AskNadia: Do Statins Raise Blood Sugars or Cause Diabetes

Dear Nadia,

Is there a correlation between statin medications for cholesterol and diabetes?

Lynn F
Berkeley Ca
Dear Lynn,

Statins are important medications that reduce bad cholesterol that builds up in the arteries. They work by preventing the liver from producing LDL, the bad cholesterol.

These medications also stabilize the lining of the blood vessels to prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Statin Studies:

In 2009, the Veterans Affairs conducted a study of 345,417 patients with and without diabetes, to see if taking cholesterol-lowering medication, increased their fasting plasma glucose. After a two-year period, they concluded that there was an increase in high blood sugars for both groups.

Anther study in 2012 followed 153,840 patients who did not have diabetes and took statins. These were postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79 years. The study concluded that there was a correlation found with hyperglycemia and diabetes for postmenopausal women. The outcome also questioned if a specific class of statins; more or less potent, influenced these results.

The last study I found tied everything in because it was designed to see if the different statin potencies, influenced the onset of diabetes.

The investigation revealed the higher potency statins such as Crestor (rosuvastatin), or the moderately potent Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin), do put you at risk for developing diabetes.

Physicians are now deciding what type of potency is best suited for their patients based on their genetic disposition and weight.

If you need a lower potency statin, your physician might prescribe you Pravachol (Pravastatin ), Mevacor or Altoprev (lovastatin) to achieve a good LDL target.


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Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professionals therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

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About Nadia:

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia holds 15 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
Her passion for working in the diabetes community stemmed from her personal loss. She has used her experience as a caretaker to forge a career in helping others.


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