Dangerous new heart health guidelines could put millions at risk. Action Alert!
For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended statins for children as young as 8. Recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) issued new cholesterol guidelines and an online risk calculator that may make 33 million healthy Americans dependent on statins.
That same day, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) declared there is “insufficient” evidence that nutritional supplements can help prevent heart disease. Coincidence?
The message from powerful, monopolistic medical organizations is loud and clear: “preventive” heart health should come from an expensive prescription bottle. Unfortunately, the AHA and ACC’s new guidelines are based on a flawed understanding of the role of cholesterol in overall health. They champion the overuse of a damaging (but lucrative) class of drugs.
Even within the conventional medical community, the new guidelines are extremely controversial. Many doctors—including the ACC’s own past president—are calling for the delay of their implementation and the shutdown of AHA’s online risk calculator, which may overestimate a patient’s risk for heart attack or stroke by 75% to 150%! Top heart researchers warned AHA over a year ago that their calculator was fundamentally flawed, but the AHA claims they never received the researchers’ critiques.
As illustrated by the AHA’s risk calculator, the focal point of the new guidelines is to put millions more Americans on statins. Statins, the most widely prescribed class of drug in the world, are supposed to reduce LDL levels, which mainstream medicine has deemed “bad cholesterol” and the main cause of heart disease. However, as we detail below, there is an abundance of strong evidence to the contrary.
The guidelines recommend that those with a risk level of even 7.5% for either heart disease or stroke should take statins as a “precaution.” Translation: under the new guidelines, patients should be prescribed statins—drugs designed to reduce cholesterol—whether or not they actually have high cholesterol. This ignores evidence that statins not only fail to reduce the risk of death, but fail to reduce even some patients’ chance of getting heart disease.
Worse, statins are an incredibly dangerous class of drugs that should not be prescribed lightly: their side effects are well documented, to the extent that the FDA requires they be disclosed in labeling. They can cause memory loss, significantly increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, block the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, and cause serious muscle aches and pains that can make it impossible to sleep. We don’t always realize how critical good sleep is to our health.
Additionally, statins should not be used as a “precaution” when non-drug interventions may be more effective in preventing heart disease. For example, the Lyon Diet Heart Study found that the Mediterranean diet was three times more effective than statin drugs in preventing recurrent heart disease. This is because a holistic approach, such as a change in diet, addresses heart disease and its contributing factors. (Please see our “Natural Ways to Support Heart Health” article for more information.)
The Lyon study also supports the idea that the very premise on which statins are based—“LDL bad, HDL good”—is a gross oversimplification. In fact, LDL has some crucial health benefits—it can even provide protection from cancer. In addition, studies show that lower levels of LDL don’t necessarily lessen your risk of heart disease, and high cholesterol may not cause it:
- In 2008, a major study showed that lowering LDL levels doesn’t necessarily decrease the risk of having a heart attack. Another study, released in 2011, shows that raising HDL levels does not always translate into a healthier heart.
- As noted in an article by Dr. Mark Hyman, as many as 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol.
- One rigorous study showed that patients treated with two drugs that successfully lowered cholesterol did not have a reduced risk of heart attack.
Cholesterol is found everywhere in the body. As medical chemist Shane Ellison explains, if high levels of cholesterol truly caused plaque (the fatty substance that causes heart attacks and strokes) rather than simply being a component of plaque, plaque blockages would be found not just in the heart and brain, but everywhere in the body, too. This could be why there are no studies proving that high cholesterol causes heart plaque. Meanwhile, low total cholesterol has its own documented health risks, including depression.
So if there’s significant evidence that statins are neither safe nor effective, what’s behind the AHA’s new guidelines? It seems simple to us: Big Pharma’s statin industry is valued at $29 billion—and the drug industry is a major funder of the AHA. That may not be the whole story, but it is enough to warn all of us.
A glance at AHA’s 2011-2012 fiscal year shows that 25% of the AHA’s budget came from corporations—with $15,369,726 coming from Big Pharma, medical device manufacturers, and health insurance providers. Additionally, of the fifteen panelists who authored the new guidelines, six reported ties to drug makers that sell or are developing cholesterol drugs.
With the recommendations of major medical associations—and, therefore, the decisions of physicians—being influenced if not dictated by the pharmaceutical industry, it is vitally important that natural health practitioners and organizations are standing up for patients. Mainstream medicine is awash in a sea of cash-fueled “guidelines” that fail to consider even the basic science behind heart health.
Action Alert! Ask the AHA and ACC to revise their guidelines!
Mainstream medicine has clearly lost their minds! Perhaps they’ve been taking too many statin drugs?
I was on statin drugs myself for less than 3 weeks before I noticed a distinct inability to remember anything that I had just read. This, combined with an increasing sense of depression and general frustration and confusion, convinced me to lay off these drugs. Within about three days, I was back to normal.
I believe statin drugs should be BANNED, not prescribed even more!
Im anythimg, the “one size fits all approach” should not.be applied. Those who.are at risk such as previous stroke or heart attack need to be on.statins, Diabetics and thiose with high LDLs. As far as Industry making money, the majority of these drugs are not branded, but less expensive generics. If a patient feels uncomfortable with the information their doctor is advocating, they should check it.out by doing their homework on “legitimate” venues va. these bogus sights hawkiing snake oil nutraceuticals. Even better, leave your physician for one you’re more comfortable with. There certainly is not a shortage of them at this point.
Just wish to say that statin drugs raises blood sugar….often diabetics who take these drugs have their blood sugar go out of control…Medical communities answer to this is increase the diabetic medications. These medications have side effects too….I took the lowest amount of metformin for diabetes….I developed rhemutoid arthritis.
As far as for high cholesterol…it is being found that there is no corrolation for defined high cholesterol and heat disease…it’s being found that 50% of those with normal cholesterol also have heart attacks; and that high cholesterol is protective for the heart and cancer.
Preventative supplements can help decrease heart risks. DO NOT over ride this. Statins are too dangerous
Another side-effect of statin drugs in aging symptoms often quite fast-appearing aging signs.
A friend, Eric, always picked my brain about vitamins, supplements and health so he was headed in the right direction. I hadn’t seen him for about 6 months but when I saw him again I noticed he wasn’t walking as steady and looked a quite a lot older. I thought, “Man, he’s really has aged all of a sudden”. I didn’t say anything to him about it until one day a year or so later he mentioned that he was taking a popular statin drug. I quickly pointed out the dangers of the drug. Upon further discussion, he revealed that his doctor had said that his cholesterol was ok but he wanted him to take the statin drug just to make sure his cholesterol levels stayed in a good range. Can you beat that? This is a drug that creates worse conditions than the one that it is supposed to “cure”. Do some research. You will find that you need cholesterol and many with heart disease or death don’t even have high cholesterol.
For less less than the $140 cost generic statins, $70 a year get you over a years supply of 1 gram vitamin C, and V- E iu. Another $45 for CO Q-10, 100 mg, This combination is the best Heart and immune system support available. The $500 cost of Drug Co statins buys the whole gamut of vitamins/minerals. Do the research!
Cost effective and are not toxic despite all the Pharmaceutical lies and twisted facts to the contrary.
I’m wondering, did your friend listen to your advice and cease taking the statin drugs???
My dance teacher’s life was ruined by statins. I’m not certain exactly how long she had been taking them, however noticed over a period of appro 1.5 years that she was having us perform the more simpler dance routines, and making mistakes. She had always been very precise and now she was making mistakes in the more simpler routines. I found about her statin usage during a casual conversation. I did everything I could to attempt to convince her stop taking them. I gave her printouts of stories on spacedoc.com, and other printouts. THEN, she developed severe back pain. I strongly suggested to her that this was a statin side effect, she told me she would talk to her doctor. Her doctor told her that Statins would never cause muscle pain and that she needed to keep taking it in order to avoid heart problems.
Long story short, she has continued to take the statins and has not resumed dancing. Last I spoke to her she was undergoing water therapy. She has taken several types of pain medications but has not yet recovered.
I think that one of the problems with the statin drugs is that they cause mind fog, memory loss, and this can effect cognitive abilities. On Spacedoc.com there are stories of many people who either had to retire, were fired, or demoted because they no longer were able to function well enough for their jobs. I’ve had brain fog when I would have a fever. I find that its hard to think my way out of a paperbag (figuratively speaking). If a person is given a statin, they may lack the ability to see what is really happening to them, and to connect the dots enough to realize that the statins caused the side effects.
For nearly half century since the 1950s when saturated fat was first declared bad for heart health Americans have experienced huge increase in heart disease. So obviously cholesterol is not the problem. Its ridiculous what a stranglehold the medical-corporate establishment holds over public health.
so stop going to your physician(s). see how long this lasts when you need them instead of second guessing a post collegiate education that took 5-9 yrs. what technical medical journals do you read as your night time fare?
Given that there are more than a dozen books written on the subject of debunking cholesterol as the cause of heart disease, mainstream medicine’s continued disregard of this issue is obviously willful and intentional.
Cholesterol does not cause heart disease; systemic inflammation from an out of balance diet is the cause. Systemic inflammation leads to arterial inflammation. Cholesterol is merely there to help alleviate the inflammation. All stains do is reduce the liver’s production of cholesterol; they do little or nothing to alleviate the rampant systemic inflammation caused by a poor diet.
Statins should absolutely only be used by people who refuse to change their diet. Changes to your diet, increased cardiovascular exercise, and the use of natural supplements like niacin, red yeast rice, policosanol, tart cherry extract and omega-3 fish oil will naturally lower cholesterol without all the associated side effects. It should also not be forgotten that low cholesterol levels have been tied to an increased risk of stroke and the use of statins reduces the body’s supply of CoQ10, which is what causes all the muscular pain and weakness.
As a Chinese medicine doctor/Acupuncturist, I can tell you that a WHOLE FOODS BASED DIET is the BEST way to achieve and maintain health and wellness. How often do we hear of ‘miracle cures’ of serious health conditions where patients simply stopped eating processed foods, sugar, and other junk, and changed their diets to one based on FRESH foods – vegetables/fruits (fiber and other nutrients), antibiotic- and hormone-free meats (good source of B12 and protein), and clean, filtered water. There are tons of empirical results to support the change from a diet of processed foods, sugar, coffee, alcohol, fats, etc, to one based on eating fresh from the farm. Prescription drugs, according to Chinese medicine, consume Qi and Yin, and it is my opinion that they do shorten our lives, especially when taken unnecessarily. Also, a patient must remember that if s/he does not want to take a drug, that patients are NOT OBLIGATED TO DO SO. A physician can push drugs all they want (unethical, in my opinion), but they CANNOT force a patient to take a drug. It is solely the patient’s decision (and right) to refuse medication, and it is also the patient’s decision to stop or step down slowly from any prescription medication (may be dangerous to simply stop certain drugs, which alone should throw up a red flag). They need to change doctors and find one that will work with them for this process. Get back to the shortest farm-to-table ratio in your eating habits!
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