by David Bunnell
IMAGINE A MURDER TRIAL where 6 of the 12 jurors are closely related to the defendant. To make sure the verdict is fair, these 6 jurors cannot vote, but they can deliberate–discuss, debate, contend, sweet-talk, cajole. What do you suppose the odds would be for a conviction?
On Tuesday, November 12, The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued the first new guidelines in a decade for preventing heart attacks and strokes. These guidelines call for twice as many Americans — one third of all adults — to take statins. Anyone with a 7.5 percent heart attack risk over the next 10 years, according to a “Heart Attack Risk Assessment Calculator,” as compared with previous guidelines’ 10-to-20 percent risk.
Similar to the mythical murder jury above, “roughly half” of the 15 medical doctors on the panel that created these recommendations have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, according to The Washington Post. Supposedly, they did not vote on the final recommendations, but their colleagues at the big pharmaceutical companies must have been popping the champagne corks.
The number of annual statin prescriptions is about to double from 214 million per year to over one half a billion. A $27 billion dollar industry is about to getting bigger, even though some of the biggest money making statins have gone off patient, making room for cheaper generics.
For those who believe statins actually offer protection from the “number one killer,” heart disease; if they actually helped people live longer and better; and if they actually had minimal adverse side effects, then this announcement would be good news.
There is no such evidence. The only evidence of their effectiveness is for secondary prevention, where patients after a heart attack are prescribed maximum dose treatment irrespective of total cholesterol, because of statins’ anti-inflammatory or coronary plaque stabilizing effects.
Here’s 10 Reasons Why the New Cholesterol Guidelines are Insane
- There is no correlation between overall cholesterol numbers and heart disease. Half of the people with heart disease have perfectly “normal” cholesterol levels. And half the people who have “elevated” cholesterol have perfectly normal hearts.
- Cholesterol is a naturally occurring organic molecule, a major component in brain and nerve tissue, precursor to important hormones and vitamins including vitamin D, and it is responsible for making bile. Getting your cholesterol levels too low is actually dangerous.
- Your overall LDL cholesterol number is also irrelevant. The only relevant number is the number of VLDL, the small type of LDL that gets stuck between the inner and outer walls of arteries, setting off a process that leads to the formation of plaque.
- The ratio of VLDL to HDL (the so-called “good” cholesterol) is one predictor of heart disease–the ratio of Triglycerides to HDL is an even better predictor.
- Triglycerides, the chemical form of fat derived mostly from carbohydrates, are the real culprit in heart disease.
- When you reduce triglycerides you automatically lower VLDL and increase HDL. Any increase of LDL is of the big, harmless variety.
- There is no evidence statins prevent heart disease.
- Statins come with serious side effects including an increase in type 2 diabetes and memory loss.
- The best way to reduce heart disease risk is by lowering triglycerides. There are three ways to do this: (1) daily exercise, (2) low-carb diet especially important to reduce consumption of white flour, sugar, fruit juices, snack foods and beer, and (3) eat seafood every day or take omega-3 supplements, at least 1000 mg of EPA and DHA.
- Taking satins provides false reassurances that keeps people from taking the steps that actually reduce cardiovascular disease.
The doctor panel still insists cholesterol is the enemy and they still want you to eat plenty of whole grain carbohydrates and omega-6 vegetable oils while limiting your consumption of saturated fats and red meat.
They say moderate exercise for 30 minutes, three or four times a week, is perfectly adequate. There is no mention of the power of simple aspirin to prevent heart attacks. No mention of how omega-3s lower triglycerides, raise HDL, and lowers VLDL.
Most egregious, the guidelines call for doctors to start screening all children between ages 9-11 to see if they are candidates for statin prescriptions. This is madness. For one thing, elevated cholesterol does not cause heart disease. Putting children on statins will limit their bodies’ ability to make vitamin D and potentially cause other serious side effects, including dysfunctional sexual and cognitive development.
And if we are serious about preventing childhood obesity and early stage heart disease, we need to take away the soda and the fast food, limit TV and video games–make our kids get out of the house!
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