Doctors turning against the cholesterol hypothesis

Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are not the most accurate way of assessing the risk of heart attack and stroke, doctors believe.

Instead, measuring calcium build-up in the arteries [emphasis added] gives a better indicator of the likelihood of heart problems, they say.

In comparison, the traditional ways of assessing who should be prescribed preventative drugs such as statins are inaccurate.

…People with little or no calcium deposits in the arteries detected on CT scans are unlikely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, a study found. But doctors may have prescribed statins based on other factors. The study suggests up to a third of patients were taking them unnecessarily.

Calcium build-up in the arteries marks the calcification of plaque, which results in hardening that can lead to heart attacks.

The latest study, published in the European Heart journal, adds to mounting evidence about the value of calcium scans in predicting heart attack risk.

The technology is little used in the NHS, where there is limited availability of expensive scans, but widely used in private clinics.

Instead patients mostly have their risk calculated on family history, medical factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and lifestyle habits.

So, how to keep your arteries from clogging up like the heating element in your washing machine when a descaler isn’t being used? You guessed it, read my book.

[Source: Daily Mail]

Merry Xmas & Happy New Year!

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Statins inappropriate in kidney disease

“There is very little benefit to statin drugs for patients in the early stages of kidney disease, and no benefit or possible toxicity for patients in later stages,” said Ali Olyaei, a professor of pharmacotherapy in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University, and lead author on the new report.

…The impetus to use statin drugs – some of the most widely prescribed medications in the world to lower cholesterol – is obvious in end-stage kidney disease, because those patients have a mortality rate from coronary heart disease 15 times that of the general population. Unfortunately, evidence shows the drugs do not help prevent mortality in that situation. There is also no proven efficacy of the value of statins in patients using dialysis, researchers said.

[Source: News Medical]

Statins and diabetes risk

CBC News Canada reports: Labels on all cholesterol-lowering statins will be updated to warn of a small increased risk of diabetes

“Health Canada concluded that the risk of diabetes appears to be mainly in patients with pre-existing risk factors for diabetes, such as high levels of glucose or triglycerides, obesity or high blood pressure,”

One of the statins to be labelled is: Atorvastatin (Lipitor and generics). This is the best-selling statin, indeed medication, of all-time.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a similar warning last February.”

My belief is that you should consider taking vitamin D as opposed to statins. Read my book.

Statins for cancer?

The Daily Mail (at least they report this stuff) reports: They are commonly used to tackle high-cholesterol and protect against heart disease – but scientists in the U.S. claim that statins could also prove to be a secret weapon in the fight against cancer.

“The study claims Slimvastatin [sic], which is among the most commonly prescribed statins, was found to be effective when combined with the cancer drug flavopiridol.”

Simvastatin (aka Lipitor) is the best-selling statin of all time because it is undoubtedly better than much of the competition. However, early classes of statins all increased death rates, so Lipitor and its peer products clearly do something different. Read my book.

Simvastatin & MS

Today’s news is relayed courtesy of Shine On Scotland:

“High-dose simvastatin (Zocor) significantly reduced brain atrophy and slowed advancement of disability for 2 years in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, researchers said here…

On the other hand, differences between the treatment groups in specific functional outcomes, such as walking ability and hand dexterity, did not reach statistical significance…

Because statin drugs have a range of anti-inflammatory effects, apart from their cholesterol-lowering activity, they have attracted attention as a possible therapy for MS.”

The overlap between the benefits of statins and vitamin D is abundantly clear as detailed in my book. However, statins do not appear to do a highly effective job.

Cholesterol denialism

Today’s shot of common sense comes from Prof. Tom Noakes via Independent Online (Zimbabwe)

“It is time to admit that the [lipid hypothesis] has failed. We need to adopt an open mind if we are ever to discover the real cause [or causes] of the current global epidemic of obesity, diabetes and coronary heart disease, all of which are likely caused by the same factors.”

Noakes, I’m in full agreement with you.

Here’s other selections from the article.

In 1900 when most Americans cooked in lard and ate a diet full of butter and dairy produce, pork and saturated fat in meat (but low in sugar and processed foods), heart disease was so rare that their most famous cardiologist, Dr Paul Dudley White, encountered his first case only in the 1920s (although the disease has since been described in grain-eating Egyptian mummies). Today in a nation that has replaced animal fats and dairy with “healthy” carbohydrates, heart disease, like obesity and diabetes, is rampant.

The first shock to [the lipid hypothesis] came in a meta-analysis in 2000 when Mike Pignone et al showed that although statin tablets reduced heart attacks they did not cut overall mortality. So you might not die of a heart attack, but you wouldn’t live any longer.

The second shock was when Jeppeson et al showed in 2001 that half of all heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol.

In my book I point out that there’s absolutely no correlation between cholesterol and heart and disease.

The answer came initially from a study by Paul Ridker in 1998 showing that men with inflammation in their arteries were at much higher risk of heart attacks than other men.

Yes! Yes, bullseye!

But if inflammation was causing heart attacks, why were statin tablets that lowered cholesterol so useful?

I know why…

Cholesterol denialism, yes please! The various cardiologists are trying to compare Aids with cholesterol which is likely to confuse the public further. Cholesterol is an important chemical made by the body which performs various important roles such as a precursor to oestrogen and testosterone. We don’t need Aids but certainly need cholesterol.

If ‘various cardiologists’ are trying to compared AIDS with cholesterol, well, B.S. with B.S. is perhaps fair enough.

Shut up and take your statins

Yahoo! News reported yesterday that Vitamin D supplements ‘do not lower cholesterol in short term’. I cite them because they were one of the few sources to acknowledge via their headline that vitamin D should not be ignored in regards to heart disease. I have documented my own cholesterol and vitamin D investigation in my book.

Let’s look at the juicy bit of this news piece though, shall we?

The study participants were given either 50,000 international units of vitamin D3 or a placebo weekly for eight weeks. Participants’ cholesterol levels were measured before and after treatment.

Buzzer ring!: While 50,000 IU D3 per week is a great dose. 8 weeks does seem too short a time frame to measure. I would ideally suggest 6 months to a year. It took me a few years to optimise my cholesterol level with dose adjustments.