Cholesterol-lowering statins carry a small risk of raising blood sugar levels and may thus increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration and the Mayo Clinic. The FDA maintains that this risk does not outweigh the cardiovascular benefit of taking statins.
One hypothesis to explain the connection between statins and higher blood sugar levels is that, since a potential side effect of statins is weight gain, the excess weight increases the risk of developing high blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes, explains WebMD. Lifestyle changes and maintaining a healthy weight may therefore aid in reducing the risk of developing high blood sugar while taking statins.
Although numerous studies have found a small connection between statin use and the development of high blood sugar and diabetes, a review of these studies published by the American Heart Association reported that people taking statins also experienced a reduction in cardiovascular events. Patients should continue taking statins if needed, and the FDA suggests patients may simply need to monitor their blood sugar levels. People who already have diabetes should take statins, according to the American Diabetes Association, because lowering cholesterol can help compensate for the increased risk of cardiovascular disease related to diabetes.