Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

These days it seems that almost everyone I talk to is taking statins (e.g. Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Mevacor, Zocor), prescription drugs designed to lower cholesterol levels.  My research revealed that 25% of American adults over 45 are taking statins.  While I don't want to argue with medical professionals (especially not being one myself) this seems extreme.  Common sense tells me that either something external is causing these high levels, so the focus should be on eliminating those causes, or that most of the levels we see are entirely natural and shouldn't be medicated.  However, either of these answers won't increase revenue for those benefiting from the cholesterol issue.

A story on Alternet reveals that, although many Americans are taking statins, these drugs were designed only for individuals who have experienced heart attacks or strokes.  And only one study has shown that statins might decrease arterial plaque, which is believed to cause heart attacks.  However, other experts say that inflammation is the culprit  and that the old prescription of aspirin works fine and so does red yeast rice, a natural supplement.  The problem is that aspirin and natural supplements don't pad the pocketbooks of Big Pharma.  

Another cause for the wide use of statins is the redefining of what is considered high cholesterol levels.  When the medical world lowered the numbers, it made 23 million people candidates for those drugs.  It's interesting to note that on the 9 member panel that made the determination, 8 of those members had ties to Big Pharma.

These drugs are not easy on the wallet.  The typical cost is $100 a month.  Compare that with the $13-$20 a month cost for red yeast rice.  Or the even lower cost of a bottle of generic aspirin (less than $15 for 1000).  Between the one study that suggested statins might be used to prevent cardiovascular disease and lowering the numbers of acceptable cholesterol levels, think of the money that Big Pharma is raking in.  (Notice the trend?)

For my readers who are taking a prophylactic dose of a statin, I recommend you do your own research to determine if it is right for you.  

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