Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Would Taking Statin Lead To Weight Gain?

Having high cholesterol, especially the bad cholesterol, might put a person at risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure. Bad cholesterol, in short LDL or also known as low-density lipoprotein, contributes to plaque that can clog arteries and make them less flexible. If clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, heart attack or stroke could happen.

Patients can lower bad cholesterol by managing their diet with adequate exercises. But if these measures fail, patients might be prescribed with cholesterol medication like statin.

While having side effects including muscle pain, diarrhea, constipation, increased diabetes, liver damage and muscle problem, statin remains the most popular cholesterol medications that doctors will usually prescribe to their patients since it is still considered safe for most people.

A study conducted by researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles revealed that long-term use of statin might lead to weight gain, which is not a side effect of the medication. The increase in weight seems to come from added fat and calories consumed over a decade among statin users, when compared to non-statin groups. The findings were published April 24, 2014 in JAMA ‘Internal Medicine’. 

The researchers examined the data taken from statin users and non-users from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database, involving nearly 28,000 adults aged 20 and older, over a 10-year period. 

Each year, different people were surveyed, underwent physical examinations and blood tests, and reported their food intake. Group of people who used statins steadily increased, from 8 percent in the first year to 17 percent in the final year. 

At the start of the study (1999-2000), the statin users consumed 2000 calories and 72 grams of fat per day but 10 years later (2009-2010), they consumed 2179 calories and 82 grams of fat per day. That is an increase of 9.6 percent in calories and 14.4 percent in fat intake. On the other hand, non-statin users showed no significant differences in the number of calories or fat consumed over the 10-year period.

Meanwhile, the body mass index (BMI) and weight increased more in the statin users. Average BMI among statin users increased from 29 to 31. Number of diabetes also increased from 22 percent to 29 percent, which more or less confirms the link between statin use and diabetes.

Based on the results of the study, it appears that there might be some misconception and false sense of security among some statin users. They thought a statin could actually replace the need for healthy diet, physical activity and weight control. In reality, it is certainly not. Hence, people who are on statin should be particularly careful about what and how much they eat.

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