Are Statins Causing Heart Attacks They’re Supposed to Prevent?

by Chris Centeno, MD /

We’ve written prolifically over the years about the many side effects of statins, the class of medication used to lower cholesterol. This new study delves further into the well-established connection between the use of statins and diabetes. The problem is, diabetes is a disease that puts you at greater risk for a heart attack. Let me explain…

What Is Diabetes?

To understand diabetes, it’s important to distinguish between type-1 and type-2 diabetes. While in both cases, we’re dealing with not enough of the glucose-regulating insulin hormone being produced, which means the body is unable to regulate its own blood sugar, they are, in fact, two entirely different diseases.

In type-1 diabetes, the body sees its own beta cells (insulin-producing cells) in the pancreas as foreign invaders and sends in its immune cells to attack and destroy them, similarly to how they would fight off a bacteria or virus. Type-1 diabetes falls under the large umbrella of autoimmune diseases (meaning, a hyperactive immune system that attacks its own otherwise healthy cells and tissues), and those with type-1 diabetes are dependent on insulin medication to resupply the body with the insulin it is unable to naturally produce.

In the significantly more common type-2 diabetes, those beta cells in the pancreas are still producing insulin as usual, it’s just no longer enough to control the blood sugar. Insulin resistance occurs when then blood sugar can no longer be lowered by the normal levels of insulin. Type-2 diabetes often then occurs as a result of metabolic disease due to preventable health conditions, such as obesity and high blood pressure, and, as such, this form of diabetes is associated with many high-risk diseases, such as strokes, heart diseases and heart attacks, and so on. Type-2 diabetes is the one we will be focused on today.

What We Already Know About Statins

Statins are cholesterol-lowering medications, and as often as physicians push these meds, you’d think they were miracle drugs. Indeed, many industry-funded studies can be found that purport they cut the relative risk (RR) of heart attack by as much as one-third to one-half. But the question we need to ask is, one-third or one-half of what? And what exactly is relative risk?

Basically, if your risk of a heart attack was 3%, according to these studies, statins may drop it to 2%. In other words, statins may lower your heart attack risk a measly 1% over three and a half years (take this out to five years, and this statin benefit can drop to 0.3% or lower). That one-third to one-half or less, therefore, is just a percentage of a percentage! So this RR is a creative illusion of the trade, making the numbers seem higher than what they really are, and for those who don’t understand the research terminology, they rely on the industry marketing to do it for them. Big Pharma, however, just wants to sell more drugs.

An argument could be made that lower risk is lower risk, regardless how miniscule; however, as with any drug, it’s important to weigh the benefits against the risk of the drug itself, and statins, unfortunately, carry a lot of dangerous risks, such as the following:

I cover more on statins in my video below:

Both direct and indirect links between statins and heart disease have also been previously found. One study found that statins may actually cause calcifications in the coronary arteries and deplete critical heart-health nutrients, such as vitamin K2 and selenium, suggesting statins may be directly responsible for clogged arteries and even congestive heart failure.

Today’s feature study below isn’t the first time these widely prescribed statin drugs have been linked to diabetes and, therefore, heart attack risk. In 2015, I covered another study that found dramatic increases in diabetes over eight to nine years in those taking statins. Today’s study continues to confirm what we already know about statins: they increase the risk for diabetes. What does all of this have to do with heart disease and the risk of heart attack? Diabetes is one of the leading causes of heart disease today. Let’s review the new study.

Statin Use Linked to Type-2 Diabetes

The purpose of the new study was to provide a deeper investigation on the already well-established links between statins and type-2 diabetes. The study consisted of new users of statins who did not have a diagnosis of diabetes at the start of the study and covered a 15-year period between 1997 and 2012. The results? When compared to those not using statins, those on statins were found to be at a significantly higher risk of insulin resistance and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and had a 38% higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Though the increased risk of diabetes is concerning enough, with diabetes comes all of those serious well-associated health risks, such as heart disease and heart attack, stroke, and so on. So let me get this straight, Big Pharma. You want me to take a drug to reduce my risk of dying from a heart attack that makes me have a higher risk of getting a disease that can cause a heart attack?

Once we deconstruct many of those neatly packaged industry-sponsored miracle-drug studies, it can be quite an eye-opener as to what we’re really getting. Thankfully, there are other ways to reduce cardiac risk, like exercise, diet, and supplements, that you may consider discussing with your doctor.

The upshot?  You want me to take a drug to reduce my risk of dying from a heart attack that makes me have a higher risk of getting a disease that can cause a heart attack? You just can’t make this stuff up!

Category: Side Effects

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 thought on “Are Statins Causing Heart Attacks They’re Supposed to Prevent?

  1. Mary

    I would avoid EVERY statin drug. Not sure they have any benefits and side effects are way too common.

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.