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When I first heard from the doctor that my cholesterol was a little high, he offered me Lipitor.  I wasn’t convinced that my diet and exercise couldn’t fix this issue.  I have been a healthy eater for years and exercise has always played a major role in my life.

Now that I’ve had a heart attack I need to reassess this decision.  But the information is confusing, contradictory and the impacts of yes or no are huge.  I’ve read so many books on heart disease and how the newest information is pointing to inflammation causing heart attacks more than cholesterol.  That actually fits with much of the other information about the negative impact of inflammation on our bodies–arthritis and other autoimmune disorders are often as a result of this inflammation.  Yesterday I saw a documentary about a young guy who was treating his autoimmune system alone to fight cancer.  And it worked.

Primarily my issue with heart drugs is not only are the new and their long term effects on the body aren’t fully vetted, but testing on women has been minimal.  Instead, the public becomes a guinea pig for the drug companies to use the data–good and bad.  Typically the bad is REALLY bad for some of us.  There’s a significant chance of developing diabetes–for me that is frightening based on family genetics.  It’s a risk I don’t want to take.  And mind fog, fatigue, muscle weakness are the side effects I don’t have tolerance for in my life.

An article in LA Times from 2003,

A UC San Diego researcher is tracking complaints of memory loss, mood changes and nerve and muscle pain.

At the same time, they may inadvertently disrupt other functions in the body, said Golomb, who describes herself as a “relatively lone voice” urging caution. Studies so far haven’t demonstrated a survival benefit for women, lower-risk men and men and women older than 70, she said, raising important questions about risks versus benefits in those groups. For example, she said, impaired memory and thought are more likely to have a profound effect on seniors’ independence, while muscle weakness from the medications could make them more vulnerable to the perils of falling.

Nine years later there are still questions. From a more recent article. June 13th, 2012

“Statins are powerful and effective drugs, with some benefits beyond the obvious lipid-lowering effect,” says David Katz, MD. But they are not miracle drugs — and like all drugs, are less effective and less safe for health promotion in general than the power of lifestyle.”

It’s hard work,” says Dr. Katz, “but those who use lifestyle effectively to modify their risk factors are likely to be better off avoiding these drugs.”

– See more at: http://blog.sharecare.com/2012/06/13/the-downsides-of-statins/#sthash.aOYsppM3.dpuf

Take home message from a 4/2013 article called New study on the downside of statin therapy

This study illustrates the point that all medications have both risks and benefits. Thus, one should consider the risks versus benefits and discuss them with a healthcare provider. Additional information on the pros and cons is available in a recently-published book: “The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will” by Nutritionist Jonny Bowden, PhD and cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD. The book notes that the only individuals that may benefit from statins are middle-aged men that have suffered a heart attack. In addition, statins do not reduce the risk of death for men of any age who have not suffered a heart attack, women, or children. It explains that statins increase the risk of diabetes, cancererectile dysfunction, mental confusion, and memory loss.