Cataracts and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 5).

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It was the winter of 2012 when I noticed my vision seemed to be failing me with close up tasks and distance clarity was virtually non-existent, so I went for a check-up thinking I needed a new prescription lens.  For a few years, like most of us my age, my vision had been changing slowly.  Much to my surprise, I was told I have huge cataracts in both eyes and a new prescription won’t help my vision at all. Those cataracts must GO!  Now I’m thinking “how the heck did this happen in one year?!?” and so I went for a second opinion and then for a third because I didn’t like this new diagnosis.  I’m thinking “what is happening to my body?  Why am I falling apart?”  My cataract surgery did not go well in that while my distance vision has improved greatly, I do not have clear close-up or even moderate vision after 2 laser adjustments. I was told those results happen often and are just a risk of the procedure regardless.  Whether or not I had done the research on the side-effects of Simvastatin, I needed this surgery.  UGH.

TBC and here is some info on what I wrote about in this post.  Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medication program.

Statins Tied to Cataract Risk (The New York Times)

By Nicholas Bakalar
September 25, 2013 1:57 pm

In one of the largest studies ever done on the subject, researchers have found that taking statins, the widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs, is associated with an increased risk for cataracts. Previous studies had mixed results.  In the latest observational study, published online in JAMA Ophthalmology, scientists retrospectively examined 13,626 statin users and 32,623 nonusers, ages 30 to 85, who were part of a military health care system. The average length of statin use was about two years.  After adjusting for more than three dozen other health and behavioral variables, the scientists found that compared with nonusers, those who took statins had a 9 to 27 percent increased risk for cataracts.  Cataract development may be influenced by statins’ effects on the oxidation process, the researchers say. The cholesterol-inhibiting properties of statins may also interfere with cell regeneration in the eye’s lens, which requires cholesterol to maintain transparency.
“If a patient takes this medication because he is at high risk for heart disease, or already has heart disease, the proven benefit of statins is much greater than the suspected risk of cataracts,” said the senior author, Dr. Ishak Mansi, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas. “But they have side effects, and doctors should not prescribe this medication lightly.”

 

Fatigue, Drowsiness and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 4).

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Fatigue and drowsiness are similar and also very much different.  For almost 3 years now, I have had all I can do get through a work day simply by dragging my feet and going through the motions. Weekend consisted of nothing more than laying around and trying to recover from the week and mentally prepare myself for the week ahead.  I barely had all I could do to keep up with the basics: take care of my animals, grocery shop, little daily tasks like that.  I had no “umph” to do anything more, and if I did do anything more it was because I forced myself to and friends said I must do something to get out of this slump.  But for the most part, I felt  like a very old woman and just couldn’t.  That is fatigue.

Everybody thought I hadn’t yet recovered from my sister-loss, and I kept thinking “this MUST be something else because it feels so wrong for me… it’s taking too long.”

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Next, I started nodding off as soon as I got home from work.  I would lay down or even just sit on the sofa and a strange wooziness would set in like my head was floating in the air.  Next thing I knew I couldn’t hold my head upright and out I would go if even for moments and more like for several minutes.  Before too long, this drowsiness started to set in behind the wheel and I would have all I could do to make it home without pulling over to the side of the road for a nap.  I thought that maybe I was developing a sleep disorder, or that maybe I am just too old to work these horrid hours, or maybe I just dying because this is what people start to do as death approaches.  Something wasn’t right and I still was not connecting the dots.

 

TBC and here is some interesting research:

Statins can drain the life out of us

By Dr. John Briffa on 15 June 2012  in Cholesterol and Statins

Statin drugs reduce cholesterol by inhibiting the an enzyme in the liver (HMG-CoA reductase) which plays a role in the production of cholesterol in the liver. Unfortunately, this enzyme also plays a part in the production of a substance known as Coenzyme Q10, which itself is important for energy production within the body’s cells. Statins therefore have the ability to drain the life out of people. Any doctor who sees patients and actually listens to them will know this from experience, and now someone’s actually gone and shown it with a scientific study [1].
The study was published on-line in the Archives of Internal Medicine. A group of individuals were randomised to take one of two statins (simvastatin at 20 mg per day or pravastatin at 40 mg per day) or placebo for six months. Participants were rated at regular intervals through the study for their perceived fatigue on exertion, general fatigue and energy levels.
One thing worth highlighting here is that the study was only 6 months in duration. This is relevant because it’s not uncommon for the adverse side-effects of statins to come on many months or even years after the treatment is started.
Overall, statins did indeed appear to cause a significant change in energy and worsen fatigue on exertion. Women were more affected than men.
Four out of 10 women reported either reduction in energy or worsening of fatigue on exertion.
Two out of 10 women reported problems with both these things.
One out of 10 women reported that both of these things were ‘much worse’

 

And from ehealthme.com 

Review: could Simvastatin cause Drowsiness?  Summary: Drowsiness is found among people who take Simvastatin, especially for people who are 60+ old, have been taking the drug for < 1 month, also take medication Aspirin, and have High blood pressure.  We study 77,566 people who have side effects while taking Simvastatin from FDA and social media. Among them, 1,286 have Drowsiness.

 

This post is for your information only.  Always consult your physician if you think I might be describing how you feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muscle Cramps and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story with Simvastatin (part 3).

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Everybody gets Charlie-horses now and then, and most of us know they are often (and not always) caused by an insufficient amount of either potassium and/or calcium and/or good-ol’ water and like most of us, I have usually been able to rub those annoying horses out of my calves without much problem throughout my life-time.  But a CRAMP … oh my goodness!  These cramps I have experienced since taking Simvastatin have had me screaming out in pain in the middle of the night … as if the muscle pains themselves (in my thigh) weren’t enough to cry in agony!  No rubbing eased the cramps.  I tried standing to help release the muscle only to learn that my leg was also so numb from the attack that I couldn’t and tended to fall instead.  These muscle cramps occurred during the night only.  After the first attack (and not knowing about this side-effect), I made certain to increase my supplements to possibly avoid this malaise … again to no avail.  All I could do was wait them out.

TBC.
Here’s some info on muscles cramps.

Muscle cramps can have many possible causes. They include:

Muscle cramps can also occur as a side effect of some drugs. Medications that can cause muscle cramps include:

From: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/muscle-spasms-cramps-charley-horse

 

Tell your doctor if you have these symptoms in case they could be related to taking Simvastatin.

Short Leg and Simvastatin

This is a continuation of my story about Simvastatin (part 2).

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The only relief I could find for all of my lower body pain was in Ibuprofen, stretching exercises, and rest as much as possible after work and on weekends meaning basically loafing on the sofa with my affected leg propped up.  My life consisted of pain and how to manage it, and even so, these approaches were minimally short lived.  Five months ago I finally broke down and went to see a chiropractor who was reported to me as having helped a few people I know with their aches and pains.  I felt instant pain relief after the first adjustment, but it didn’t last longer than an hour.  In fact, the back, hip, and leg pain got worse!  After 3 visits, I asked for an image test of some sort because what oh what is the source of this pain?  So off for an X-ray I go!  The resulting impressions:

(1) Degenerative disc disease most severe at L5-S1. (2) Mild apparent limb length discrepancy (10 mm).  (3) Mild right and moderate left osteoarthritis.

leg length

Leg length discrepancy?  Really?  Since WHEN?  Dr. Chiropractor said LLD sets in by adolescence and because we are young and strong then, our bodies compensate for the differentiation and we do fine until mid-age but certainly (get this …) by YOUR age people show significant lower back pain.  He said this is the reason my adjustments are not sticking; why my back and hip are hurting so much; and the resolution might possibly be quite simple: shoe lifts inserted into the shoes.  He said it will take a long time for my body to straighten itself out.  Well this sounded reasonable to me, and so I tried the lifts.  My hip and back pain significantly decreased, and I noticed that being barefoot for any reason at home brought on tremendous pains which disappointed me because while not a barefoot princess per se, I do luv my flip flops during warm weather months.  I knew I had to say good-bye to them.

BUT the stabbing pain in my thigh continued, and while on one hand some of this made sense, I was still feeling we are all “missing something”.  I still felt wheelchair bound and starting to think my active life as I had once known it to be had taken a turn towards a slow ending of pain and immobility.

TBC but first …. read this article I’ve included.

From articles.mercola.com  …

“Muscle pain and weakness is actually the most common side effect of statin drugs, and is thought to occur because statins activate the gene atrogin-1 gene, which plays a key role in muscle atrophy.

In severe cases, a life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis, in which your muscle cells break down, can also develop.

However, muscle pain and weakness is often downplayed as a minor side effect of statin drugs, and one that typically goes away within a couple weeks of stopping the drugs.

In reality, as this new study points out, if you’re experiencing any muscle pain when taking statin drugs, it could be because structural damage is occurring, and this damage may occur even when tests for a protein thought to signal injury are normal.

Further, the damage may persist even after statin use is halted, meaning these drugs may cause permanent muscle damage.

Folks, this is in no way a minor side effect or nuisance. Muscle pain and weakness may be an indication that your body tissues are actually breaking down — a condition that can cause kidney damage.

One thing is for sure. You should NOT ignore symptoms of pain and muscle weakness if you are taking statin drugs, as they can deteriorate into even more dangerous conditions, including death.

What makes this extreme risk even more unacceptable is the fact that statin drugs are almost always unnecessary.”

FYI from Wikipedia:

Muscle atrophy is defined as a decrease in the mass of the muscle; it can be a partial or complete wasting away of muscle.

Muscle Pain and Simvastatin

This is the beginning of my story about Simvastatin (part 1).

leg pain

I was prescribed Simvastatin in 2012 because my cholesterol reached a new high of 220 which is a number some would laugh at in regards to “high”.  My PCP explained that since I have high blood pressure, Diabetes 2 (both managed), and have a significant family history of these diseases that I am at high risk for a heart attack.  At that time, I was a primary-care giver and under a tremendous amount of stress on all levels.  During the time I cared for my twin sister who struggled with Alzheimer’s common to Down Syndrome, every time I went to the doc for a check up I returned home with a new diagnosis  In addition to being disgusted with my family genetics, I was scared for my own mortality.  So I started the drug.  I didn’t connect the dots at that time but shortly afterwards, I started to notice lower back and hip pain and soon left leg (thigh) weakness as evidenced by my leg sometimes giving out on me.  I wrote these symptoms off in my mind as having injured my back lifting and moving my sister as needed at the time.

As time (weeks, months, and years) went on, the pain intensified to the point that nine months ago I frequently could not step on my left foot. The weakness changed to stabbing pains that felt as if a butcher knife had been inserted into the front (anterior) of my thigh, and my leg would buckle so much that I would stumble and lose my step.  This began to occur daily and then several times during the day.  I found myself leaning on walls to support myself as I tried to walk.  I would crawl on all fours to get around.  I would use chairs with wheels as a walker-type support to get from place to place.  These symptoms grew worse during the night so much so that I would writhe in pain for hours.  When I awoke, I had to hold on to anything available before I could gain any sense of mobility.  I felt as if I was heading for a wheelchair-bound lifestyle within a few more months.  However, at this point in my story I did not know WHY this was happening, and although I had reported this pain to 4 doctors and had 3 MRIs no conclusion was attained.  So NOW my DEDICATED quest for answers began … this HAD to be more than having injured my back years ago!

TBC!

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/08/06/statins-cause-muscle-damage.aspx

“Muscle pain and weakness is actually the most common side effect of statin drugs, and is thought to occur because statins activate the gene atrogin-1 gene, which plays a key role in muscle atrophy.

In severe cases, a life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis, in which your muscle cells break down, can also develop.

However, muscle pain and weakness is often downplayed as a minor side effect of statin drugs, and one that typically goes away within a couple weeks of stopping the drugs.

In reality, as this new study points out, if you’re experiencing any muscle pain when taking statin drugs, it could be because structural damage is occurring, and this damage may occur even when tests for a protein thought to signal injury are normal.

Further, the damage may persist even after statin use is halted, meaning these drugs may cause permanent muscle damage.

Folks, this is in no way a minor side effect or nuisance. Muscle pain and weakness may be an indication that your body tissues are actually breaking down — a condition that can cause kidney damage.

One thing is for sure. You should NOT ignore symptoms of pain and muscle weakness if you are taking statin drugs, as they can deteriorate into even more dangerous conditions, including death.

What makes this extreme risk even more unacceptable is the fact that statin drugs are almost always unnecessary.”

A Cholesterol Drug Called Simvastatin (Start Here)

simvastation

Call your doctor at once about maybe stopping Simvastatin if you have:

“unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness; confusion, memory problems; fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine; pain or burning when you urinate; swelling, weight gain, little or no urinating; increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss; or nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

headache; joint pain, mild muscle pain; constipation, stomach pain or indigestion, mild nausea; mild skin rash; sleep problems (insomnia); or cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.”

From emedicinehealth.com

You will find this information on MANY medical sites just by googling “side effects of Simvastatin”.  Wish I had done it sooner.

My story will follow SOON!

 

On Loss

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After watching my dear friend’s casket be lowered into the ground today, I walked away debating in my mind: is my invisible valentine-type heart filled with many holes of sorrow or has each loss contributed to one original hole so that now I have one gigantic vast void in that heart?  Tomorrow starts a new chapter without Jeanine, and I will take a ride up to the lake for breakfast and a walk on the beach.  Life goes on.

What are losses like for you?

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The perception of a problem usually becomes a  problem, so stick to the problem itself.

Do You Like It?

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As you can see, I’ve upgraded to premium status on this BLOG site. What do you think of it?

I’ve promised myself to really focus on my counseling practice and writing my book (first of 3 on my mind) this year.  I’m wanting to learn more about ghost-writers, script-writers, and agents.

Can you help me?

 

An Attitude

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Happiness is an attitude.  It’s a choice we make.

I’ve been working on this myself!  I’ve heard that positive attitudes are predictors for success in many areas of our lives.  I would be surprised to find someone who is genuinely happy every day simply because we all have troubles that weave themselves in and out of our lives, and we want to remember those troubles are just one piece of our lives.  I tell my clients to “fake it ’til you make it” and one day you will wake up and BE happy in spite of “stuff” that’s going on around you.  I’m dedicated to this thinking and hope you will JOIN ME!

 

Avoid Regrets

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My cousin Nick and I are truly saddened by the passing of our Uncle George who lived 90 years … So why are we having such a hard time processing this loss?  It’s because we put off being in closer touch for so long!  Not only that, when I spoke to my Aunt yesterday, she told me, “You know, Yiota, just not long ago we were talking about you and said we should call you but we didn’t.  I remember thinking I’ll call tomorrow, and now tomorrow is gone for your Uncle George.”  As for me, I had never told him he was my male role model growing up in Chicago and yes … Uncle George was a high school guidance counselor!

Funny how days turn into weeks that turn into months and into years, and then the years turn into decades until eventually a lifetime has literally passed. It’s sad, and I know we all do it.

Lets NOT!  Call someone you love and haven’t spoken to in a while and tell them so. Do it NOW!

(LUV you Lynne!)