The Truth About the New Statin Guidelines
Statins are a blockbuster drug for Big Pharma and it’s estimated that an astonishing 1 and 3 Americans over the age of 50 are taking one. However, many experts believe these drugs are widely over-prescribed, are of no benefit to the majority of people who take them and have dangerous side effects that are rarely mentioned by doctors.
“In what’s being called a tectonic shift in the way doctors will treat high cholesterol, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology on Tuesday released new treatment guidelines calling for a focus on risk factors rather than just cholesterol levels.” [via CNN.com]
Is this progress? Has the mainstream medical establishment finally acknowledged that there’s more to heart disease risk than a patient’s cholesterol numbers?
Alas, my enthusiasm was tempered as I continued reading…
“The new guidelines could double the amount of people on medication to lower their cholesterol…”
So basically, the new guidelines tell doctors to ignore cholesterol target numbers and instead focus on risk factors that are supposed to determine the patient’s overall risk for heart disease or stroke, including blood pressure, age and risk for diabetes. Most experts agree that these guidelines set a lower threshold for taking statins, which include Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor. As a result, some 70 million Americans could end up on statins, up from the estimated 32 million who take them now.
I think the last thing we need is MORE people on statins, with evidence that they are not the “wonder” drugs Big Pharma has made them out to be continuing to pile up. For example, a study published in the British Medical Journal found that for every 10,000 people, there were only 271 fewer cases of heart disease, proving that statin drugs are less effective than once thought. This has actually led some experts to say that 99 out of 100 people who take statins don’t even need them!
Efficacy aside, despite what some may say, statin drugs are FAR from harmless. Within days of taking a statin, users typically experience fatigue, aches and pains, general muscle soreness and headaches. Many suffer memory loss, weakness, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, liver problems…or worse. According to the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, “Statins have killed and injured more people than the government has acknowledged.”
Part of the problem is that by blocking cholesterol production in the liver, statins also block the production of key hormones — as well as CoQ10. As I’ve often written, statins drain your body’s natural stores of CoQ10, which your heart and brain need to stay healthy. Low CoQ10 levels are the reason so many statin users suffer from things like ongoing fatigue, muscle pain, weakness and memory loss.
As integrative cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra wrote in his response to the issuing of the new statin guidelines:
“Statins are already overused in many population groups, with risks that don’t outweigh the rewards. What’s also important to remember is that the data does not strongly suggest statins improve longevity even though they reduce cardiovascular events.
My opinion of statins remains exactly the same. Statins should only be used in populations that get the most reward—which is middle-aged men with diagnosed coronary artery disease, those with familial hypercholesterolemia, and perhaps a minimal percentage of women. Plus, remember that there’s no data to suggest statins will improve longevity even in people with cardiovascular disease—so I would never recommend using statins as primary prevention.
Every patient is different, and prescribing a drug with an enormous side-effect profile based on an algorithm concept is, frankly, poor medicine. Doctors need to treat individuals with smart medicine—not guidelines, numbers, and unproven myths and dogma.”
What do you think about the new guidelines? Share your thoughts below. And check out this trailer from the documentary $tatin Nation by Justin Smith. It’s an excellent film that questions and explores the medical myths we’ve been fed about stains and cholesterol.
Joshua Corn - Editor-in-Chief
Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of Stop Aging Now, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and is gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, animal lover and enjoys “living in the now” with his wife and two sons.
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Article updated on: November 14th, 2013