Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Tinnitus, statins, hypochondria, and me

It is a cruel irony that someone such as myself who values peace and quiet above most other pleasures should be revisited by a bout (I hope it’s only a brief attack) of tinnitus. The ringing in my ears is like the noise of continuous distant traffic.
The condition is probably hereditary – there is a history of ear problems in the family. I’ve had low-level tinnitus for over 15 years during which time there have been spells at bothersome levels.
The current affliction falls into that category and may have been triggered by the Simvastatin 20mg tablets I have been taking for about six months. There are anecdotal reports linking statins and tinnitus but the condition is not recognised officially as a possible side-effect of the drug.
The statin did its work reducing my cholesterol level from 5.2 to 3.5 – I have to keep to a tight regime because I’m a diabetic being treated by diet. Without accepting that the statin was necessarily the cause of my tinnitus, my doctor told me to stop taking the tablets. I’m to see if the tinnitus resolves itself – which I feel it will – and in any case have a full blood check-up in two months time.
This means should I so wish I could eat grapefruit again. A trivial boon but having decided to call my blog Grapefruitcrazy in recognition of the fact that the fruit isn’t suitable for statin takers, it warrants passing mention in this post.
On a more serious note I hope I don’t become one of those older people who become defined by their state of health – illness or the lack of it. I do have a tendency to hypochondria, on which I must keep a tight rein.
Perfect health is an ideal, which has only lately arrived. The advances of medical science breeds hope that there can be a pill or treatment for every disease. Earlier generations were prepared to carry their ailments with fortitude. Increasing longevity allows us to be more ill for longer – yet still seek recovery.
But the strains on the National Health Service are already all too evident. The public knows that to maintain health they should cut out smoking and limit alcohol consumption, exercise and above all control their weight.
I can see a day coming when public healthcare rationing is introduced which discriminates against transgressors.

1 comment:

  1. Yes GC.
    But you need to explain why taking grapefruit juice is not advised for statin takers. And what quantity could be detrimental I sometimes have a lovely glass of pink grapefruit juice with my statins and breakfast. After all your whole blog title etc, rests on this assumption.

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