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Learning About Statins for People With Diabetes

Introduction

Statins are medicines that help with your cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. If you have too much of this fat, it can build up in blood vessels. This raises your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Many people with diabetes take statins. Diabetes can cause problems in your body that may also lead to heart disease. That means your risks of heart attack and stroke are higher when you have diabetes. Statins can lower your risk.

Your doctor may prescribe a statin if:

  • You have diabetes.
  • AND you are age 40 or older.

Statins may help people with diabetes at other ages or with certain health conditions too. Your doctor can help you decide if statins may help you.

Examples

Common statins include:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor).
  • Pravastatin (Pravachol).
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor).
  • Simvastatin (Zocor).

Possible side effects

Some people who take statins report that they have more muscle aches. But it's not clear whether these are actually a side effect of statins. Most side effects will go away if you stop taking the medicine. You may have other side effects not described here. Check the information that comes with your medicine.

What to know about taking this medicine

  • You must take statins on a regular basis for them to work well. If you stop, your risk for heart attack and stroke may go back up.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • If you have side effects that bother you, talk to your doctor. You may be able to take a different statin.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you use any other medicines. This includes over-the-counter medicines. Make sure your doctor knows all of the medicines and natural health products you take. Taking some medicines together can cause problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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