Tuesday, March 4, 2008

So You've Been Diagnosed With High Cholesterol ...

What Now?

Your doctor may be telling you that "high cholesterol" leads to heart disease and is recommending statin drug therapy. Well before you fill that prescription please get all of the facts.

More or more evidence is surfacing pointing to the fact that statin drugs have little or no benefit and, in worse case scenarios, cause dangerous side effects.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with high cholesterol Maggie Mahar's article, "The Cholesterol Con -- Where Were The Doctors" is a must read. In it she raises the question: "
When everyone from the makers of Mazola Corn Oil to the Popes of Cardiology assured us that virtually anyone could ward off heart disease by lowering their cholesterol, why didn't more of our doctors raise an eyebrow and warn us: 'Actually, that's not what the research shows'?"

Ms. Mahar's article explains the faulty science used to directly link high cholesterol to heart attacks and shows just who profited from this deception.

The article states:

No doubt, you've heard about the recent Business Week cover story, "Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?", which blew the lid off the theory that "statins" -- drugs like Lipitor, Crestor, Mevacor, Zocor and Pravachol -- can cut the odds that you will die of a heart attack by slowing the production of cholesterol in your body and increasing the liver's ability to remove LDL, or "bad cholesterol," from your blood.

It's true that these drugs can help some people -- but not nearly as many as we have been told. Moreover, and this is the kicker, we don't have any clear evidence that they work by lowering cholesterol.

"Current evidence supports ignoring LDL cholesterol altogether," Dr. Rodney A. Hayward, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, told Business Week's reporter.

In recent years, researchers have begun to suspect that statins help patients, not by lowering cholesterol levels, but by reducing inflammation. If this theory is right, "this seems likely to shunt cholesterol reduction into a small corner of the overall picture of heart disease," the Guardian reported four years ago.

And if the key to statins is that they reduce inflammation, it's worth keeping in mind that this is what other effective heart treatments like aspirin and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils, garlic and vitamin E do -- at a much lower cost and with far fewer side effects.

Dr. Abramson, who is a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, charges that the study that accompanied the updated 2004 guidelines "knowingly misrepresented the results of the clinical trials that they supposedly relied upon to formulate their recommendations. The problem is that the experts claimed to rely on scientific evidence, but they act as if empowered to ignore the evidence when it is not consistent with their beliefs."

This is a serious allegation. Keep in mind that statins are the most popular drugs in the history of human medicine. Worldwide sales totaled $33 billion in 2007. More than 18 million American now take them.

Nevertheless, "medical research suggests that only about 40 percent to 50 percent of that number are likely to benefit," says Abramson. "The other 8 or 9 million are exposed to the risks that come with taking statins -- which can include severe muscle pain, memory loss, sexual dysfunction -- and one study shows increased risk of cancer in the elderly -- but there are no studies to show that the drugs will protect these patients against fatal heart attacks."

When it is all said and done, the pharmaceutical industry fraud over statin drugs and antidepressants may exceed the corruption of the Enron and subprime mortgage scandals combined. And this article may make you question every prescription your physician has written.

The following video is from the Austin Wellness Center:

Note: If you are currently taking a statin drug, PLEASE consult your physician or a licensed alternative medical professional before discontinuing use. Sudden discontinued use of most prescription drugs can produce side effects.

Related posts:

Vytorin: Questionable Truth in Advertising

Did Big Pharma Sell The Idea of High Cholesterol

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