Statins For Everybody In Order To Lower Cholesterol – However, Far Better Results Would Be Reached By Eliminating Cholesterol From Your Diet This is stupid America for you. We spend enormous sums of money on cures; but we do not even mention prevention. Cardiovascular diseases are the product of unhealthy life styles that can be changed

By Paolo von Schirach

November 13, 2013

WASHINGTON – There are plenty of stories about the new recommendations to prescribe cholesterol lowering statins to a much larger number of Americans, so that more at risk people will be able to reduce the likelihood of severe cardiovascular complications that often lead to death. On the face of it, it seems sensible. Many Americans have elevated LDL, or “bad cholesterol” levels. Statins are a proven remedy. Therefore give them to more people.

Medications but no dietary changes

Yes, except for the fact that high levels of LDL cholesterol are mostly the effect of a bad diet based on cholesterol rich food found in animal fat, dairy products and shell fish. (Imagine a typical dinner of steak, baked potatoes topped with sour cream, rolls with lots of butter, ending with ice cream). Indeed, the leading news media that reported on the new guidelines focusing on prescribing statins say absolutely nothing about the simple fact that millions of people could bring down their bad cholesterol levels through dietary changes (more vegetables, fruits and legumes, less meat and chicken) and increased physical exercise. Yes, that about covers it. Significant (and permanent) dietary changes would normalize cholesterol levels for most people. And yet, no word on this simple fact.

This is truly amazing. Cardiovascular disease can have in some cases a genetic component. There are indeed some people who are predisposed to have abnormally high cholesterol level, whatever they do. And these people should be treated. But for the vast majority of Americans high cholesterol levels are the effect of an unhealthy life style. This can and should be corrected through life style changes.

Change your diet

This should be the number one guideline offered by medical practitioners: change your diet and you will have a far better chance to stay healthy. But no, not one word about embracing “wellness”. If you want to lower your bad cholesterol, you should take statins. How is it possible, in America, supposedly a modern, sophisticated country where knowledge is available, to have this gigantic omission? 

Are you telling me that cardiologists do not know that the primary source of bad cholesterol is in cholesterol rich food? Or is it that there is some kind of silent agreement with the pharmaceutical companies that can now look forward to increased statin sales?

 The value of prevention

More broadly, as a society, are we so dumb that we cannot put two and two together? We complain about the explosion of our medical care costs –the highest in the developed world. And yet we know that much of this cost is due to the need to treat chronic illnesses (and they would include cardiovascular diseases) caused by an unhealthy life style.

Logic, common sense and a desire to save money would suggest that the cost-effective approach to keep Americans healthy at a reasonable cost should be to address many health issues at their source –life style– as opposed to dealing only with the consequences of bad habits: taking cholesterol lowering medications.

Are we that dumb?

It is absolutely incredible that in America, the only Western country that spends fabulous amounts of money on health care, we have yet to fully understand, teach and embrace the most elementary notion that sensible prevention improves quality of life, extends life and saves money.  

Again, are we really that dumb?


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