Does Lower Cholesterol Prevent Heart Disease?

Does Lower Cholesterol Prevent Heart Disease?

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As it turns out, when all of the research from the past 20 years is thoroughly reviewed, we find that lower cholesterol only reduces risk for heart disease in men who have had a previous heart attack!

There is no good evidence supporting the use of statins (Lipitor, Crestor, etc) in any other patients.
A recent analysis pertaining to statin use for prevention of heart disease has (again) shown that they offer very little benefit to those with no history of heart disease.

For a number of years now, experts have been trying to bring to light the disparity between doctor’s practice guidelines that instruct the prescribing of statins and the actual evidence for using these drugs.
Unfortunately, not enough people in the medical community have fully accepted these findings. At Vive Integrative Health Group, we spend a good deal of time talking about cholesterol and it’s role in health and disease.
The Role of Cholesterol Lowering Statins:
Until now, most research into cholesterol has included mostly participants with a high risk of heart disease or previous cardiac events (heart attacks, chest pain, etc.), but has not specifically looked at whether treatment of high cholesterol in low risk patients with no history of heart disease is beneficial in preventing anything at all.
Fortunately a new high quality review from the Cochrane Collaboration (an independent research organization that reviews medical literature to provide bias-free evidence) has been published looking specifically at prevention in low risk patients, without a history of heart disease, but with high cholesterol.
The outcome?
When looking at the benefit to these patients specifically, previous reports have exaggerated the benefit, and there is little reason to be taking a cholesterol lowering statin drug.
The Truth in Heart Disease Prevention
Heart disease remains a leading cause of death worldwide, and real progress in preventing heart disease is found through healthy lifestyle choices.
A balanced diet, regular physical activity, and keeping ones stress under control are a good start in keeping the heart healthy.
Other prevention strategies have focused on big time risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high salt intake, and obesity, each of which needs to be addressed on an individual basis.

Further reading:
Overdosed America – by John Abramson, MD
CBC article
Cochrane Databases Article – Statins for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Vive Health is a forward thinking Calgary Naturopathic medical clinic with services and programs that fill one simple goal – to help you get better and stay better! We hope this site will help you discover how we are different and how we can help you find and keep your best health. We invite you to browse our website to learn more about how we can help you, and look forward to meeting you to introduce you to a new kind of health care experience.
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