Friday, August 12, 2011

Just Say No statins for elevated cholesterol. That was my decision after mind numbing research on the internet.

In the Body Maintenance, I posted that the doctor said with my family history and my cholesterol numbers, I was a candidate for stroke. That scared me enough to start taking the presribed Zocor generic. At the time, I started taking the drug, I also knew that I would stop taking the drug in just a couple of weeks. It didn't take that long.

The routine of taking the statin and stopping had been done before. Perhaps five or six times.

There is lots of discussion on the internet about statins -- pro and con. Considering the profit motive on both sides, it is difficult to determine the truth in any of this. All seem to have biases one way or another as they market books, their health supplements or just healthy living. Hopefully, I have ignored all of those.

The best overall article about the subject of statins was found in Business Week from 2008: Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good.

Some history and background about cholesterol and heart disease is contained in You  Bet Your Life by Michael Eades.

Another article questions Statin Drugs. How Safe? How Effective?

Another questioner wonders: The Cholesterol Con: Where Were The Doctors

Michael Eades has several posts on the subject of research of statins, cholesterol and heart disease. 
The best may be this one:

Several articles are at SpaceDoc. How To Determine If You Really Need a Statin is most interesting. It speaks of detail about the varieties of cholesterol floating in the bloodstream. My belief is that the researchers really don't know what affects what and which of the many identifiable particles contribute to what in the body.

There were hundreds more articles and references. Really. I didn't need anymore corroboration to stop taking the drug.

The disturbing relationship between the FDA and the drug companies has been noted in many of those previous references above. To get more people taking these drugs, the FDA has approved statin use for people who don't have cholesterol problems.

What is the real risk to me for not taking a statin. Don't really know. In all the internet searches, I came across this heart attack or stroke risk assessment at Consumers Reports. The results showed that I had a 23% chance of a heart attack or stroke in the next ten years. For someone in optimal health, their risk was 11%.

To me, that difference is not worth taking the statin.

It is a mathematical fact that fifty percent of all doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class.  ~Author Unknown


  1. In two weeks statin drugs started a decimation of my heart that was detectable. The doc told me to not even look at a statin drug label again. The thing that has helped my cholesterol the most is eating a lot of soy products and vanilla soy milk.

  2. So... what are your cholesterol numbers today? Just curious.

  3. My cholesterol numbers.... When the most recent blood tests were done, the total cholesterol was 285. The usual number in the past when not taking statins was typically 240 plus or minus ten points. All the other blood numbers are great including the HDL number which was at 70 this time and most times in the 60s.

    What changed. The diet. Recently -- about three months ago -- I had embarked on a paleo diet with mostly meats and fats. That was a new approach to my diet. In the past my diet was lots of salads with a little meat, some fish and a little cheese. Frequently a pound of cheese would mold before it was eaten.

    So I am back to my previous diet of salads with some proteins. This should get me back to the 240 number. One positive result of the three month paleo diet is that I don't want sweets -- including that sweet Starbucks Chai Latte. Just plain tea these days.

    No doubt the reader asks what will I do if the cholesterol numbers (if I have a blood test) don't return like I hope. The answer: I will live with the higher numbers -- whatever they are. Rather than take drugs (with side effects) that "may" prevent a heart attack or stroke, I would rather live with the 23% risk over the next ten years.

  4. If I had those numbers I don't think I would be taking the meds I'm on either. They are only slightly elevated from the norm. Good luck with your diet, it sounds like a good one.

  5. Thanks for doing all the research. I agree with you.

  6. Not that you asked but I vote for your decision and new-old diet.

  7. I've been on Simvastatin for more than two years with no ill effects.

    Better yet, my Medicare plan lets me buy a 90 day supply for only $4.00.

    Seems like a no brainer, but I am a Democrat after all!


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