease patients and not the cholesterol reduction per se.

    Can we not get an objective, comprehensive and definitive answer on this?

  • March 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    In my view, statin should be withdrawn from circulation! If you read between the lines and interpret all the statements dispassionately, statin is potentially dangerous. No need attempting to cure a disease and then introduce another one! It is bad medical practice! Yes, high cholesterol can eventually kill a person; and so is diabetes.


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