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Statins Increase Peripheral Neuropathy Risk

Human Nerve Cells and Peripheral Neuropathy Human Nerve Cells and Peripheral Neuropathy

Statins are among the biggest selling drugs in the United States. Millions of Americans pop these cholesterol-lowering pills every day to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, statins have been associated with a wide range of side effects, including headaches, confusion, liver damage, memory loss, and elevated risk of type 2 diabetes. Evidence is now emerging that long-term usage of statins may cause peripheral neuropathy.

A Danish study that investigated the effect of statins on the peripheral nerves reveals that statin users were 14 times more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy than non-users of these drugs. In addition, the findings of a 2011 study titled "Treatment With Statins and Peripheral Neuropathy: Results of 36-Months Prospective Clinical and Neurophysiological Follow-Up" show that taking statins for more than 2 years can cause serious damage to the peripheral nerves.

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that occurs when the peripheral nerves are damaged. The peripheral nerves are a network of 43 pairs of nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. Because peripheral nerves have an extensive range of functions, a wide array of symptoms are associated with peripheral nerve damage. Some people may experienced temporary numbness, tingling, and pricking sensations, sensitivity to touch, or muscle weakness. Others may suffer from more extreme symptoms, such as paralysis, muscle wasting, and burning pain, especially at night. A 2011 study suggests that statins should be considered the cause of peripheral neuropathy when other possible causes have been excluded.

Millions of people take statins to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. Unfortunately, statins can cause more harm than good; they have been linked with diabetes, cancer, memory loss, liver damage, and Parkinson's disease. Fortunately, there is a healthier and better way to fend off stroke and heart disease. Eating plant-focused diets can protect individuals from stroke and heart attack without any unwanted side effects.

Additional Information:

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Statins Increase Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Besides not preventing a first heart attack, statins may contribute to elevating blood sugar levels and increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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Treatment with statins and peripheral neuropathy: results of 36-months a prospective clinical and neurophysiological follow-up. - PubMed - NCBI

This study confirmed that long-term treatment with statins caused a clinically silent but still definite damage to peripheral nerves when the treatment lasts longer than 2 years.
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Peripheral neuropathy - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes and exposure to toxins.​  

 

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What about RedYeast Rice? Does this supplement have the same effect as prescribed statins? Please comment as I am currently taking them for high cholesterol and have seen results.

  Patty
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Red Yeast Rice contains the original statin marketed as Mevacor, which is how this pharmaceutical product was discovered.

  Linda Carney MD
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