This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins
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Taking statins appears to disrupt the sleep patterns of some patients. Scientists hypothesise that because the drug is fat-soluble it can penetrate cell membranes easier and cross into the brain. As most know, the brain controls sleep and many of the brain’s nerve cells are surrounded in a fatty insulating sheath known as myelin. Have you noticed your sleep patterns change since taking the drug?
In a study published in Science Daily, cholesterol-lowering drug and its link to sleep disruptions was investigated.
The study noted: “A cholesterol-lowering drug appears to disrupt sleep patterns of some patients, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2007.”
In the study, researchers tested 1,016 healthy adult men and women for six months in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using simvastatin, given at 20 milligrams (mg), pravastatin at 40 mg, or a placebo.
They assessed outcomes with the Leeds sleep scale, a visual analogy scale of sleep quality, and a rating scale of sleep problems. Both scales were measured before and during treatment.
“The findings are significant because sleep problems can affect quality of life and may have adverse health consequences, such as promoting weight gain and insulin resistance,” said Dr Beatrice Golomb, lead author of the study and an associate professor of medicine and family and preventive medicine at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine.
She continued: “The results showed that simvastatin use was associated with significantly worse sleep quality.
“A significantly greater number of individuals taking simvastatin reported sleep problems than those taking either pravastain or the placebo.
“On average, the lipophilic statin had a greater adverse effect on sleep quality.”
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In another study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, sleep changes from statin therapy were further investigated.
The study noted: “Accumulating databases from the US Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) suggest that statin use is associated with an increased risk of sleep disturbances including insomnia.
“In other studies hallucinations and nightmares during statin therapy were also observed.
“There are few clinical trials evaluating the effect of statins on sleep as a primary outcome.
“Three of them suggested an essential effect of statins on sleep quality, while two others presented no impact of statin treatment on sleep.”
Day time fatigue
In recent years, researchers discovered that people taking statins reported increased levels of general fatigue and tiredness, especially after exertion.
It was noted that women are more at risk of this type of fatigue from the drug.
One research paper found that four in 10 women experienced fatigue and loss of energy after activity.
Also, people between the ages of 70 and 75, especially if they had been diagnosed with heart disease, were more likely to experience these side effects.
How to lower high cholesterol without statins
You can lower your cholesterol levels naturally by overhauling aspects of your lifestyle.
If you have high cholesterol, it’s most important to eat less saturated fat.
“Foods that are high in saturated fats are things like fatty and processed meat, pies and pastry, butter, cream, and coconut oil,” says the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
According to the BHF, getting your blood pumping by doing exercise will also reduce your cholesterol.
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