I was browsing the health and fitness section of MSN this morning when I noticed this title on the front page: "Cholesterol Levels May Not Measure Cardiac Risk." When I read that, I assumed it was some article being sarcastic. Surely no one actually paid for a study that would discredit a multi-billion dollar industry like lowering cholesterol. By golly, that's exactly what someone has done.
Before I get into this, I would just like to state that I and many of my chiropractor colleagues across this nation have been making that statement for a long time. Not in those exact words, but I tell my patients that no one has ever died of high cholesterol. Many people who I treat for peripheral neuropathy are on cholesterol lowering medications because they don't fit into the box that "Mr. Pharmaceutical" has created. Obviously having very high levels of the "bad" cholesterol is not healthy and there are natural ways to lower cholesterol.
These guidelines they keep coming out with to give doctors on who should be on cholesterol meds is almost a joke. Basically, if you are over 40 and have blood they are recommending the meds. Even if you are normal and anyone in your family has suffered from heart disease, then you are likely to receive a script for it for "prevention". Taking medicine is not prevention! Do not be mistaken. All medicine is toxic to our bodies. Prevention is eating healthy, exercising, getting adjusted regularly, drinking water, anything that helps your body achieve optimal health by functioning at it's highest level physically, nutritionally, and emotionally.
If you're thinking, "But what about in emergencies or crisises?" Yes, in those emergency situations medicine is super because it prevents the alternative. That is what medicine was designed for. I'm talking about chronic conditions. If you take medicine for anything you have 2 problems instead of 1. First, you still have the problem you are taking the medication for because it doesn't fix problems, it only covers up symptoms. Second, you get a very long list of side effects to come along with it. Which by the way, will lead to more medication later on down the road.
Back to the article! This is not just some obscure article in an unknown journal. This article is appearing in the current issue of the American Heart Journal. It says that in their nationwide study (not the insurance company) they found that nearly 75% of those individuals treated for heart attacks had cholesterol levels that would suggest they were not at high risk for cardiovascular trouble. It goes on to say that this information might require doctors to reevaluate their current recommendations for prescribing statins.
I just had a scary thought. What if instead of using common sense and saying, "Hey, maybe we were wrong and cholesterol levels aren't as important as we thought," they did the complete opposite and decided that there box to fit people in is even smaller. So instead of recommending cholesterol lowering medications for those with LDL 130 and above, they change their guidelines to say now we think everyone with LDL 100 and above should take it.
I am very interested to see what comes of this. Will it get swept under the rug? Will it lower the amount of statins prescribed? Will guidelines get changed? Will nothing change? Only time will tell. Until then, I'll just keep on caring for my patients and try to make this world a little healthier one body at a time.