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Good and Bad News for Reducing Heart Attack Deaths

Don't get so excited about a study on statin treatments...

by
Theodore Dalrymple

Bio

March 24, 2014 - 2:00 pm
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Good and bad news often go together, for what is good news for some is bad for others. Shareholders in pharmaceutical companies that produce statins will have been heartened (no pun intended) by a paper in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine in which the authors calculated that, under the new guidelines of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association with regard to lipid levels in the blood, 12.8 million more adults in the United States alone would be “eligible” for (i.e. ought ideally to have) treatment with statins. In fact, very nearly half the population older than 40 ought to take them, and seven eighths of the population over 60. As a man over sixty who never has any blood tests done, my heart sinks (again no pun intended). We are all guilty of illness until proven healthy: not good news.

The authors compared the therapeutic consequences of the old guidelines with the new. In effect the new guidelines lowered the threshold for treatment. According to these guidelines, anyone over 40 with known cardiovascular disease should receive statins, irrespective of their level of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL); while anyone with a level of 70 milligrams per decilitre or more and who has diabetes or a statistical risk of a heart attack of more than 7.5 percent within the next ten years should also receive them.

Taking a rather small sample of adults over 40 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey whose blood lipids were measured and extrapolating it to the U.S. population as a whole, the authors conclude that, if the new guidelines were put into practice rather than the old, 14.4 million adults in the U.S. who would not have been “eligible” for treatment under the old guidelines would now be “eligible” for it, while 1.6 million who would have been “eligible” under the old guidelines would no longer be “eligible.”

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All Comments   (21)
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It seems like the PharmacoMafia won’t be happy until every man, woman, and child in this country is on at least one prescription medication, or better yet, several. Didn’t they just re-jigger the blood pressure guidelines a while back?

But not to worry, we’re almost there. And with such an endless list of afflictions for these creative types to tackle—depression, obesity, Low-T, ennui--can 100% compliance be far behind?

There’s a billboard along a rural highway not far from here with a picture of a blue-collar guy sweating over a piece of equipment, about to reach for a frosty brew. The caption reads, “Here’s to earning it.” As good a way to go out as any, in my book.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The medical profession in the US seems intent on pushing on everybody statins, a class of drug to which increasing numbers of people are finding themselves having reactions. They are not a panacea for cardiovascular issues such as cholesterol-cause plaque buildup in the bloodstream. In fact, long-term use is dangerous for cardio health.

Statins dangerously reduce coenzyme-Q10 (CoQ10) levels in the body, as the liver manufactures CoQ10 with cholesterol and interrupting one interrupts the other. The lack of CoQ10, which is expensive to buy as a supplement, causes much of the muscle reaction those sensitive to statins' effects feel. I am one. Continuing to take statins after the muscle reaction sets in can potentially be fatal, as the reaction and pain is from muscle myopathy (decay and damage), including heart muscle.

Such proposals are part of Big Government's, Big Medicine's, and Big Pharma's plans to pacify the population by pushing pills instead of providing real medical care. Gotta pay for Obamacare somehow, you see. If people die from the muscle reactions, well, that also saves the system money...

There have been asinine proposals to add statins to water systems to provide their wonderful benefits to everyone nationwide. Under no circumstances must anything proposing to push these drugs on everybody pass.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good News. Bad News.
Good: We have basically conquered Heart Disease. All it takes is Time, Money and Individual Effort.
Bad (1). All it takes is Time, Money and INDIVIDUAL EFFORT.
Bad (2). You're still gonna die.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought the news was that statins were shown NOT to reduce heart disease, 'but they should still be taken because they do so many other wonderful things' apart from liver damage.

For 40 years it's been known and demonstrated by those without a pharmaceutical in the fight that mega-doses of simple vitamin C, L-lysine and large doses of niacin, and even 10 cups of green tea can do wonders for reduced existing arterial plaque build-up, increasing arterial elasticity and thus reducing arterial blood pressure and arterial pulse pressure, greatly lowering serum LDL, VLDL, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, reducing systemic inflammation and CRP levels (which are generally recognized as markers for coronary arterial disease and heart attack), reducing potential for stroke, as well as decreasing arthritis, as well as a whole host of other good things.

I certainly don‘t have a dog in this fight (except perhaps for the truth); I don’t sell vitamins or have stock in Vitamin World, or even work there. And these vitamins are free and don’t require a prescription – yet, if the pharmaceutical companies have there way.

My lipid levels were cut in half, my lipoprotein(a) [the so-called heart-attack lipid] is almost non-existent, my aches went away and I lost thirty pounds of fat soon after starting a daily regimen based on these vitamins and the tea; I feel good again.

And then was disheartened to Chuck Schumer suggest outlawing all vitamins. America: You can’t live with it, it seems.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I meant: virtually free, and obtainable freely without a prescription.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, and it helps insulin transport across cell membranes, which are compromised in diabetes and insulin resistance.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anybody ever hear of a double blind, placebo based study proving statins lower mortality????

If so tell the companies that make them so they can use it in their ads to offset the huge number of warnings about side effects. The side effects most reviews of the literature indicate are much more likely statistically than the supposed benefits of these dubious concoctions.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"They concede, for example, that the sample by which they estimated the pattern of LDL distribution in the American population might not have been representative"

Sweet! So long as you have a Phd or an MD behind your name you can do what no undergrad can do.

Yee - haaaaa!

small sample sizes and perhaps non-representative one! what could go wrong?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been on several statins for several years. I don't tolerate them well at all. I get crippled with muscle cramps and pain within weeks of low dose treatments. Right now I'm using a low dose of Crestor supplemented with Zetia for lipids control.
Diet and Exercise are much better, however as my heart and lung conditions continue to worsen that is becoming difficult as well.
Genetics are by far the biggest factor in cardiovascular diseases and there's very little to be done with that. I have had high lipid and triglyceride levels my entire adult life. My older brother? Nope. But he has arthritis; I don't.
Bottom line. We American's eat too much. We eat a vast amount of rich foods and don't balance that with high fiber low fat foods very well.
But if the genetics are against you, medications, exercise and diet just nibble around the edges of the problem.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Before you blame all this in your diet and genetics and possibly a sedentary life, read up on Linus Pauling's work, seen at the OSU Pauling Intitute web-site, (until it's determined to be seditious and taken down), and the beneficial effects of niacin and green tea. I can't promise miracles, but the difference to me was tremendous.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"statin therapy"

I read often of "off label" (not directly cholesterol related) uses for statins, including arthritis & cancer !

Being promoted like some kind of wonder drug, but statins are (still) related to muscle damage.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, my comment above was intended as a reply to @JFSanders...
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment

You say that statins are the "second largest scam". I heard people dealing with morbid anatomy saying that is the "biggest hoax ever"...
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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