A very important article I ran across this weekend while reading on statins and there risks. Please read the following research followed by some perspective from a trust source.
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Mayo Clinic have developed a computer model that is intended to determine the best time to begin using statin therapy in diabetes patients to help prevent heart disease and stroke.
According to the lead author, "The research is significant because patients with diabetes are at high risk for cardiovascular disease and statins are the single most commonly used treatment for patients at risk of heart disease and/or stroke."
The new model incorporates patient-specific data. An established risk model calculates each patient's probability of heart attack and stroke based on risk factors, such as their cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. This overall risk "score" is used to weigh the medical advantages of beginning statin therapy against the financial cost of the statins.
Science Daily July 26, 2009
Medical Decision Making May 2009; 29 (3): 351-367
Dr. Mercola is one of the few doctors I trust and he is going to give his comments on this article, Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Statins, which are a class of drugs used to lower your cholesterol, are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the world, and I believe, one of the most unnecessary drugs there are.
This is one class of drugs that I am dedicated to sound the alarm about. We are actually in the process of seeking to replicate a campaign similar to what was done to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, to inform the public about the dangers and combat the media fraud, deception and manipulation that causes people to believe otherwise.
They could have saved loads of time and money here by reading this website, because the answer to the question, “When should you begin taking a statin?” is “never.” No computer models required.
Because it’s safe to say that a drug intended to prevent heart disease which actually causes heart failure is not the right treatment for most people. Statin drugs offer a “cure” that is far worse than the disease.
Why It’s Highly Unlikely You’ll Ever Need a Statin Drug
At least 12 million Americans are already taking statins, and based on new expert recommendations another 23 million “should” be taking them.
Now, there are a small group of people with genetic enzyme defects that have cholesterols levels above 325-350 who seem to benefit from statins. However, in my clinical experience over more than two decades and tens of thousands of patients, there have been a grand total of three patients that required statins to control this relatively uncommon genetic problem.
What This Computer Model Will NOT Tell You
It’s the emergence of these kinds of dangerous diagnostic strategies that make it so important to remain educated on this issue and not simply go along with what the media and professionals claim.. Especially since statin drugs are linked to many, many dangerous side effects. And I can guarantee you this computer model will not evaluate your risk of being harmed by the drug, even though there are over 900 studies showing statin drugs to be dangerous.
For example, Bayer's statin, Baycol, was pulled from the market in 2001 after 31 people died from rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle tissue breaks down resulting in kidney failure.
Other serious and potentially life threatening side effects include, but are not limited to:
Polyneuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, which is characterized by weakness, tingling and pain in the hands and feet, as well as difficulty walking
An increase in cancer risk
Immune system suppression
Potential increase in liver enzymes, so patients must be monitored for normal liver function
Another example is Zetia, a cholesterol-lowering drug prescribed to about 1 million people each week. It was not only found to have no medical benefits, but the trial also discovered that arterial plaque growth increased, growing nearly twice as fast in patients taking Vytorin, a drug that combines Zetia with Zocor (another statin drug).
Despite these disturbing facts, Zetia and Vytorin account for about 20 percent of the cholesterol drugs on the U.S. market.
What You Need to Know About Cholesterol in Order to Understand the Dangers of Statins
Statin drugs work by preventing the formation of cholesterol, and reduce LDL cholesterol, which is considered the "bad" cholesterol.
There is no argument that these drugs do work very well at lowering your cholesterol levels. However, was has not been proven is that they significantly lower your risk of dying from heart disease. In no way, shape or form, do they treat the cause of your problem. They are nothing more than a toxic band-aid.
So just what makes statins so dangerous, and why are they not the answer for managing your cholesterol levels?
First you need to understand the biological workings of cholesterol.
In fact, there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol. Both HDL and LDL cholesterol perform vital functions in your body, which is why it’s actually dangerous to bring your LDL levels down too low.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein) are actually proteins that transport the cholesterol to and from your tissues.
Cholesterol in turn is a precursor to steroid hormones. For example, you can’t make testosterone or estrogen, cortisol, DHEA or pregnenolone, or a multitude of other steroid hormones that are necessary for health, without cholesterol.
Even more importantly, your cells cannot regenerate their membranes without it. The reason you have LDL to begin with is to transport the cholesterol to the tissues in order to make new cells and repair damaged ones.
However, there are different sizes of LDL particles and it’s the LDL particle size that is relevant, and statins do not modulate the size of the particles. Unfortunately, most people don’t know about that part, and very rarely, if ever, get tested for particle size.
The particles are sticky, so very small LDL’s can easily get stuck in different areas, and the build-up eventually causes inflammation and damage.
The only way to make sure your LDL particles are large enough to not cause damage is through your diet. In fact, it’s one of the major functions of insulin.
Conveniently enough, a healthy diet is also the answer for type 2 diabetes, so by focusing on what you eat, you’re treating both your diabetes and your cholesterol levels, and reducing your associated risk of heart disease.
If you eat properly, which is really the only known good way to regulate LDL particle size, then it does the right thing; it takes the cholesterol to your tissues, the HDL takes it back to your liver, and no plaque is formed.
The second thing you need to know is that statins work by reducing the enzyme that causes your liver to make cholesterol when it is stimulated by high insulin levels.
Again, you can achieve the same, or better, result by simply reducing your insulin levels by eliminating sugar and most grains, which is also what you need to do to successfully address type 2 diabetes.
What Most Doctors Fail to Tell You When Prescribing Statins
Another important aspect that most doctors fail to tell you about is that statins are non-specific inhibitors of not just one, but a number of very important liver enzymes, one of of the most important being Coenzyme Q10.
CoQ10 is a vital enzyme that your body needs for energy and cardiovascular health.
It is widely recommended to repair heart damage, boost the function of the heart and acts as a protectant against heart attacks and valve damage. Additionally, CoQ10 has been shown to be beneficial in heart and lung cancer, as well as maintain cognitive function.
Thus, when you take statins your production of this enzyme is dramatically depleted and you do not reap the health benefits associated with it. Unfortunately, few patients are ever told about this fact and their health suffers accordingly.