Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Have A Dark Side

John Gray

Many people believe that managing cholesterol is key to preventing heart disease. That is not necessarily so.

About half of heart attack patients turn out to have perfectly normal cholesterol. When Harvard researchers analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study, they found that about 82% of heart attacks and other "coronary events" were linked to smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, a lack of exercise and poor diet - not high cholesterol.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is one of the 5 major groups of lipoproteins that enable the transport of fat through your bloodstream. LDL is often called "bad cholesterol" because studies have shown that higher levels of type-B LDL particles (as opposed to type-A LDL particles) are associated with health problems, including cardiovascular disease.

Unfortunately, the standard cholesterol test doesn't make the distinction between good and bad cholesterol. You can have sky-high LDL with a low risk for heart disease. Conversely, even if your LDL is low, your risk for heart disease could be high.

Over 11 million people take Statin drugs which include Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, and Mevacor. These drugs are advertised as some of the most promising drugs today and for the future. However, they do have a dark side to them, one of which is not being explained to patients.

These statin medications can help some patients with high LDL if your LDL is type-B. But you probably don't need a statin, or any other cholesterol-lowering drug, if you have type-A LDL. Overall, however, statins don't do much for preventing a heart attack in patients who don't have existing heart disease. So if you're generally healthy and your only "symptom" is high cholesterol, you probably don't need a statin or any other cholesterol-lowering drug. 

New research shows that the "epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs." Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of selenium-containing enzymes. One of the most critical selenium enzymes is glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase is an essential enzyme for the control of free radical damage.
When glutathione peroxidase is inhibited, free radical damage, aging, and degenerative disease is accelerated.

But that is not all selenium does. One of the signs of an interruption in selenium-activated protein synthesis is congestive heart failure. Is the increased use of statin drugs one of the reasons that we are seeing an increasing number of cases of heart failure these days?

Some users of these cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, like Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Mevacor and Zocor, have voiced concerns that the drugs elicit unexpected cognitive side effects, such as memory loss, fuzzy thinking and learning difficulties. Hundreds of people have registered complaints with MedWatch, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s adverse drug reaction database. A recent study published in Pharmacotherapy found that 75% of patients who took statins reported memory loss or other cognitive problems. The same study found that 90% of patients who stopped their medication had rapid mental improvements.

25% of the body's cholesterol is found in the brain. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that provides structure to the body’s cell membranes. High levels of cholesterol in the blood create a risk for heart disease, because the molecules that transport cholesterol can damage arteries and cause blockages. However, cholesterol plays a crucial role in the brain and the formation of neuronal connections to help memory and learning, quick thinking and rapid reaction.

Sadly, many physicians feel these drugs do more good than harm, so they are intentionally not telling patients about these side effects or are downplaying them. Doctors often will not spend the time to have patients try a preventative health program first; it is much easier to prescribe a drug instead. Take charge of your healthcare today and learn more about cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, like Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Mevacor and Zocor.

If you are taking a statin drug just because your cholesterol levels are high and you have no history of heart disease, explore this subject more deeply with your doctor.

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  • John Gray
     2/2/2013 4:54:17 PM
    Most doctors are taught that Lipitor is the answer, they are not exposed to the truth regarding the side-effects, this is why we need to primarily depend on ourselves and appreciate doctors who are trained for emergency medicine
  • timeworthybooks
     1/25/2013 6:43:07 PM
    Everything has pros and cons. Surely, the doctors won't recommend a drug if they know that it will do more harm than good. I just hope that the drugs in future generation will improve and have lesser side effects.

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