A family free connects a woman to her relatives, who have unfortunately passed down heart disease risk and a need for medications to her.

Reconsidering Statins with Type 2 Diabetes

About a year ago, I wrote right here regarding the quality of life choice I made to postpone beginning statins despite having lived with type 2 diabetes for more than a decade and despite knowing the risk of having a strong family history of heart disease. I worried about the potential side effects of muscle weakness affecting the ability to exercise and questioned whether it was yet necessary.

When should I start statins for heart disease?

At the time, I could not picture too far into the future while still reeling from the unexpected death of my father and getting settled in a new city while living on a tight budget. These two adjustments proved to be difficult enough to consider another round of psychotherapy. Getting through each day became the priority, not the risk indicators surrounding something that could affect me ten, twenty years down the road.

A lot can change in just a year. Focusing on emotional and financial wellness brought a better outlook on life, which renewed a commitment to physical wellness and type 2 diabetes management. Just as that began to evolve, the signs of perimenopause had undoubtedly made themselves present.

Knowing that the risk of heart disease goes up after menopause for women, it had always been my intention to begin a statin when the signs of irregular periods and hot flashes began. Several years back, I had been convinced that was already happening, and hormonal bloodwork indicated otherwise. Still, my endocrinologist at the time wanted to see where C-reactive protein levels were, which can indicate cardiovascular risk. The results at that point came back as moderate, and we decided together that a statin could wait a few years.

It's time to start statins for heart disease

A few weeks ago, at an annual visit with the primary care physician who now attends to my type 2 diabetes care, we discussed statins again. Already, the evidence of perimenopause shifted my perspective, and she indicated she could run a C-reactive protein along with the lipid panel required for participation in my company’s wellness program.

Not only did the lipid panel come back with increased LDL, the C-reactive protein results came back indicating high risk. It took a few days to process that information, on both our sides and when we finally touched base, it did not take any convincing. I asked the doctor for the statin prescription.

Genetics and heart disease risk

The truth is, when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes fourteen years ago, I knew that I fell into the category of those on both sides of the family who experienced heart disease, too. All the exercise, all the dietary changes could not necessarily undo the damage genetics had already done and might do in the future.

I feel more prepared in this moment to look at life ahead, beyond the day-to-day. So here I am, staring down at a 90-day supply of a statin, ready to begin preventive measures against a family legacy of heart disease.

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