A study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology presented data from a Danish clinical registry of individuals with diabetes. Researchers looked at two groups – the first consisted of 15,679 people who had been prescribed a statin before being diagnosed with diabetes; the second was made up of 47,037 people whom had never taken a statin medication before being diagnosed with diabetes. Recent research has shown that taking a statin drug may raise blood glucose levels in some individuals and may result in the development of Type 2 diabetes. The Danish researchers were trying to determine if statins caused harm, and their findings were somewhat of a surprise.
The individuals who had taken statins before their diagnosis of diabetes were actually 34% less likely to develop diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage, 40% less likely to develop diabetes eye disease, and the risk of gangrene was about 12% less than in the group not taking statins. Kidney disease appeared to exist in equal numbers in both groups. In addition, we know that lowering blood cholesterol levels also reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
High blood glucose levels cause damage to small blood vessels, and from this observational study it appears as if statins may in fact reduce the inflammation that high blood glucose levels cause in blood vessels and may reduce the risk of the complications associated with diabetes.