Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cholesterol - The Real Truth

Cholesterol has been a hot topic for the past 30 years and unfortunately it is a substance that has been demonised by the medical profession.  The average man or woman who goes to his GP to get his cholesterol levels measured, because that is what you are supposed to do, is told that their levels are too high and as a result end up being prescribed a statin drug to lower it.  I think someone needs to write the following books - 'Everything your Doctor does not know about Cholesterol' and 'Everything your Doctor does not tell you about Cholesterol lowering drugs'.  The biggest problem with these statin drugs is that they deplete CoQ10.  The action of the statin drug is to block the production of cholesterol in the liver but in doing this they also block the production of CoQ10 as well. 

There has been an ongoing class action in America against the statin drug Lipitor and the following sides effects have been published:

Reported Side Effects of Statins

"In recent years, the American Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") has issued warnings linking the use of statins to:
  • risk of serious muscle damage ("rhabdomyolysis"), and
  • risk of kidney or liver damage.
Depending on the specific statin you are taking, there may be other possible side effects."

Since the heart is a muscle it is susceptible to the effects of statin drugs and in fact there has been an increase in congestive heart failure in the US since the introduction of statin drugs.

A recent newsletter I received from Sandra Cabot's website says the following about statin drugs:

Some recent press stories about statins

The following articles have been taken from various websites - if you would like to find out more, visit the website address quoted:

Cholesterol medication linked to dementia

AAP, The West Australian March 1, 2012, 7:18 am

People who take cholesterol-lowering drugs may soon be advised to go without them as more evidence shows they are linked to higher risks of diabetes and dementia.

More than two million Australians are believed to be using statins to reduce their risk of heart disease.

But US regulators have announced these prescription drugs should carry warnings about the risk of diabetes and memory impairment.

The president of the Australasian Society for Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists, David Le Couteur, said Australia had one of the highest rates of statin use in the world.

People who were not at high risk of heart disease should reconsider using them, he said.

Warning on statins for the healthy

The West Australian January 20, 2011, 6:11 am

Questions hang over the widespread use of the cholesterol- lowering drugs statins after a study warned they could cause more harm than good in people at low risk of heart disease.
About 22 million prescriptions for statins are dispensed in Australia each year at a cost to taxpayers of $1.2 billion. But the new study cautions against them for people with no previous heart concerns.

The Cochrane Systematic Review found there was not enough evidence to recommend the widespread use of statins in people who had high cholesterol but were at low risk of heart attack and stroke.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins are the first-line treatment for cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of death.

But while their benefits for people with known heart disease are clear, it is less so for others.
The London-based researchers reviewed 14 trials of more than 34,000 patients to compare statins against dummy pills.

The trials showed statins reduced the risk of dying from nine to eight deaths for every 1000 people treated with the drugs each year.

But the new research says the results were not necessarily helpful for people at low risk because the trials were often industry sponsored, so the results could be selective and biased and some did not report adverse events.

Lead researcher Fiona Taylor, from the Cochrane Heart Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, warned doctors to weigh up individual risks and benefits before prescribing statins.

But heart experts said the drugs were still important for many patients and warned people with high cholesterol against going off statins without seeing their doctor.

Current guidelines from the National Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand advise using the drugs based on the patient’s risk of heart or blood vessel problems.

Though lifestyle changes were beneficial for all patients, statins were recommended for those with clinical evidence of heart and blood vessel disease or stroke.

Before taking any medication it is always wise to do your own research.  Do not take any drug without understanding what it does in the body and its possible side effects.

There is also no evidence that cholesterol lowering drugs have any benefit for women.  Not surprising as the testing has always been done on men.

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