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What is the Connection Between Statins and Memory Loss?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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The connection between statins and memory loss is not entirely understood, as there have been conflicting studies in regards to whether or not statin use leads to loss of memory in patients. Some state that up to half, or more, of all patients using statin medications will experience some decrease in cognitive function. Others remain inconclusive as to the overall effects statins have on the brain. Still others claim that statins may in fact boost brain function.

There have not been many studies as of 2010 to definitively prove whether or not statins and memory loss are linked. It is known that those who take this form of medication are generally at an increased risk for memory and cognitive problems due to health issues and aging, but whether or not statin use drastically increases the risk of these problems is not yet known. In some case studies, half of all patients reported a decline in memory or mental functioning after taking a statin medication. Of those, only a small percentage regained mental clarity once the medication was stopped. This makes it difficult to know whether memory loss came as a result of the medication or if it was due to other factors.

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On the other end of the spectrum, there is some research to suggest that statins and memory loss are linked in an entirely different way. Since statin medications are used to treat high cholesterol and cardiovascular problems, some research indicates that statins may actually decrease the risk of dementia and other cognitive problems. It is not known whether these results occur due to the reduction in cardiovascular problems or due to the medications themselves. More research is needed in this matter.

Whether or not statins and memory loss are connected, patients who need them should not hesitate to take them for fear of memory decline. There is not sufficient evidence to suggest that they have any great impact on memory, but they have been proven clinically effective at treating high cholesterol. This is a serious condition which should be taken care of promptly to prevent damage to the heart and arteries.

If patients believe that severe memory loss has occurred due to statin use, a doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative medication. Additionally, for those with only mildly high cholesterol levels, natural remedies and lifestyle changes may be enough to lower them without the use of statin drugs. Patients are advised to speak with a doctor about the best course of treatment for optimum health and well being.

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