Sunday, October 16, 2005

Cholesterol Drugs Are About Money Not Health

I got into an engaging conversation with a doctor friend of mine from church today about the subject of cholesterol. We were talking about my weight loss and how it has improved my health so much that I have been able to stop taking prescription medications for my blood pressure. However, I expressed my concern to him that I was worried about my LDL "bad" cholesterol would go back up since I stopped taking Crestor about a month ago and asked what I should do about it.

My blood work is expected to come back from a recent health fair we had at my work within the next week or so and I will have all the information about my cholesterol levels at that time. The last time I had my cholesterol checked in January 2005 right after losing 180 pounds on the low-carb lifestyle, my HDL "good" cholesterol was around 50 or 60-something and my triglycerides were down in the 30s. However, my LDL "bad" cholesterol was at 110 on a half dose of Crestor. The doctor put me on a full dose of daily Crestor at the time to bring my LDL "bad" cholesterol down even lower.

This doctor friend of mine said if your HDL "good" cholesterol is as high as mine is, then I probably should not get too worked up about the LDL "bad" cholesterol being over 100. He explained that your body needs both kinds of cholesterol to function correctly and that he believes this cholesterol debate is more about the money drug companies can make rather than on improving the health of people.

Interestingly, my doctor friend said the acceptable cholesterol numbers has continued to decrease over the years and what used to be an acceptable level of total cholesterol is now considered high. He said this appears to be an organized marketing strategy by the drug companies to make huge profits on the fears of an uneducated public and is disgusted with the constant television commercials that have convinced people they need to unnecessarily lower their cholesterol numbers to a certain level.

Advocating natural alternatives to taking statin drugs such as Lipitor or Crestor, my doctor friend said he sees patients all the time who complain of nagging joint pain and other physical discomfort. Most of the time these people are taking one of these cholesterol medications which one of his colleagues describes as "rat poison."

He said his own research about statin drugs has shown him that it can cause irreparable damage to the liver which, ironically, helps control the LDL "bad" cholesterol's effect on the body. If your liver shuts down, then even worse problems than cholesterol get moved to the forefront of your health!

To help minimize the risk to your health like this, my doctor friend said to take fish oil supplements (which I already do) and other homeopathic alternatives to prescription medications. While the media and health "experts" are celebrating the success of statin drugs on reducing cholesterol levels in Americans, we should be very concerned about what is going to happen to the health of all those people taking those medicines that are causing such harm to their bodies.

Should you stop taking your cholesterol medicine now? That's a decision that you are going to have to make under the supervision of your doctor. Ask him or her if there are alternative ways to get your cholesterol down without wreaking havoc on other parts of your overall health. Some people have very high cholesterol levels and could see their numbers fall dramatically if they started following a healthy way of eating such as low-carb and incorporated daily exercise into their routine. Once again, it all comes back to your lifestyle choices and what YOU decide is best for your body and health.

In the meantime, I'll continue to watch my cholesterol numbers closely. Livin' la vida low-carb has helped get my HDL "good" cholesterol up and triglycerides down. Maybe I'll see my LDL "bad" cholesterol stabilize with my tremendous weight loss and I can finally stop concerning myself about it so much. Every other aspect of my health has been greatly improved, so I am confident my cholesterol numbers will as well.


Blogger duncan_m said...

Try googling the terms "Parkinsons" and "statin".. there seems to be a growing body of evidence that statin medications may significantly increase the risk of Parkinsons Disease..


10/16/2005 6:49 PM  
Blogger BG said...

I would say your blood looks wonderful, you have a Trig To Hdl ratio of 1.6 to 1 Less than 3to1
is great. I would also submit that your LDL has converted to what is called Sub B which is the large
partacal and is desirable.

10/16/2005 7:39 PM  
Blogger helenmas said...

there is a huge body of evidence that high cholesterol is nothing to worry about anyway. That there is no scientific evidence or study that proves it has any impact on heart disease anyway.
for further reading.

10/17/2005 1:31 AM  
Blogger hcollins said...

While I celebrate your weight loss, your increase in total cholesterol was most likely due to your horrible diet and increased weight. Now that you have cleaned up your act and lost a whole person in body weight, it’s no surprise that your cholesterol is “normal”. While you are one of the lucky ones, many people can’t help but have high cholesterol due to the fact that our bodies make 80% of our total cholesterol. So, since what we eat will only impact about 20% of our total cholesterol, some people may actually benefit from statins.

Many of the people posting sound as though they aren’t true scientists and don’t want to believe what the science is revealing. In the same vein, many doctors are merely generalists and don’t take the time to look into the studies for what they are really telling us. The meta analysis of statin clinical trials reveal impressive data that point to a direct correlation between LDL levels and cardiovascular events. So, go ahead and listen to the doctor that doesn’t believe what science is revealing; after all, it isn’t their heart or brain they are playing guessing games with.

5/14/2006 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

regarding what hcollins has posted: I truly believe the FDA will look further into this and take a better look at the scientific data. they should be done as independent data.. just as they are doing with the Humira type drugs. The pharm company studies as far as I'm concerned are studies done to minimize the very dangerous and deadly effects.

6/19/2008 11:31 AM  

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