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Nevadan

Worried About Cholesterol?

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This is OT, but since most folks here are into being healthy, and I found this book so interesting, I thought I would point it out anyway. The book is "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Anthony Colpo. It basically reviews most of the studies that have been done on cholesterol and heart disease and rather convincingly exposes the fact that a lot of us have been conned. After summarizing study after study and paper after paper, his arguments are pretty convincing. He proposes no "silver bullets" or magic diets, but does offer general guidance.

His main conclusion supported by lots of references is that heart disease is not caused by cholesterol or saturated fats (I never thought I'd see the day that I would consider saturated fats as good food, but this book certainly has me reconsidering that). Moreover, statin drugs do not have nearly the great scientific backing that we are led to believe. For instance, when one looks at the various studies quoted to support the sale and use of statins, there are indeed cases in which various heart diseases have been reduced; however, if one also looks at overall mortality from all causes there is often no improvement - in many cases the statins do a good job shortening lives due to non-cardiac events.

He devotes quite a bit of the book to discussing various studies that can explain what does cause heart disease. These include stress, being overweight, eating a poor diet (lots of info here), lack of exercise, etc.

The book isn't particularly cheap (~$25) and it's a pretty long read, but I found it to be one of the best books on heart disease, and other diseases such as cancer, that I have read.

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For instance, when one looks at the various studies quoted to support the sale and use of statins, there are indeed cases in which various heart diseases have been reduced; however, if one also looks at overall mortality from all causes there is often no improvement

Hmm, guess I'm not surprised to hear that statins don't cure death.

I'd be interested to see the sources from which this book quotes. Everything I've seen shows that statins reduced the risk of a major cardiac event in persons at high risk. Atorvastatin has been shown to reduce the risk up to 25%, which is huge for a drug.

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I'm a true sceptic when it comes to medical claims, but as a career scientist in a non-medical field I have a lot of experience with decyphering scientific studies and papers. I was particularly impressed with the quality of this book after checking into some of the many references quoted. You are right that statins have been shown to help some high risk people, but there are a lot of other people for whom there appear to be no scientific evidence that statins help them (e.g. women in general, healthy men over about 55, and more). And there are several studies in which the mortality rate increased significantly within the subgroups taking statins. You would have to read the book and draw your own conclusions.

I did find that the author has a website at http://www.thegreatcholesterolcon.com/ where you can purchase an online access to the book for $9.95.

Also another book I've subsequently been reading is "The Cholesterol Myths" by Uffe Ravnskov. This book also discusses fats, cholesterol, statins, etc and generally comes to similiar conclusions as in the first book. This second book in not nearly as comprehensive in discussing other causes for heart disease. This author also has a website where you can view a pretty detailed summary of the material in the book. For this website scroll down the home page and click on the paragraph numbers to access the details. http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm

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Hmm, guess I'm not surprised to hear that statins don't cure death.

I'd be interested to see the sources from which this book quotes. Everything I've seen shows that statins reduced the risk of a major cardiac event in persons at high risk. Atorvastatin has been shown to reduce the risk up to 25%, which is huge for a drug.

The key to statins is understanding how many people would have died if they hadn't been placed on statins. I don't recall the number any longer, but you have to put a whole lot of people on statin therapy to prevent one cardiac related death. And if death from all other mortalities goes up, are they actually a good thing? Maybe Dan has the figures at hand since he just read a book about it.

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The key to statins is understanding how many people would have died if they hadn't been placed on statins. I don't recall the number any longer, but you have to put a whole lot of people on statin therapy to prevent one cardiac related death. And if death from all other mortalities goes up, are they actually a good thing? Maybe Dan has the figures at hand since he just read a book about it.

There is some discussion of this on Uffe Ravnskov's website (he wrote "The Cholesterol Myth"). Take a look at http://www.ravnskov.nu/myth6.htm Be sure to scoll down about halfway to the section titled "Costs". You can click on the reference numbers which will take you to the references section where you can click again and often be taken directly to the article or at least a PubMed abstract.

Another fact I picked up from these books is that one of the recognized side effects of statins is a reduction in your body's generation of COQ10, an enzyme used in every body cell, and one whose lack has been implicated in congestive heart failure. It turns out that most of the cholesterol studies have not counted congestive heart failure in their results. According to the National Center for Health Statistics there has been a significant increase in the incidence of congestive heart failure since the early 90's, a few years after the widespread introduction of statins. At this point this is nothing more than an association - no cause and effect has been proven, in fact it has hardly been studied. It's stuff like this that may explain why the mortality rates including all causes have not shown much improvement with the use of statins and in some cases have decreased.

By the way, I am not personally advocating that anyone stop taking their statins, I'm just recommending that each person should do their own homework and these books I've mentioned seem to be worth including in that homework. Clearly the use of statins is a much more complicated and controversial issue than I've ever read or heard from either a doctor or the drug adverts.

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I'm sort of anti-drug in general and it seems to me that except for people that have a genetic predisposition to abnormally high cholesterol, no one should need to take these. I suspect that most people could control their cholesterol levels with diet and exercise.

If you choose not to do these things, and prefer to take a drug, is it the statin that's causing problems? Or your own unwillingness to take care of your own health?

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