Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Serious As A Heart Attack

Dr David Brownstein says that everything he was taught in medical school about cholesterol was wrong.

"Folks, what I was taught about cholesterol was 100% wrong. What I was not taught was that approximately 50% of people who suffer heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels. Furthermore, I was not taught that a higher cholesterol level was predictive of a longer life span in the elderly. Nor was I taught that lowering cholesterol levels with cholesterol-lowering medications fails well over 97% of the patients who takes them.

A recent study in Critical Care Medicine (43:1255-1264, 2015) is titled, “Lipid Paradox in Acute Myocardial Infarction- The Association with 30-Day In-Hospital Mortality.” This study followed 724 hospitalized patients who suffered an acute heart attack (i.e., myocardial infarction). The scientists attempted to clarify the relationship between the lipid profiles and the 30-day mortality in patients who suffered a heart attack.

The authors found that those with lower LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels had a significantly elevated mortality risk when compared to patients with higher LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In fact, lower LDL-cholesterol less than 110 mmg/dl and triglyceride less than 62.5 mmg/dl were identified as optimal threshold values for predicting 30-day mortality. The lower LDL-cholesterol level was associated with a 65% increased mortality and the lower triglyceride level was associated with a 405% increased mortality. Furthermore, as compared to patients with LDL-cholesterol levels >110mg/dl and triglycerides >62.5 mg/dl, those with lowered LDL and triglyceride levels had a 990% (or 10.9x) increased risk for mortality.

Why would lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels be associated with a higher mortality rate? Fats from triglycerides are a major energy source and LDL-cholesterol is critical for cell membrane synthesis and is needed to fight infections. Adequate LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels may be critical for cell function and survival in the case of a heart attack—as well as in other conditions.
Folks, we have been hoodwinked to believe that we must all take cholesterol-lowering medications in order to prevent and/or treat heart disease. People do not get heart disease because their cholesterol level is elevated. Remember, 50% of patients who suffer a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels."

Dr Brownstein is not the first doctor to say these things. I have come to believe that there are a lot of medical myths surrounding the whole heart attack / cholesterol link that just are not true. It is a mythology pushed by the pharmaceutical companies that make statin drugs which is a multi billion dollar business here in the US.

Information like this from Dr Brownstein crushes the mythology. There are also links between statin drug use and memory loss as well as muscle pain and cramps that cease immediately when the statins are discontinued. 

My thought is that if your doctor recommends a statin, do some research first. Do not allow yourself to become a statistic in a study that never sees the light of day. At the end of the day, much of what the pharmaceutical industries do is designed to make money. If you are cured of whatever it is, the gravy train stops. They have no interest in you getting better. They do have an interest in selling you pills that will require more pills to fix the side effects of the pills you are taking. Don't become a statistic.

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