Statins boost cataract risk

Cataracts are on the rise at unheard of rates, up 20 percent over the last decade alone -- and believe it or not, that's just a small preview of what we're going to see in the next decade.

I've heard the experts blame everything from worsening diet to longer lives, and that might be partly true. But the real reason so many seniors are going blind with cataracts isn't in your food, and it's not on your calendar.

It's in your medicine chest.

The statin drugs taken by tens of millions of Americans can wreak havoc on your vision, and new research confirms that these cholesterol meds can cause your own cataract risk to jump by 27 percent.

That number's already big. It already represents potentially tens of thousands of new cases of cataracts every year.

But there's an even bigger number hiding in the details of this study in JAMA Ophthalmology. In one of the analyses, about 10 percent of non-statin users developed cataracts -- versus more than a third of those taking statin drugs.

You can't dismiss numbers like that -- and you can't dismiss how they keep coming up time and again.

Just last year, a major study found that statin drugs can increase your risk of cataracts by 57 percent. Even worse, that study found statin drugs can cause you to get the condition up to six years earlier than you would have otherwise.

And the worst part of all? These studies were all conducted over the past decade -- the first generation of seniors who reached their golden years after spending 10 or 15 years on statin drugs.

The next decade will see even more -- including people who started younger and took them longer, in some cases 20 or 30 years at a time or more.

Make sure you're not among them. If you're taking a statin now, work with your doctor to find a way off before it's too late. Odds are, you don't need them anyway because the levels of cholesterol considered "high" enough for medication aren't high at all.

And when they do rise too high, you still don't need the drugs. Diet alone can usually bring your levels down to where they need to be -- and when you need a little extra help, try natural therapies such as red yeast rice.

I'll have more on red yeast rice plus everything you need to know about all-natural cholesterol control in a coming issue of my printed newsletter, Health Revelations.

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