New studies released in the Archives of Internal Medicine, an American Medical Association bi-monthly publication, found that women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s taking drugs of the statin family are at higher risk of developing type two diabetes.

Test results from the study show that, over a long period of time, there was a 50 percent increase in the number of adult women who were prescribed statin drugs and later developed diabetes. Popular drugs of the statin family include Altoprev, Lipitor, and Zocor.

However, patients are strongly advised to not suddenly stop taking statins, as the medications have a proven history of preventing heart attacks and strokes because they effectively combat problems with elevated cholesterol.

Initiated in 1993, the study followed 161,808 postmenopausal women at 40 different clinics nationwide participating in the Women’s Health Initiative until 2005.

In 2010, the National Center for Health Statistics found that 25 percent adults over the age 45 are now prescribed statins, a 23 percent increase from studies finished in 1994.

Different from type one diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents, type two diabetes mostly affects adults and makes up between 90 and 95 percent of all diabetes cases according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Affecting 25.8 million people nationally in 2011, Americans with diabetes make up 8.3 percent of the population, with 18 million of that number undiagnosed. Reports from 2011 released by the National Diabetes Education Program state that there are 4.9 million African Americans with diabetes alone, diagnosed and undiagnosed.

Diabetes can be prevented or helped in large part by regular exercise, 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week. Cutting back on the amount of fat intake and eating healthier overall also combats the disease along with avoiding cigarettes.

 

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer