Every year in the United States, there are 38 million filled prescriptions for statins, the cholesterol-lowering drug that has become ubiquitous in today’s society. If that sounds like a lot, consider that new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology will cause that number to double!
The new guidelines seek to increase statin-use from 15% of the adult population to a whopping 30%, nearly one out of every three American adults would be on a medication that is already one of the most prescribed drugs today.
This has some experts concerned because research hasn’t exactly been overly favorable toward statins in most adults. Statins have shown moderate effectiveness in preventing heart attacks in men with a prior history of heart disease, but haven’t been shown to work in women. They also provide very little benefit to healthy adults without a personal history of heart disease. The British Medical Journal recently published a review that states 140 people would need to take statins for 5 years to prevent just one heart attack! Not exactly a miracle drug…
There are other concerns, too. Three quarters of heart attack sufferers have normal cholesterol at the time of the heart attack, so the role of cholesterol in heart attacks is questionable, especially considering research shows that statins lower cholesterol but don’t prolong life! Considering 18% of statin-takers suffer significant side effects, including cataracts, liver disease, and sexual dysfunction, many professionals are concerned we’re spending too much time focused on medication rather than lifestyle changes. Dr. John Abramson of Harvard University estimates that someone without heart disease would benefit more from taking a brisk 10-minute walk than using statins. Additionally, stopping smoking and losing weight are two of the most powerful things someone can do to reduce cholesterol levels on their own!
Medical authorities seem to be moving us all closer and closer to a dependence on medication. The reality is, you are responsible for your health! It starts with lifestyle – eating well, moving well, thinking well, sleeping well, and having a well-functioning nervous system! Don’t wait until the guidelines change again and they start adding statins to the drinking water, make your health a priority and take action today!