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Correlation between statin use and elevated blood glucose?
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Correlation between statin use and elevated blood glucose?

Hi folks, first time poster here in this forum.  I've been taking Simvastatin for 5 years, and coincidentally during that time period my blood glucose levels have been steadily increasing from 100 to 162.  My GP has told me that I have pushed thru the ceiling of an index that's used for determining risk.  He has given me 90 days to pull it back, or I'm going on Metformin.  I am what I would consider to be, a healthy, active, non-smoking  60 y/o male.  I'm a bit overweight, but not excessive, and I don't think I go overboard on foods and drinks that would promote high glucose levels.  The only change I've made in the last 5 years (other than aging!) is I'm taking Simvastatin aka. Lopressor.  When I question my doctor about this, he immediately dismissed it saying the problem is with my diet.  Has anyone else here notice the same, and if so could they point me to an authoritative source that I could direct him to?
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Avatar_m_tn
Maybe the doc is right. A bit overweight? Don't go overboard on food and drink? Watch those carbs. No more than 60-75 per meal.
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141598_tn?1355675363
There is no evidence that your cholesterol med Simvastatin [Zocor] raises glucose levels nor does it cause diabetes. Your doctor is correct. Poor diet/nutrition is a major contributor to your high cholesterol, your rising glucose levels and will lead to full blown diabetes. Other contributing factors are being a "bit overweight" and lack of exercise.

"..could they point me to an authoritative source that I could direct him to?"

Point him to? Sorry, it is you that needs direction, not your doctor.
Too many people rely solely on medication to make themselves normal when basic lifestyle changes are ignored. Let us not forget Type 2 diabetes is associated with being just a "bit overweight", high cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of daily exercise, and above all poor food choices.

Proper nutrition means to accentuate the positive when it comes to food. I dislike the word diet. “Diet” implies a rigorous, self-sacrificial discipline that’s doomed to fail. Instead, focus on achieving food goals of what you should eat each day rather than what you shouldn’t eat. When you consume more vegetables, healthy fats [such as olive oil and nuts], lean proteins, fruits combined with low carbohydrate, low calorie, low starchy foods, your hunger will be satisfied and you will naturally want to make better choices.

These are the key items in lowering your glucose levels:

1. Weight: Lose the excess poundage. A bit overweight says you're fat. Lose it.

2. Exercise: 30 minutes a day. Go to the nearest mall b4 it opens. It's warm, dry and safe. You'll find others in the same boat as you walking their excess glucose and poundage off. And don't stroll lazily, walk at a moderate continuous pace.

3. Nutrition/diet: Besides sugary foods and liquids simple carbohydrates are one of your worse enemies. The sugars in these foods are quickly absorbed into your blood stream. Avoid white foods; foods made with white flour such as white bread, white rice, crackers, potatoes, pasta.

Other foods/drinks need care too. For example; milk has Tablespoons of sugar, fruit & fruit juices [fructose aka fruit sugar] also can cause blood sugar to rise [so serving sizes and moderation are important]. With fruit it’s important to eat them with other foods to slow the absorption of fructose. I'm NOT saying that these foods aren't allowed. What I AM saying is that you need to use care and follow the guidelines for diabetics – avoid sugar, avoid bad carbs, avoid sugary liquids, eat proper foods.

Ignore these lifestyle changes and you WILL become a diabetic. And keep in mind, there is no cure for diabetes so now is the time to turn your life around. Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
Not only the best answer today but all-time. I hope Tom listens to you.
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141598_tn?1355675363
Thanks asok, I too hope Tom reads, understands and applies the message. As long as Tom is not in denial that untreated diabetes will affect his heart in a bad way he can live a good life.
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144586_tn?1284669764
There is evidence that in some patients statins affect glucose levels. Journal of American Cardiology 2010, August 17th, 56(8), 680.

There are also significant side-effects of statins, to include cognitive decline and loss of memory in a high percentage of users.
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141598_tn?1355675363
Caregiver - I believe the JACC report was on Avorastatin [Lipitor] not Simvastatin [Zocor]. In any case, I do not believe statins are the way to improve health, I feel they cause more harm in then end run than good. The way they have proliferated the market is testimony of slick marketing because in reality no one needs them.
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Avatar_m_tn
Tom - I am absolutely convinced simvastatin gradually increased my blood glucose levels. My doctor monitors my numbers every 4 months - cholesterol,glucose,etc, blood pressure. My blood glucose slowly rose over a period of years until it got to the point where my doctor said we have to do something. I am in my late forties and athletic and I don't eat much junk, never drink soda or eat cake or cookies.  So I took it upon my self to try an experiment - I stopped taking the statin for a couple months and guess what my metabolism improve so drastically that I could tell, I lost weight doing nothing additional and guess what?  the next doctor appointment my blood glucose according to fasting blood glucose test was suddenly normal. My doctor had never heard of this side effect but was goin to ask a cardiologist.
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1751918_tn?1312074816
Yes! Tom, there is a correlation!
I was on Lipitor, when my blood sugar started going up.
Later, my wife found some clinicals that verified that statins can reduce the insulin sensitivity of your cells I'll ask her if she can find the link.
Thanks to "Death to Diabetes" book and program I no longer take Lipitor, insulin, or lisinopril (for my blood pressure).
My average blood sugar is 92, my total cholesterol is 176, my blood pressure is now 115/75. My doc is amazed, so he's borrowed the book and is now reading it.

Sincerely,
Thomas
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1423357_tn?1414258965
I just saw that this post was resurected from way back in March.  Just after I posted this, I went on a as-little-carbs-as-possible lifestyle, reducing carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day, usually under 30 grams per day.  My A1C on March 21 was 7.3  When I tested again in early June, it had dropped to 5.8  I have also lost 21 pounds, and two waist sizes.  Note that I said "lifestyle" and not "diet".  I feel great, and yes..... I look great too, and so far no D meds.  My wife also jumped on the low carb bandwagon, and has lost 15 pounds, and looks fantastic. She's also a T2, and has been on Metformin for a couple of years.

One thing we both found invaluable was testing our blood.  For me, it turned into a competition against myself; always striving for a lower reading that the same period the day before.  I've reduced testing to twice a day, as I've gotten the hang of what foods drive the BG's. high.  I've kind of hit a weight loss plateau, leveling off around 189 pounds. I'm still dropping, but it's much slower now.

Bottom line, toss anything "white"; rice, pasta, flour, potatoes, and of course sugar. I saw an 60 point drop in fasting BG within two days when combined with exercise.  In the beginning, levels fluctuated wildly throughout the day, but have settled in the low 90's now.  My physician was beside himself after expecting me to come back at the same levels.  He went so far to warn me not to go obsess, but I do most things in life as all or nothing, and it's no different here.
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141598_tn?1355675363
Talk about a success story, tom_h you are a poster guy for turning your lifestyle around towards the positive. A BIG congratulations on getting that A1c down from 7.3 to 5.8%. Keep at it as that last 0.8% to be shed is just around the corner. And congrats to your wife too!


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1423357_tn?1414258965
Well, thanks!  I have to tell you, if you follow that plan, it really doesn't "hurt" that mich.  Now, the first couple of days were tough and painful even.  My stomach hurt from hunger, and I pee'd up a storm as I body was wringing out every carb it could.  I had rubber legs, but instead of feeding my body what it craved, I ate walnuts, and almonds, and it passed. Then, the hunger pangs diminished, and no longer that viscious hunger that I was experiencing.  After that, it was pretty smooth sailing.

I found that if you choose this ultra low carb lifestyle, you have to stick with it.  I look at it very simplistic.  Bodies crave carbohydrates.  It's what fuels the "engine".  If it has to, it'll convert fat to sugar, but that's last ditch.  When you stop refueling with carbs, the body complains, but eventually will switch over to metabolizing fat, and that leads to weight loss.  BUT..!! you can't cheat!  If you chow down on a pizza, rice, or birthday cake, the body goes "HEY!!...CARBS!!" and immediately drops the fat burning process, and scarfs up the carbohydrates using them for fuel and storing what it doesn't need back onto your belly, and all the other unpleasant areas you've been looking at in the mirror that were getting smaller.  I see this process in my wife.  She cheats.... not on me.... but with the food she consumes.  She's constantly reversing the gains and sacrifices she's made by previously pushing away birthday cake, or the free Munchkins at work on Friday.  WHen she finally got the hint and stuck to the plan.  Weight loss, and lower BG's were much easier to acheive.

So the key to my new dietary lifestyle is maintaining consistancy, always on track, never slipping for even a second.  My wife complains that sometimes our food choices are at times boring.  This in part is perhaps my fault, beacuse it doesn't take much in the way of food to make me happy.  I eat two hard boiled eggs each and every day, and I could do it for the rest of my life.  It's not because I like them, it's just sustenance.  My wife on the other hand wants to be happy while she eats, and would much rather have waffles drenched in maple syrup.  For me, it doesn't bother me to eat a piece of pepper jack cheese with five Wisconsin "Turkey Bites" for breakfast.  Actually.... I kind of like it!

Now that I'm T2, this is the way I have to live.  Right or wrong, I blame myself for putting me where I'm currently at.  I had 60 years of fun playing with excessive amounts of carbs, and now it's time to pay the piper.
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Avatar_f_tn
Well done! I am impressed with the way you turned things around. Good for you xxx The one thing I will say is that it is ok in my humble opinion to go off the rail occasionally. You do only have one life, and while you seem to have got a handle on your diabetes, your wife doesn't sound like she is quite there yet. Cut her a break, encourage her, and remember everyone deals with this differently. Congratulations on doing so well xxx
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Avatar_f_tn
Having made my comment above, I have to say I am not convinced that simvastatin in anyway leads to diabetes. My mother whom I have cared for, for many years was overweight, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis etc, etc. is on all kinds of meds. Norvasc and Simvar in particular for some years. I have managed to reduce her weight through changes in diet mainly (she is hemiplegic, so can't exercise as others can). But because my husband is diabetic (resistant to change also), I have changed our family meals so they are lower in carbs and lower GI wherever I can. My mother still benefits from her meds and has lost weight. I haven't looked into any studies, but now you have brought this to my attention, I will. As said before, Good luck and may good health be with you. xxx
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Avatar_f_tn
i was on simvastatin for over 5 years and my blood sugar always stayed in the 200 but i went off to see if it would help my joint pain well sense ive been off my blood sugar is better than ever i do take medication for my blood sugar but have had to lower that so i believe it does make it higher.
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1423357_tn?1414258965
The FDA has officially recognized a correlation between A1C levels and statin use.  Now... It's very possible that the majority of the population that use statins are overweight and predisposed to diabetes, thus skewing the actual facts.  As I mentioned in the beginning of this thread, I was a BIT overweight.  Certainly not obese, healthy, and quite active for a 60 year old male but had been taken statins for a number of years.  

Regardless, once my wife and I dropped as many carbs as I could, there was a dramatic decrease in our bi-annual A1C's.  My last one was 5.6 with no medication, taking 20mg of Simvastatin.  My wife takes a very high dosage of Simvastain (80mg), and requires Metformin to keep her A1C within acceptable (but not great) levels.

I continue to live an ultra-low carb lifestyle, and can say that I no longer crave the "carby" things that I use to consume.  Surprisingly, I don't miss sugary candy, but things like a thick toasted slice of Itallian bread with butter, oregano and garlic powder, and a giant plate of pasta and tomato gravy.... oh man......

I found that for me, carb craving is really an addiction just like cigarettes and alcohol are to others, and that staying away from, and not knowing consuming carb laden foods works best for me.
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141598_tn?1355675363
"thick toasted slice of Itallian bread with butter, oregano and garlic powder, and a giant plate of pasta and tomato gravy.... oh man...... "

DITTO! And you made me hungry! I have artisan/private bakeries where I can get whole wheat Italian style breads which taste like white flour breads. Also markets that sell Dreamfields pasta. Dreamfields has 65% lower GI and only 5 [five] digestible carbs per serving. A big bowl does not jack up blood sugar levels but that also depends on how much tomato sauce I consume at a sitting.
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1423357_tn?1414258965
You're the second person to mention the Dreamfields pasta, so I'll have to look for it.  I occasionally prepare Shirataki noodles, but my wife won't eat them.  They have a different mouth feel and bite than traditional pasta.  She says it feels like eating a bowel of worms.  They have a very unpleasant odor when you open the package which completely disappears with rinsing followed by microwaving.  Ultra low carb, and you can eats lots of it with very little impact.
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141598_tn?1355675363
Yes, familiar with Shirataki noodles. The odor is from what they're made from, yams. Latest is Tofu Shirataki noodles, firm w/o the odor, low carb, and zero sugar.
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