New national guidelines in England and Wales will increase the number of adults prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs by an estimated 1.5 million.
Under the latest recommendations, computer software would be used to pick out those aged 40 to 75 years who are considered to be at high risk.
The risk assessment would take into account factors beyond high cholesterol, including age, sex, blood pressure, family history, ethnicity and whether or not they smoke.
Those found to be at risk will be invited to have their risk double-checked, then be given lifestyle advice and offered a prescription for simvastatin, a statin drug.
About 4 million people in England and Wales are already taking statins. The additional drugs will cost 35 million British pounds ($69 million) annually.Wouldn’t every drug sales rep just LOVE a selling tool like this one? A computer program designed to analyze everyone within a 35-year age bracket, then “invite” them in for a dose of cholesterol drugs, no questions asked?
And I do wholeheartedly view these latest recommendations as just that: a selling tool.
A similar thing happened here in the United States back in 2004. The U.S. government's National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL (bad) cholesterol to specific, very low, levels.
Before 2004, a 130-milligram LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy. The updated guidelines, however, recommended levels of less than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk.
Keep in mind that these outrageous and dangerous low targets often require multiple cholesterol-lowering drugs to achieve (not to mention have never been proven healthy). So the guidelines instantly increased the market for these drugs.
And did I mention that eight of the nine doctors who were on the panel that approved these absurdly low guidelines in the United States had been making money from the companies of the cholesterol-lowering drugs they were suddenly pushing?
Sure makes you wonder who was on the team that established the new guidelines in England and Wales.
The corruption underpinning so many national guidelines is nothing new, of course. It stretches far beyond cholesterol into just about every niche of conventional medicine. But in the case of cholesterol, it’s not just the guidelines that are suspicious -- it’s the whole notion that cholesterol is a villain in the first place.
It’s Time to Stop Vilifying Cholesterol
I have something to say that may sound shocking to some of you, but if you haven’t already heard this it needs to be said: Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease.
And if you become overly concerned with trying to lower your levels to some set number, you will be completely missing the real problem.
It may help to explain things this way.Cholesterol is a necessary component of every cell in your body. So if your arteries somehow become damaged, your body will get to work trying to heal the damage, and one of the ways it does this is by multiplying cells. Each one of those cells, of course, needs cholesterol, so your liver produces more and releases it into your bloodstream. It is doing this for a reason -- so that your damaged cells can be replaced with new ones.
Now, if your arteries are being damaged on a chronic basis, your cholesterol levels will remain chronically elevated. Again, this is not the problem in and of itself; this is your body’s natural and purposeful response to healing.
What IS the problem is whatever is causing the damage in the first place.
If you decide to take cholesterol-lowering drugs instead of addressing this underlying problem, you are not only stopping your body’s natural healing process, you are exposing yourself to drugs that are loaded with side effects -- not the least of which is depleting your body of Coenzyme Q10, which leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, soreness and ultimately heart failure.
So now you’re probably wondering …
What IS the Underlying Problem?
For many, it has to do with inflammation. This is your body’s natural healing process and response to invaders; for instance inflammation helps you to constrict blood vessels if you get a cut so that you don’t bleed too much.
But like with many things, too much inflammation is not a good thing. When inflammation becomes chronic, your body is in a constantly irritated state, and aside from likely having elevated cholesterol levels, you’re going to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a marker of inflammation in your body, and it’s also a very good indicator of your risk of heart disease.
So rather than worry about cholesterol, I’d get to work lowering your inflammation, which can be caused by numerous things such as:
- Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
- Eating lots of sugar and grains
- Eating foods cooked at high temperatures
- Eating trans fats
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Emotional stress
This should help to explain why my guidelines for lowering cholesterol are nearly identical to those to lower inflammation.
To Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally …
2. Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your daily diet.
3. Eat the right foods for your nutritional type.
4. Eat a good portion of your food raw.
5. Get the right amount of exercise. When you exercise you increase your circulation and the blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has the opportunity to spread.
6. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol excessively.
7. Address your emotional challenges. I particularly love the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for stress management.