Cholesterol is a major health problem, particularly if someone is overweight and obese. The negative effects of unmanaged cholesterol levels in the body has gotten to the point that most anyone is aware of the risks and side effects. This makes medications like anti-cholesterol medication and weight loss pills rather popular today, with sales reportedly increasing every year. However, aside from the fact that these pills are nowhere near as effective as they are advertised to be, there may be other problems. For example, recent studies have discovered that a popular drug used to combat cholesterol, Zocor, might be to blame for some people having difficulty sleeping, with some patients facing the risk of long-term insomnia.
While sleep may not seem to be entirely connected to weight gain and weight loss pills, there is a link between the two. A lack of sleep can cause someone to inadvertently begin to gain more weight, effectively rendering the effects of the diet pills null. Another potential complication to lacking sleep comes in the form of resistance to insulin, which can be very dangerous for patients who are diabetic or have already high blood sugar levels. While insomnia is a risk for people who use Zocor, it is not the only sleep-related problem. For the most part, the research discovered that the main effect was that the quality of the sleep was poorly affected.
A recent study conducted by Dr. Beatrice Golomb, from the University of San Diego School of Medicine, was focused on discovering why people using Zocor and chemically similar drugs had sleep-related problems. The test was conducted with two groups of test subjects, with one group being given placebos and the other being given the actual drug. Both groups were observed and their sleep patterns and signs recorded regularly, providing Dr. Golomb a large amount of data from which to draw from and support her findings.
Zocor, along with the related compound called Pravastatin, work by lowering the body’s low-level lipoprotein (LDL), better known as “bad” cholesterol. The two related compounds are either dissolved in water or dissolved in fat, but both present a number of risks. It isn’t very hard for either compound to make it past the membrane barrier of the brain, seeping into the cells and affecting normal functioning. This is a larger risk in the fat-soluble Simvastatin, better known as Zocor. A recently concluded study found that these drugs could have an effect on the areas of the brain that are most active while one is asleep, affecting sleep quality in most and the ability to fall asleep in extreme cases.
This is an interesting situation, mainly because poor sleep quality can cause side effects that are similar to the ones that one gets with high cholesterol levels. Insomnia would be the least of a person’s worries if the lack of good sleep gets to the point where heart attacks and strokes are becoming a very real risk. That is not to say that improper sleep or a lack of it is not, in and of itself, a major concern. The study pointed out the possibility that there might be more effects to the use of both pravastatin and simvastatin, but that the research team was primarily concerned with the connection the drugs have to sleep problems.