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Sheila Hudson asked...

I have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

Tags: diabetes

I have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes, which I have been controlling by diet and encouragement from a very good GP. However, 12 months ago I moved house and necessarily had to change GP. The new GP has recommended I take statins, but I do not feel that my cholesterol levels are very high (higher than they should be, no doubt, but not disastrously so. When I read the literature that came with the statins I saw that statins are particularly recommended for patients at risk of heart disease. I have annual Bupa checks which indicate that my risk of contracting heart disease is less than 10%. Also, a recent Lifescan CT check returned a heart age of 39 (I am 57). I am reluctant to take medication unless it is absolutely necessary and am unsure whether I should proceed with the statins. What would you suggest?

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The answer

We know that people with diabetes are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes). Research has shown that statins reduce the rates of cardiovascular disease in diabetics, even in those who already have ‘low’ cholesterol levels. So there is evidence that a statin will help protect you from cardiovascular disease in the future. Obviously it is impossible to predict if it is absolutely necessary in your own particular case. Even a good CT Lifescan cannot predict precisely what will happen to your heart in the future and you have not considered your risk of stroke. Providing you do not suffer from any side effects from the statin medication, it can only help lower your risks and not do you any harm. Your doctor is correct in offering you this medication as part of a preventative approach to your health but ultimately it is your own choice.

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