Statins — a blessing or a curse?
According to recent health trends and the national news, one-third of all adults are recommended to take statins to control cholesterol. Having wrestled with this problem, it behooves me to share my experience as a warning to all.
For many years, beginning in my 30s, doctors warned me about glycemic problems, but it was addressed in passing, and I didn’t understand their implications. After another 20 years, sure enough, I was diagnosed as Diabetic, Type 2. It didn’t really surprise me, as my dad and both brothers are diabetic, but I was determined to keep it at bay by diet and exercise. So far, I have been successful in controlling it without insulin injections. I am now 72, and God-willing, I will complete this life with all my parts intact.
About five years ago, my physician announced that my cholesterol was too high. It had never been over 168, so I was disconcerted; how could this be? Because I am diabetic, my doctor was determined to bring my total cholesterol under 100. To me, it sounded like I would have to quit eating altogether. I was immediately prescribed a statin medicine to do the trick. One after another, I tried to comply with my doctor’s best advice, but statins took me where I had never gone before: severe physical damage. Even though I am a non-drinker, liver enzymes jumped from lifetime normal to stratospheric proportions. My entire body and weakened muscles ached continually; every joint hurt like tendonitis, and I didn’t feel like exercising. As a man who seldom forgot anything, I began to forget friend’s names. It was embarrassing. After three different prescriptions, I tried a natural remedy: red rice yeast. The results were the same, and even after quitting, the effects lasted over a year.
Things began to change for the better as I chose to be pro-active. The immediate response of my doctor was to warn me of possible heart attacks, whereupon, I informed her that I would rather drop dead some day than die daily by degrees. Truth is, I intend to live until I die. Five years after the fact (and five years older), my cholesterol is totally under control without using statins. I am returning to the pool, and to walking — and my life is also under control, not because of medicine, but because of diet, exercise and common sense.
There will come a day when I will vacate this physical body, and I am ready for that. In the meantime, I am equipped to live to the fullest the life that God has given me without unnatural limitations or regrets.
David Williams lives in Waynesville and is the Pastoral Care Pastor at Woodland Baptist Church.