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Statins May Have Serious Side Effects

An extremely large study analyzing over 2 million people in Britain recently found that cholesterol lowering statin drugs may cause kidney failure.

Researchers from Nottingham University conducted the study which was published in the May 2010 issue of the British Medical Journal.

The researchers studied data on over 2 million patients from 368 general practices for the study. The participants were aged between 30 and 84 years of age and 225,922 (11%) of them were on statin medications such as Lipitor or Crestor.

The researchers found that for every 10,000 people treated with statins, there were 74 extra patients with liver dysfunction, 23 extra patients with acute renal failure, 307 with cataracts, and 39 with a muscle weakness condition called myopathy.

On the other hand, there were 271 fewer cases of heart disease for every 10,000 statin users and 8 fewer cases of esophageal cancer.

The researchers noted that all drugs have possible side effects so it is important to weigh the benefits versus the potential risks when deciding on a medication.

There are also ways to decrease cholesterol without statin drugs. Numerous studies have shown that consuming more omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants and foods with less sugar and saturated fats, along with increasing exercise levels, can effectively reduce cholesterol levels in most people.

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