I can’t believe there’s a study that has finally confirmed what I’ve saying for years…
There are too many statin prescriptions written!
It only took 16 years for the so-called “experts” to come to this conclusion, but better late than never.
In 1999, researchers launched the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) to evaluate more that 6,000 people aged 45-84 who were pre-disposed to heart disease. And ultimately what they found was that doing a coronary artery calcium (CAC) screening was the best way to identify the risk level.
And, as the researchers discovered from their analysis of the MESA study, it’s also a far better way to determine who should really be on statins, as opposed to the current practice, which relies on EKGs, stress tests — and then doling out the statins by the barrel full.
This is exactly how I treat my patients.
In fact, I’ve been using the CAC test in my practice for years.
If the results show a patient is at high risk for heart disease or their cholesterol is super high, I do use more aggressive treatments. Depending on the circumstances, I don’t necessarily rule out statins altogether. But I consider them a last resort.
Usually, there are much safer, simpler ways to rein in cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors. Even simple lifestyle changes, like cutting sugar and exercising regularly are often enough.
And as this new study shows, the CAC allows doctors to follow this less-aggressive approach more often.
So let’s get back to the study and look at what the researchers found.
Looking at the 2013 guidelines published by the Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA), which dramatically expanded the risk threshold for prescribing statins, about 2,400 of the MESA participants qualified for moderate or high-intensity statin therapy right off the bat.
Another 570 patients were at risk for cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years. And based on the new guidelines, even merely being “at risk” qualifies you for statins.
So when you add both groups together, most of the study participants (about 75%) were candidates for statin drugs.
But instead of following the status quo and doling about the statins, the researchers went a step further and did CAC tests. And what they found was pretty remarkable.
Of the people who were advised to take statins, more than 40% had a CAC score of zero. And 57% those who were on the fence had a score of zero too! Which means they had no evidence of plaque in their arteries.
When the researchers looked at the statistics even further, they discovered that one out of every two patients had a CAC score of zero. Which put their actual risk of cardiovascular disease at about 4%. Which means they had little-to-no “need” for statin drugs.
I don’t know about you, but if my risk of a disease was that low, I certainly wouldn’t want to take a medication for it. Even if it were a completely safe medication. And statins are anything BUT safe.
In fact, statins can cause lifelong complications. Things like muscle pains, brain fog, weight gain, diabetes, and cataracts.
But wait, I’m not done. A new review shows that statins may have negative effects on the heart and blood vessels.
Isn’t protecting your heart and blood vessels the whole point of taking statins in the first place? If they do the exact opposite, there’s really no point in anyone taking them — EVER.
At the very least, statin therapy is a calculated risk. One that you should be absolutely certain you need to take before jumping in feet first.
That’s why I do CAC tests in my patients. And I recommend asking your doctor to order one for you, too. By having the CAC test, you can make a more informed decision about whether you want to take a medication or not. (But regardless of what you choose, eating well and following a healthy lifestyle won’t hurt either.)
For more ways to lower your heart risk, check out my report The World’s Easiest Heart Disease Cure.