Statin Use May Lead to Cataracts

Cataracts are a condition of the eye where the lens becomes cloudy, and difficult to see through. This happens because the proteins in the lens clump together and eventually form a cataract, which clouds vision. The most common cause of cataracts is age, and they have become one of the leading causes of blindness among adults ages 40 and over in the United States.

The risk of developing this condition may be linked to the use of some common cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. Older people are particularly susceptible because they make up the majority of statin users and patients with cataracts, which cloud the eye and require surgery to prevent blindness.

Although current research cannot prove that statins caused the eye condition, it was discovered that those who took statins were much more likely to develop cataracts, compared to people who didn't take the medication. Examples of statins include Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor.

Statins are popular drugs that block a substance the body needs to make cholesterol, which can get trapped in arteries and ultimately lead to heart attacks and strokes.

About one-quarter of U.S. adults aged 45 and older take statins. Over 20 million American adults are on daily regimens of statins, which makes them one of the most-prescribed drugs of all time.

Other side effects may include muscle aches, diarrhea, and constipation. They have also been linked to more serious side effects, like liver damage, increased blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes risk, and neurological side effects like memory loss. Sexual dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet), depression, irritability, headache, and sleep problems have all been reported by many people while taking statins.

Researchers have looked at the link between statins and cataracts before with mixed results. While some studies found that taking statins lowered the risk of developing cataracts, other studies found the drugs increased the risk.

One theory about the association between statins and cataracts is that the body needs high levels of HDL cholesterol to maintain a clear lens and statins may interfere with the cells that control that process.

Doctors hope that the new findings will also encourage people to improve their cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes. Some of the general recommendations for cataract prevention include a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, no smoking, and protection from ultraviolet light, along with strict glycemic control for diabetics. Also, quitting smoking, eat healthy and being active can change your life so that doctors don't have to give you a tablet that may have some side effects.

There’s no argument that patients who have already had a heart attack or heart disease can lower their risk of further heart problems by taking a statin. What’s less clear is whether people who are otherwise healthy could lower their risk enough to justify their exposure to the side effects of the medications.

All adults 20 years of age and older should have their cholesterol tested every five years. If your cholesterol level is high or if you have other risk factors for heart disease, you may need to have it checked sooner and more often. Statins help many people keep healthier cholesterol levels. Many will instead choose more natural solutions.

The good news is that adults can take steps to improve cardiovascular health, including eating a proper diet, exercising, controlling their cholesterol levels.

An excellent cholesterol supplement that includes many important natural ingredients is Cholesterol Complete™ (click here to view). It’s a powerful all-natural formula that targets both types of cholesterol; LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL is the cholesterol you should be most concerned with, it is the "bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries and raises blood pressure. HDL is the "good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL from the body. You’re supporting healthy cholesterol with 100% natural approach!

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