Sunday, July 24, 2011

Body Maintenance

Maintenance is a good idea with all possessions. That includes this 70 year old body that I occupy. Body maintenance was one reason for an extended stay in Denver. Went to the dentist. No repairs or replacements required. Just a cleaning. Had the eyes checked. No change since the last visit five years ago. Still need +150 reading glasses. That's all.

Things were looking good. (Pun intended.)

Then I went to the doctor for a physical. Doctor was happy to see this healthy 70 year old body. Prodding, poking and hammering he declared the physical structure in great shape. Then he turned his attention to the results of the blood tests. Once again the doc was happy to see the numbers for the blood tests right where they should be. Except. Except. He was not happy with that high cholesterol reading -- 285. Although the good stuff was at 70, the bad stuff was just too high. Usually without taking the statin drugs, the number is typically around 230. So even for me, this was high. Could it just be part of aging.

However, the doctor (same doctor for over 20 years) did frighten me when he said that with those high cholesterol numbers, I was a candidate for a stroke. Don't know. But that comment sure scared me. Really scared me. Heart attack. No big deal. Either you're dead or there is major recovery or surgery to fix the problem. But a stroke would be disabling while continuing to live. It would change life. Seriously change life.

Considering that the doc has been recommending that I take statins for over ten years, I am still reluctant to take any medications to introduce poisons into my body -- or to add profit to the bottom line of Big Pharma. Once again I will do research to find supporting evidence for me to stop taking statins. Regardless of the material published for or against, it seems the authors always have some agenda. They are either selling for Big Pharma or they are pushing (selling) their herbal and diet plans to achieve the reduction of the high cholesterol.

Unbiased material is hard to find. The interesting thing is that all the pro articles always use the qualifier "may" when describing what statins could do to address the individual's health. Then there are studies and reports that statins are the miracle drug to address many health issues from preventing heart attack to preventing Alzheimers and lots of other diagnosis between. If the individual has a health issue, the miracle drug to take is a statin. Really it is nothing more than marketing the drug. More prescriptions and that means more income for the pharmaceutical industry.

The reading and research that I have done in the past indicates that they really don't know how the drug affects anything. There is no way to run double blind tests for the drug. Somebody has got to die -- or live -- in order for the tests to mean anything.

So I was given a prescription (Zocor generic) once again. The prescription was filled and I started to take -- that one drug.  I know that the drug will drop the total number to something in the range of about 175. That will make the doc happy. But will it make me happy.

Had to check. Does my 60 year old doctor take a statin. Yes he does, but he pointed out that he doesn't have my family history. Nor are his cholesterol numbers as high.

If I spend too much time puzzling and fretting over this issue, I will get high blood pressure and then I will have a new problem. Yikes.


  1. A statin drug nearly gave me a heart attack about six years ago. Three weeks into the start of it and a followup test due to my pain complaints showed it was causing heart muscle deteriation. It was stopped immediately. I was told I was the 1 in 10 million person.

  2. Lloyd,
    You might want to check out the articles Dr. Mercola has on statin drugs at

    Here's one of them:

    The Next Statin Scam: Preventing Strokes
    Posted By Dr. Mercola | August 24 2006 | 4,320 views

    A new study supports the use of cholesterol-lowering statin medications to help prevent the recurrence of a stroke. The drugs seemed to help even those with no prior history of heart disease. The study was funded by Pfizer, the drug company that makes Lipitor.

    Reduced Risk

    Researchers looked at more than 4,700 people, none with a history of coronary disease, who had suffered from strokes or transient ischemic attacks, a ministroke caused by the temporary blockage of a brain artery. Patients who took Lipitor after a stroke had their risk of a second stroke reduced by 16 percent over five years.

    Same Death Rate

    However, there was no difference in the overall death rate between those who took statins following their stroke and those who did not. There was also a slight increase in stroke risk among patients who took statins following a rarer kind of stroke caused by a leaking blood vessel.

    New England Journal of Medicine August 10, 2006; 355(6): 549-559
    Yahoo News August 9, 2006

    Dr. Mercola's Comments:

    Pfizer will earn over $13 billion this year from Lipitor and it makes perfect sense for them to fund a study that would broaden the indications for their blockbuster drug. After all, they surely could use a few more billion dollars.

    They have been having some recent PR problems with Lipitor and there have been a few lawsuits they have had to battle.

    However, it is really questionable whether Lipitor really does decrease the risk of strokes. You need to read between the lines of this one to uncover what the study really says, which is not quite what Pfizer claims it says.

    For one thing, although the risk of a second stroke was reduced for the study participants, there was no difference in mortality rates. In other words, while you might not die of a stroke, you'll still have the exact same chance of dying as you would if you never took the drug. Some benefit.

    Considering studies funded by drug companies, more often than not, highly favor the drug being tested, it should come as no surprise Pfizer found a silver lining in this study to keep the attention off future legal battles that could detract from the reputation of its prized cash cow, on track to make $13 billion in 2006.

    When you read a study, remember to pay careful attention to who funded it. It's been shown that drugs are given positive reviews in 80 percent of studies funded by the company that makes the drug -- as opposed to 50 percent of studies not funded by industry and 30 percent of studies conducted by competitors of the drug's maker.

    I was just at a health seminar in Colorado with about 100 physicians and I was amazed at how many were clueless that the way to normalize cholesterol is with diet. Radically reducing sugars and grains, yes even whole grains, will reduce insulin levels, which drive the liver to produce cholesterol.

    Additionally, taking high-quality omega-3 fats like krill oil will not reduce your cholesterol level, but it can radically reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Meanwhile, taking a drug like Lipitor can harm your immune system and cause many other dangerous side effects.

  3. Ron and I both put a scoop of oat bran on our cereal and I also do a scoop of ground flax seed. Like you, I always had slightly high total, but high good stuff, so the doctors always let me go. Something has lowered mine to a better number and I credit the oat bran and flax seed. Don't know if it's true, but they can't hurt. Good luck!

  4. I take 1,000 mg of Niacin to help reduce my cholesterol. After trying several drugs, this was what worked best for me. The prescribed fish oil tabs made me ill. My triglyceride level was dangerously high at 650 and the Niacin has gotten it down to the 200 range.


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