By Dr. Mercola
At your next doctor’s check-up, your visit will likely include a discussion of your risk of heart disease, your cholesterol levels, and whether or not you would benefit from taking a statin cholesterol-lowering drug.
In the US, guidelines issued in 2013 state that if you answer “yes” to ANY of the following four questions, your treatment protocol will call for a statin drug:
Do you have heart disease?
Do you have diabetes? (either type 1 or type 2)
Is your LDL cholesterol above 190?
Is your 10-year risk of a heart attack greater than 7.5 percent?
Your 10-year heart attack risk involves the use of a cardiovascular risk calculator, which researchers have warned may overestimate your risk by anywhere from 75 to 150 percent — effectively turning even very healthy people at low risk for heart problems into candidates for statins.
The guideline also does away with the previous recommendation to use the lowest drug dose possible and instead basically focuses ALL the attention on statin-only treatment and at higher dosages. With guidelines like these, it’s no wonder one in four Americans over the age of 40 currently take a statin drug – but are these drugs really beneficial?
Flawed Studies Call into Question Statins’ Effectiveness, Safety
Originally, statin drugs were prescribed for secondary prevention, meaning the prevention of a second heart attack or stroke if you’d already suffered one and had clear signs of heart disease.
But today a majority of people taking the drugs are doing so for primary prevention, i.e. “preventive medicine” – to help prevent people with certain risk factors of heart disease – although otherwise healthy – from having a heart attack or stroke in the first place.
This switch came largely as the result of flawed studies that hyped statins’ effectiveness
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