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Doctors are studying the effects of statins on older women
There have been discussions about the use of so-called statins and their alleged side effects for a long time. Researchers have now found that statins used to lower cholesterol significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes in older women.
In their study, the University of Queensland scientists found that statins increase the likelihood of developing diabetes in older women. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Drugs and Aging".
What are statins?
Statins are mostly used to lower cholesterol in fat metabolism disorders. Of the lipid metabolism-influencing agents statins have the highest potency, say the experts. Statins are often referred to as cholesterol synthesis enzyme inhibitors. Statins are said to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.
Taking statins increases the risk of diabetes by 35 percent in older women
Taking statins in women over the age of 75 increases the likelihood of developing diabetes by 33 percent, explains author Dr. Mark Jones of the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland in a university press release. The risk increased to over 50 percent if the older women were given higher doses of the drug.
So far, there have been few clinical studies on the use of statins in older women
We found that almost 50 percent of the study participants took statins in their late 1970s and 1980s, and 5 percent of these participants had newly diagnosed diabetes, explains Dr. Jones. Statins are often prescribed in this age group, but there are few clinical trials looking at the potential negative effects on older women. The vast majority of the research is done on men aged 40 to 70, the expert explains.
Do statins improve survival in cardiovascular diseases?
There have been independent studies lately that increased doses of statins improve survival in cardiovascular disease. However, given the new findings from the current study, older women should be more careful about taking increased doses of these drugs.
There appears to be a relationship between dosage and risk of diabetes
The most surprising thing was that we found a so-called dose effect that increases the risk of diabetes when the dose of statins is increased, explains author D. Jones from the University of Queensland.
Women often switch to higher doses over time
During the ten-year study, most of the women taking part switched to higher doses of statins, the scientists report. Doctors and older female patients should be aware of the dangers posed by statins, the scientists explain.
Check blood glucose regularly
Older women taking statins should be carefully and regularly monitored for increased blood glucose levels. This is the only way to ensure early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, the researchers warn.
Doctors analyzed the data of 8,372 women
Current research is based on recipes and survey data from a total of 8,372 women who were born between 1921 and 1926. These women were regularly examined as part of the so-called Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. (as)