Statins have long been recognized as a way to fight the effects of high cholesterol. But according to a new study from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, statins may also aid patients with diabetes.
The drugs have long been used to lower blood pressure and prevent the risk of heart attack and stroke, but the researchers in Denmark have also found that statins may help to protect against the damage caused to small blood vessels by diabetes, which in turn can lead to amputations and blindness.
Since statins are suspected of raising glucose levels in the body, the researchers were surprised by the study’s result. They thought that taking statins might actually increase the risk of developing microvascular complications, one of the symptoms of diabetes. Surprisingly, taking statins actually decreased the risk of developing these complications.
The study looked at 60,000 patients with diabetes, all of whom were over 40 years old and were diagnosed with the disease between January 1996 and December 2009. The researchers compared the results of 15,500 patients who were taking statins and 47,000 who were not.
They did a median follow-up 2.7 years later and found that patients taking statins were 34% less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes-related nerve damage. They were also 40% less likely to develop diabetes-related damage to the retina of their eye. Furthermore, patients who took statins were 12% less likely to develop gangrene in their limbs.
However, the findings weren’t completely positive. The researchers also found that diabetes patients who took statins did not decrease their risk of developing kidney disease. The researchers also noted that the results of the study, while hopeful, are not conclusive, so further research will be needed. The study was also confined to Denmark and research on diabetes patients in other parts of the world is also needed.
Statins have anti-inflammatory properties, which are thought to slow the progression of microvascular disease in patients with diabetes.
Until it is conclusively revealed that statins have beneficial properties for patients suffering from diabetes, there are ways they can alleviate the symptoms, such as following a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and maintaining good oral hygiene.
You can also take natural supplements, such as ginseng and chromium, which have been found to be useful in lowering blood sugar levels. A number of foods and spices, such as broccoli and other green vegetables, as well as coffee and cinnamon, have been found to be useful in fighting the symptoms of diabetes.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Dallas, M.E., “Statins May Prevent Diabetes-Related Nerve Damage Study Finds,” WebMD web site, September 9, 2014; http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20140909/statins-may-help-prevent-diabetes-related-nerve-damage-study-finds.
“Natural Remedies for Type 2 Diabetes,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/natural-remedies-type-2-diabetes.