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Statin Use Has Jumped 150 Percent

statins, statin drugs, cholesterol, cholesterol drugs, Lipitor; pravastatin, Pravachol, Bristol Myers Squibb, fluvastatin, Novartis, LescolUse of the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins rose by 156 percent between 2000 and 2005, rising from 15.8 million people to 29.7 million people. Spending on the drugs jumped from $7.7 billion to $19.7 billion annually over the same period.

The total number of outpatient prescriptions for statins rose from about 90 million in 2000 to nearly 174 million in 2005. Each individual spent $484 a year on average on statins in 2000; this rose to $661 by 2005.

Statins include atorvastatin, sold by Pfizer under the brand name Lipitor; pravastatin or Pravachol, sold by Bristol Myers Squibb; fluvastatin, sold by Novartis under the brand name Lescol, and several others.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Here’s yet another example of how corrupted government “health guidelines” and pharmaceutical industry profits go hand in hand. As some of you may remember, in 2004 the U.S. government's National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to reduce their LDL (bad) cholesterol to very, 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.

In order to achieve these outrageous and dangerously low targets you generally have to take not just one, but multiple cholesterol-lowering drugs in combination. The new guidelines instantly increased the market for these drugs.

So it did not come as a surprise to find out that eight of the nine doctors on the panel that approved these absurdly low guidelines in the United States were in fact making money from the cholesterol-lowering drugs they were pushing.

The Dangerous Side Effects of Statin Drugs

Aside from the fact that statin drugs are some of the most unnecessary and dangerous drugs out there -- due to the fact that their use is based on a misinformed notion that cholesterol is the nemesis of good health in the first place -- they’re fraught with potentially dangerous side effects.

Now, unlike their predecessors, statin drugs oftentimes do not have any immediate side effects, and they are quite effective, capable of lowering cholesterol levels by 50 points or more.

But there’s an ever-growing body of evidence showing that potentially serious side effects begin to manifest several months after the commencement of therapy.

For starters, some of the possible consequences of taking statins in strong doses or for a lengthy period of time include:

  • Depression of mental acuity
  • Anemia
  • Acidosis
  • Frequent fevers
  • Cataracts

The most common side effect is muscle pain and weakness, a condition called rhabdomyolysis, most likely due to the depletion of Co-Q10, a nutrient that supports muscle function.

There are no official warnings in the U.S. regarding CoQ10 depletion, and many physicians fail to inform you about this problem as well. Labeling in Canada, however, clearly warns of CoQ10 depletion and even notes that this nutrient deficiency “could lead to impaired cardiac function in patients with borderline congestive heart failure.”

The breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue can in turn also lead to kidney failure.

The industry insists that only 2-3 percent of patients get muscle aches and cramps but according to one study, 98 percent of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevacor (a lower-dose statin) suffered from muscle problems!

Adding insult to injury, active people are actually more likely to develop problems from statin use than those who are sedentary. In a study carried out in Austria, only six out of 22 athletes with familial hypercholesterolemia were able to endure statin treatment. The others discontinued treatment because of muscle pain.

Why Statins are Unnecessary

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.

How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

There’s really no reason to take statins and suffer the consequences from these ill-conceived drugs. These simple guidelines have the power to lower your cholesterol naturally, without any dangerous side effects:

1. Make sure you’re getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega3-fats. I prefer those from krill oil.

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.

+ Sources and References