Statins and Diabetes: Should You Be On a Statin?

What are statins?

Statins are medications that help to lower lipid levels (cholesterol) in your blood to help prevent cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, and arteries blocked by plaques. Some common statins are Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), and pretty much anything else that ends in “statin.”

Who should be on a statin? (2013 ACC/AHA Guidelines)

  • Anyone with clinical ASCVD (acute coronary syndromes, history of heart attack, angina, stroke, peripheral artery disease from plaques)
  • Anyone with a LDL level of more than 190 mg/dL (tested by blood draws)
  • Anyone with diabetes ages less than 40 with any additional cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • High blood pressure, smoking, overweight/obese, family history of early cardiac related death
  • Anyone with diabetes ages 40-75 with a LDL level of 70+ mg/dL
  • Anyone ages 40-75 without clinical ASCVD or diabetes, with a LDL level of 70+ mg/dL, and an estimated 10 year ASCVD risk of 7.5% or higher.
  • ASCVD risk score can be calculated on line for free at

Why diabetics should be on statins

  • To help prevent a heart attack, stroke, or plaque buildup in arteries that can lead to early death. Diabetics (particularly Type 2 Diabetics) may already have or are at risk for developing high blood pressure, high triglycerides and cholesterol levels, obesity
  • At risk population (American Heart Association)
  • 68% or more of people 65+ with diabetes die from some form of heart disease, 16% die of stroke
  • Adults with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease or stroke than those without diabetes
  • Diabetes is considered one of seven major risk factors for cardiovascular disease that can be controlled

Resource: American Heart Association