Statins and Neuropathy: What You Need to Know

Statins and Neuropathy, St. Luke Integrative Medical Center, Dr. Charmaine Ortega

Statins are remarkable medicines for their ability to help get cholesterol under control. These drugs work by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver. Many patients depend on statin drugs to aid them in their effort to lower their cholesterol and thereby reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke.

Because of their effectiveness, statins are one of the most widely prescribed drugs available today. With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the United States, statins are on the front lines in the war against cardiovascular disease.

Unfortunately, some individuals who take statins to manage their cholesterol can develop peripheral neuropathy, a painful condition that affects the nerves in your extremities. If you’ve developed peripheral neuropathy as a result of taking statins, Dr. Charmaine Ortega at St. Luke Integrative Medical Center in Huntsville, Alabama, can give you treatment to reverse the condition.

Peripheral neuropathy and its causes

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which the peripheral nerves are damaged or destroyed, thereby causing uncomfortable, even painful, symptoms. Peripheral neuropathy affects the extremities, such as the arms, hands, legs, and feet.

It can be brought on by medical conditions, injury, infections, exposure to environmental toxins, and certain medications. Some people experience peripheral neuropathy symptoms within a few years of taking statin medications.

Symptoms commonly begin with a mild tingling in the feet and hands, much like your foot or hand has fallen asleep. As your neuropathy progresses, the nerves in your arms and legs will also gradually feel numb and tingly. You may experience extreme sensitivity to touch and a burning, throbbing, stabbing, or freezing pain along your nerve endings.

Peripheral neuropathy can also cause muscle weakness, loss of coordination, a reduced sensation when touching, and slowed reflexes. You may also experience digestive issues, dizziness, lightheadedness, and incontinence.

Controlling your neuropathy pain

So what can be done to control this potential side effect of statins? Must you choose between heart disease and neuropathy? Not at all. Dr. Ortega can work with you to develop a plan to treat your neuropathy and halt its progression.

Dr. Ortega’s multilayered approach to ending your neuropathy pain will involve helping you understand the source of your neuropathy, educating you regarding lifestyle changes, and working with you to find treatment options to address the condition.

Each patient’s neuropathy is unique, and with that in mind, Dr. Ortega will customize a plan to suit your needs. Dr. Ortega has found outstanding success with stem cell therapy. If appropriate, she may suggest the same for you. Stem cell therapy involves injecting your own stem cells into diseased, dysfunctional, or injured tissue to repair them.

And by working with you on lowering your cholesterol through lifestyle changes, such as by eating right, exercising, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption, there’s a chance you may eventually eliminate any need for statins. At the very least, these changes in lifestyle will boost your overall health.

If you’re taking statins to control your elevated cholesterol, and you’re experiencing the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, book an appointment online or over the phone with St. Luke Integrative Medical Center to get help today.

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