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Changing those things in our lives is where we need to act first. The Case Against Statins A pharmaceutical expert argues the cholesterol-fighting drugs are overprescribed, with potentially dangerous side effects By Dr. Armon B. Neel, Jr. And there is good evidence that the benefits of statin use continue well into old age14. Some research suggests statins help with asthma symptoms. All rights reserved. © 2020 European Society of Cardiology. CLAIM: Eating foods high in cholesterol (e.g. The stakes are simply too high to do otherwise.”. How to handle a physician who doubts or dismisses your symptoms. The pain was horrific. All rights reserved. The result: 8.5% suffered a heart attack or stroke within just four years, compared to 7.6% who continued taking the drugs13. Women who are breastfeeding should also not take statins. Germany has one of the highest cholesterol levels in the world9 and is ranked second amongst high income countries in the rate of deaths caused by ischemic heart disease10. “And I actually believed them. About 10% of statin users get aches and pains, says William W. O'Neill, MD, a cardiologist and medical director of Henry Ford Health System's Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. CLAIM: High LDL cholesterol is less dangerous than many other factors, including inactivity, smoking and obesity. To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter. Here's why a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis can be so frightening. Some of the misleading claims, and the proven facts: CLAIM: Cholesterol is not bad for us. Health.com is part of the Meredith Health Group. A majority of those people cited the primary reason as their physicians never offered it. This occurs in only about 1 percent of patients with pre-diabetes taking the medication. Liver enzyme testing is individualized based on each patient’s risk factors, explains Alfred Casale, MD, chair of the Geisinger Heart Institute in Danville, Pennsylvania. “The false reports circulated about statins are not only misleading, they’re outright dangerous.” Statins, often referred to as the “gold standard” for treating high levels of harmful cholesterol, or LDL (low density lipoprotein), are one of the most widely used drugs in the world. “It is indeed critical to stop smoking, be physically active and watch one’s diet. FACT: Globally, about 33% of coronary heart disease cases can be attributed to high cholesterol7. Lead researcher, Safa Nsouli, MD, director of the Danville Asthma and Allergy Clinic, in Danville, California, argues that statins boost production of cells in the immune system that cause inflammation and worsen. A study published in the March 2019 Journal of the American Heart Association reported that more than half of patients eligible for statins do not receive them. eggs or butter) does not kill you. Corbis. Cholesterol is a building block for developing brains, hearts, and limbs.If you are taking a statin, tell your doctor immediately if you become pregnant or are thinking about having a baby. The fear, intense. "Before you give up on a statin, try a different dose or a different statin," he says. CLAIM: There is no link between a population's LDL-cholesterol levels and the frequency of heart attacks. 03 Dec 2019. Read your latest personalised notifications. Amidst flashy, misleading headlines claiming that statins could lower the risk of breast cancer based entirely on an association between high cholesterol levels and breast cancer from a study that didn’t even examine statins, we have long term usage of statins actually increasing breast cancer rates in women and overall cancer mortality in the elderly enough to offset the reduction in … Is Your Doctor Gaslighting You? The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. "You are at greater risk of muscle damage when you take these medications with a statin," Dr. O'Neill says. They are generics sold for cents. More than half of Europeans (54%) have high LDL cholesterol. And yet, in the Age of Information, statins have fallen victim to the Age of Misinformation. The pain was horrific. For people with high levels of LDL cholesterol, more is needed,” he said. In rare cases, people who take statins can see an increase in liver enzymes. “There is absolutely no question that the benefits of statins far outweigh any risk,” heart-attack patient Raymond Savoy now says. Did you know that your browser is out of date? For adults between the ages of 35 and 55, even if they are otherwise healthy, every decade that they live with high cholesterol increases their chances of developing heart disease by 39%8. The FDA warns on statin labels that some people have developed memory loss or confusion while taking statins. Talk to your doctor. First dispensed in 1987, they are used daily by more than 200 million people worldwide and have proven safe and effective in at least 27 large randomised, clinical trials, each involving at least 1,000 patients. Indeed, patients who take statins for heart disease and have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease actually scored better on some memory tests12. As for claims that the pharmaceutical industry is getting rich from selling statins, the vast majority of these drugs are no longer covered by patents. FACT: Published studies have shown that patients who are taking statins and at risk for cardiovascular disease, increase that risk if they stop taking the medicine. Contrarians, eager for publicity any way possible, make ever more preposterous claims against this class of medication. You may have other factors for that memory loss.” CLAIM: Those taking statins should simply stop taking them. But a small study presented at a 2011 industry meeting found that people with asthma who took statins had more symptoms and worse lung function than patients who didn't take them. In rare cases, people who take statins can see an increase in liver enzymes. Raymond 1, a 59-year-old electrician, had known for years he was at risk. Health.com may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. These plaques restrict blood flow which can damage organs or lead to a heart attack or stroke5. The best bet may be not to take statins while the infection is being treated. © Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. His doctor had prescribed a daily statin, the most effective medication available, but Raymond Savoy was not having it. “I had seen television documentaries and articles on the web saying the pills were useless, or even harmful,” Savoy later said. If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. Offers may be subject to change without notice. "Just because you have problems with one statin doesn't mean you will have problems with all of them," Dr. O'Neill adds. There is limited evidence to prove a cause-effect relationship, but talk to your doctor if you experience memory loss or confusion while taking statins. Asthma and seasonal allergy sufferers may need to have their medications adjusted to get better symptom control, he says. To get the best experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version. People on statins used to undergo periodic liver enzyme testing. Here are the ones you need to pay attention to, and how to know if you may have an anxiety disorder. FACT: Eating eggs or butter in reasonable amounts does not increase cholesterol in the blood. The lead author of the study, Doctor Katherine Samaras, a professor of medicine at the University of New South Wales, Australia said, “If you are experiencing memory problems while taking statins, don’t stop. The higher your dose, the more likely you are to experience aches and pains. FACT: “All those factors are contributors to the risk of heart disease,” said Professor Stephan Gielen, past president of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology. One alarming study of 28,000 patients found that 3 in 10 stopped taking their statins because they presumed the aches and pains they were experiencing were due to the drug. Our mission: To reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease. These widely prescribed drugs have some potentially serious side effects. An estimated 85 percent of cholesterol circulating in the body is produced by the liver, independent of what we eat, and that is where the focus should be. "I'm petrified," the actress said when she shared the news that her breast cancer came back. The Science, The Media, The Statin-Denialist Cult, and The Nocebo Effect” which concluded that there was no scientific Read More » December 10, 2019 12 Comments But lifestyle changes typically reduce cholesterol levels by only 5 to 10 percent. We're loving their inspirational, body-positive messages. Therefore, cholesterol is not a problem but a myth of the pharmaceutical industry designed to sell us drugs. The fear, intense. Statins can indeed raise blood sugars slightly. RELATED: 8 Women on the Weird Symptoms That Made Them Realize They Were Pregnant. Clean out expired products and clutter to make way for a healthier you. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. These side effects reverse once you stop taking the medication. On Alzheimer’s disease, a study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found no association between statin use and a decline in memory or thinking ability. Although the effect of statins during pregnancy is not clear, research has brought up concern of birth defects. FACT: Cholesterol per se is indeed essential for life4. How's your cholesterol these days? But LDL cholesterol in the blood produces fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaques. Doctors explain how to tell if you have a head cold or something more serious that requires medical attention, such as the flu, strep throat, meningitis, or mono. Association for Acute CardioVascular Care, European Association of Preventive Cardiology, European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging, European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions, Association of Cardiovascular Nursing & Allied Professions, Working Group on Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology, Working Group on Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology, Working Group on Pulmonary Circulation & Right Ventricular Function, Working Group on Aorta and Peripheral Vascular Diseases, Working Group on Myocardial & Pericardial Diseases, Working Group on Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Working Group on Development, Anatomy & Pathology, Working Group on Coronary Pathophysiology & Microcirculation, Working Group on Cellular Biology of the Heart, Working Group on Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, Working Group on Cardiovascular Regenerative and Reparative Medicine, ESC Guidelines Implementation Toolkit for Nurses and Allied Professionals, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31357-5/fulltext, https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/325771/WHO-MVP-EMP-IAU-2019.06-eng.pdf?ua=1, https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-status-of-statins, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800, https://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/cholesterol_text/en/, https://escardio.app.box.com/s/flr21bwfypicqnctg2sl5jsp0o5fyff8, Hyperlipidemia in Early Adulthood Increases Long-Term Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-02/l-cbc020111.php, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819990/, https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/39/27/2526/4987130, https://www.acc.org/about-acc/press-releases/2019/11/18/13/24/statins-not-associated-with-memory-or-cognition-decline-in-elderly-may-be-protective-in-some-patients, https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/37/11/908/2398344, https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/40/43/3516/5540819, Interpretation of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2812%2960367-5/fulltext, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31942-1/fulltext, https://www.ajmc.com/conferences/acc2016/statins-can-cut-heart-attacks-in-moderate-risk-patients-study-finds, https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1600176, https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/40/33/2825/5086122, https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/36/17/1012/2465952, https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/38/32/2459/3745109, Name has been changed to protect his privacy. 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