A new study has demonstrated a drastic increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes — to the tune of 46 percent — in those taking statins to control high cholesterol levels, according to an article on Diabetes In Control.
The study, performed by researchers at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital in Finland, and first published in medical journal Diabetologia, found that while previous studies had indicated a potential increased risk of type 2 diabetes from some statins, those studies were limited and failed to determine the full extent of the problem. As Medical News Today notes, previous studies included selective populations and participants whose type 2 diabetes is self-reported, leading to results that either may not apply to the general population or were simply incorrect.
The latest study, a six year follow-up on the Metabolic Syndrome in Men study performed from 2005-2010, follows up on almost 9,000 men without type 2 diabetes, aged 45-73, and accounts for confounding factors such as smoking, body mass index, alcohol intake, activity levels, and more. In the years following the study, 625 of the participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, as determined by an HbA1c test (designed to determine average blood sugar levels over the past three months), an oral glucose tolerance test, or prescription of antidiabetic medication.
The results after accounting for all possible factors were that the 46 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes held up — statin treatments were almost certainly the culprit.
The study also tested insulin resistance and insulin secretion in men who had been treated with statins and found that the anti-cholesterol drugs led to a 24 percent reduction in insulin sensitivity, and a 12 percent reduction in insulin secretion, both strong factors in successfully managing type 2 diabetes.
“Statin therapy was associated with a 46% increased risk of type 2 diabetes after adjustment for confounding factors, suggesting a higher risk of diabetes in the general population than previously reported.
The association of statin use with increased risk of developing diabetes is most likely directly related to statins decreasing both insulin sensitivity and secretion.”
Once other factors were accounted for, the researchers found that high-dose simvastatin therapy was linked to a 44 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes, while low-dose therapy led to a 28 percent increased risk. High-dose atorvastatin was linked to a 37 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. It may turn out quite fortunate that, as reported previously in the Inquisitr, researchers have also been exploring new statin-free cholesterol treatments.
The researchers do caution that, while they had many advantages that previous studies did not, all participants were Caucasian males and the results may not apply to women or those of other ethnicities with type 2 diabetes.
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