“We’ve been undertreating people who need statin therapy in this country.”
Yes, that’s an actual, real statement from one of the “experts” behind the new guidelines recently released by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Guidelines that could double the already staggering number of people currently taking statins in the United States.
It’s outrageous, to say the least. But I can’t say that I didn’t see this day coming.
According to these new guidelines, statin therapy is now recommended for the following groups:
- People without heart disease who are 40 to 75 years old and have a 7.5 percent or higher risk for heart attack or stroke within 10 years.
- People with a history of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event.
- People 21 and older who have a very high level of LDL cholesterol.
- People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who are 40 to 75 years old.
As you can see, the same problems with the old guidelines remain. For one, we’ll still be handing out statin prescriptions to people without heart disease. Including young, healthy people with no other risk factors aside from high cholesterol. And older diabetics with no other risk factors at all.
So what has changed? The risk threshold for prescribing statins. And it’s changed dramatically, too.
Previous prescribing guidelines required a 20 percent higher 10-year risk of heart attack or stroke in patients without heart disease. Which, frankly, was ridiculous enough.
Now, that risk threshold has been cut in half–a seemingly minor detail that could make a third of all healthy Americans candidates for statin treatment overnight.
What’s worse, reports show that the new calculator designed to identify potential statin users could be over-predicting patients’ heart risk by as much as 150 percent. And yet, the AHA actually wants us to believe that we’ve been undertreating Americans with these killer drugs?!
I beg to differ. Statins are already among the most overprescribed drugs in the country. To suggest that more people need to be taking them is utterly absurd. And flat out dangerous, at that.
Let’s make something very clear: Previous research has shown that statin drugs can raise a patient’s risk of diabetes by close to 50 percent.
I’m sorry, but I fail to see how this constitutes an acceptable risk-benefit ratio. Even when you don’t account for the multitude of other common statin-related complications, like muscle pain and memory loss.
And especially when you consider that lifestyle changes–like my New Hamptons Health Miracle and regular exercise–are by far your most powerful weapons against heart disease. (To say nothing of safe nutritional supplements, like fish oil and Pycngenol.)
Fact is, there is absolutely no compelling reason to put any patient on a statin drug. Ever. Aside from lowering cholesterol, of course–something that these drugs do quite effectively.
The problem is, high cholesterol isn’t even the most accurate predictor of heart disease. In fact, low cholesterol levels are just as dangerous–if not more so. (A topic I’ll be delving into in the upcoming December issue of my newsletter Logical Health Alternatives. You can, and definitely should, subscribe here.)
So I have to ask: Has it really come to this?
Is the medical establishment really that pressed for time, that invested in Big Pharma, that they can’t be bothered to talk with their patients about the life-saving benefits of simple diet and exercise?
Whatever happened to “first, do no harm”?
I shudder to think of the collateral damage that will accompany these deadly new guidelines. So I can only warn you to ignore them at all costs… and shake my head in disgust.
Park, Alice. “Cholesterol whiplash: What to make of the new heart-risk calculator.” Time.18 Nov 2013.
Park, Alice. “New guidelines for cholesterol treatment represent ‘huge change.'” Time. 12 Nov 2013.