During marathon season I took a vacation from my statin, believing it was causing my muscle pain. And sure enough, a short time after I stopped the statin, I started to feel better. Of course, it could have been a total coincidence and may not have had anything to do with the statin. But since I was training for a marathon, I decided to stay off the medication until the marathon was over. (It wasn’t the first time I’d done this.)
The price I paid for my vacation was high cholesterol, with LDL cholesterol between 125-150 during that period. This didn’t bother me too much but every time I went to the doctor – my GP or endo – I was scolded and told that it was very serious and that because I have diabetes I need to have my LDL under 100.
I tried asking a friend who’s an endo to see if she would be more sympathetic, but she wasn’t and told me it was just as important to take statins as it is to control blood sugar.
So after I completed the Milano marathon, I went back on simvastatin. Since then my running has been off, I’ve felt sluggish and have had soreness in my muscles. At first I assumed I was just getting over the marathon, then I thought it had something to do with the change of weather (it has gotten very hot here). I also considered it might just be my body saying: “Hey, we’ve had a long hard year, it’s time for a rest”.
But then I read the article in the NYTimes, Can Statins Cut the Benefits of Exercise? and it made me wonder if maybe my tired and ever cramped legs had anything to do with the statin I was on again.
Last week I went in for blood tests (I’d had bad results the month before) to see if the changes in my basal rate have done the trick, and to see if my cholesterol was high because of my elevated blood sugar levels.
The results were an improvement from my last test, my A1c went down to 7.3% (from 7.4%) my fructosamine went down from 571 to 471 and my cholesterol levels came down too (with the help of simvastatin) from 132 to 117. I wasn’t expecting the improvement in BG to be huge since this takes time and there was just under a month between the two blood tests. But I did think the cholesterol would be better then it was.
I know my doctor is going to want to increase my dose of simvastatin, and he may suggest trying another pill. I, however, want to stop taking it altogether. I’ve read many articles and blogs about statins and I know that there are many people who are against statins. There are those that claim that higher LDL cholesterol levels don’t really cause heart disease (or at least not all kinds of LDL) and there are those who believe that it’s all a conspiracy of Big Bad Pharma to make money. But I haven’t met a doctor who will tell me “oh, you don’t need those.”
It’s easy giving advice, telling people that statins are bad for you, but it’s a little harder not listening to your doctors who tell you your at risk for heart disease and that you have to take this medication.