One in Four Over 45 Take Unnecessary Cholesterol-Lowering Statin Drugs

Statin DrugsMany Americans take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs -- including half of men aged to 65 to 74, and nearly 40 percent of women aged 75 and older.

In fact, a grand total of one in four Americans aged 45 and older are taking a statin. That means there are almost 32 million Americans taking a statin -- the equivalent of the entire populations of Florida and Illinois combined.

Writing in the Harvard Health Letter, Peter Wehrwein says:

"Of course, heart disease death rates have fallen for a whole host of reasons ... but lower cholesterol levels also belong on the list of positive influences ... But there are alternatives...

Pat Skerrett, editor of the Harvard Heart Letter, has written a great piece about the 11 foods that lower your cholesterol. And I wrote an article for the Health Letter a few years ago about ways to manage common problems, such as cholesterol, without taking medication."

It's in your best interest to lower the amount of prescription drugs you take. In Ohio, fatal overdoses of prescription drugs have more than quadrupled in the last decade. By 2007, they had surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death. The Obama administration has announced plans to fight prescription drug addiction nationally -- across the country, the problem is now killing more people than crack cocaine in the 1980's and heroin in the 1970's combined.

The vast majority of young people get the drugs indirectly from dealers and other users who have access to prescriptions.

According to the New York Times:

"Families are joining forces to combat the problem. Mothers whose children died from addiction have started to picket clinics that they believed were reckless with prescriptions."

New research finds that unintentional overdose deaths from prescription medications have reached epidemic proportions. In 2007, prescription opioid painkillers were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

In fact, in 20 states, the number of unintentional drug poisoning deaths exceeded both motor vehicle crashes and suicides.

Psych Central reports:

"According to the researchers, approximately 27,500 people died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2007, driven to a large extent by prescription opioid overdoses ... Opioids are synthetic versions of opium that are used to treat moderate and severe pain."

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Prescription drug use in the United States, both unnecessary prescriptions and prescription drug abuse, is an epidemic in its own right. The average American aged 19 to 64 now takes close to 12 prescription drugs every year!

The average senior typically fills over 31 prescriptions every year, and even children between the ages of 0 and 18 are taking an average of close to 4 prescriptions annually.

At the top of the list of most overused and unnecessary drugs are statin cholesterol-lowering medications, which new research shows one in four Americans aged 45 and older now take. That amounts to 32 million Americans or, as Peter Wehrwein pointed out in the Harvard Health Letter, the equivalent of the entire populations of Florida and Illinois combined.

In the report Health, United States, 2010 from the National Center for Health Statistics, it's noted that half of men ages 65 to 74 also take statins, along with nearly 40 percent of women ages 75 and older. This is simply outrageous.

Virtually NO ONE Benefits from or Needs a Statin Drug

That statin drugs have proliferated the market the way they have is a testimony to the power of marketing, corruption and corporate greed, because the odds are very high -- greater than 1,000 to 1 -- that if you're taking a statin, you don't really need it.

I strongly believe that the only group that benefits from taking statins are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes you resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.

The statin drug scam has been one of the most effective marketing strategies ever deployed in the history of medicine. You can be very certain that future generations will look back at our gullibility in falling for these scams.

Avoiding the Statin "High Cholesterol" Trap

Statin drugs are being handed out like candy to an alarmingly high percentage of the population that does not even have high cholesterol. If your physician tells you that you have "high" total cholesterol and recommends you take a statin drug to lower your level, you need to get the facts straight before making a decision.

You need to know that your total cholesterol level is just about worthless in determining your risk for heart disease, unless it is close to 330 or higher. And, perhaps more importantly, you need to be aware that cholesterol is not the CAUSE of heart disease. If you become overly concerned with trying to lower your cholesterol level to some set number, you will be completely missing the real problem.

I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who were actually at low risk for heart disease due to their elevated HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen many people with cholesterol levels under 200 who had a very high risk of heart disease, based on their low HDL.

How to Really Determine if You're at Risk of Heart Disease

Obviously heart disease is an important cause of the death in the 21st century. Of course this is a new phenomenon and primarily a reflection of our current reliance on unnatural foods and lifestyles as 100 years ago this was a very rare disease. But since we all live in the 21st century now it would be helpful to know if you are at risk for this common cause of death.

In order to gauge your heart disease risk, it is helpful to know your total cholesterol/HDL ratio. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24 percent. Below 10 percent is a significant indicator of risk for heart disease.

Your triglyceride/HDL ratio is another powerful predictor. Ideally this ratio should be below 2.

These ratios are very potent heart disease predictors that have nothing to do with directly preventing deposits of cholesterol in your arteries.. Rather they likely help to keep your blood thin and prevent blood clots that would shut off your arterial circulation. If that blood clot occurred in one or more of the arteries that supply your heart or brain you would have a heart attack or stroke (brain attack).

If you take statin drugs unnecessarily, believing your cholesterol is "high" when it really isn't, there's a good chance your cholesterol levels will become too low, which is dangerous since your body NEEDS cholesterol -- it is important in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function.

There is also strong evidence that having too little cholesterol INCREASES your risk for cancer, memory loss, Parkinson's disease, hormonal imbalances, stroke, depression, suicide, and violent behavior.

Taking Statins Shouldn't be Done Lightly

There's a good chance that you or someone you know is currently taking a statin drug, but don't let their prevalence lull you into a false sense of security.

There are over 900 studies in all that point out the risks of statin drugs.

For starters, reported side effects include:

Muscle problems Polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet) Acidosis
Anemia Sexual dysfunction Rhabdomyolysis (a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition)
Pancreas or liver dysfunction, including a potential increase in liver enzymes Cataracts Increased risk of food-borne illness

One of the major dangers of statins is that they lower your CoQ10 levels. They do this by blocking an important enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase, in cholesterol production. Unfortunately this enzyme is also responsible for producing  CoQ10. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports CoQ10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.

The loss of CoQ10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage your mitochondrial DNA, effectively setting into motion an evil circle of increasing free radicals and mitochondrial damage.

As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure, so it is imperative if you take statin drugs that you take CoQ10 or, if you are over the age of 40, the reduced version called ubiquinol.

Prescription Drugs Kill More Young People than Auto Accidents, Surpassing Heroine and Cocaine Deaths

Fatal overdoses of prescription drugs have also been rising at an alarming rate, with levels in Ohio more than quadrupling in the last decade alone. As the New York Times reported, fatal prescription drug overdoses surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in 2007, according to the Department of Health.

Further, a new report involving researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Duke University Medical Center found that in 20 states the number of unintentional drug poisoning deaths surpassed deaths from motor vehicle crashes and suicides in 2007.

Many of the overdoses (36 percent) involve prescription opioid painkillers, which were actually the cause of more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

A University of North Carolina press release noted:

"Approximately 27,500 people died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2007, driven to a large extent by prescription opioid overdoses.

Dr. Weisler [one of the study's co-authors] says that to put this in perspective, the number of 2007 U.S. unintentional drug poisoning deaths alone represents tragically about 4.6 times as many deaths as all U.S. fatalities in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from the beginning of both wars through Feb 20, 2011.

Alternatively, the 2007 U.S. unintentional drug poisoning deaths would be equivalent to losing an airplane carrying 150 passengers and crew every day for six months, which clearly would be totally unacceptable from a public health perspective."

Unfortunately, since it's all legal no one is really cracking down on this growing drug problem that is wrecking lives each day.

How could they, really?

The U.S. government has done everything in their power to aid Big Pharma's influence and profits, and you can't increase drug sales while dissuading people from taking them at the same time.

But make no mistake, prescription drug use is one of the most significant health dangers facing Americans of all ages today.

More than 700,000 people visit U.S. emergency rooms each year as a result of adverse drug reactions. And, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adverse drug reactions from drugs that are properly prescribed and properly administered cause about 106,000 deaths per year, making prescription drugs the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

Compare this to the death toll from illegal drugs -- which is about 10,000 per year -- and you begin to see the magnitude of the problem that the pharmaceutical industry is propagating.

How to Break Free of the Prescription Drug Paradigm

It's truly heart wrenching, but adults, children and teens have become indoctrinated to believe that prescription drugs are safe and the solution for just about every health malady that you might encounter in life.

Many others are taking prescription medications, like statin drugs, when they are unnecessary and assuming that it won't hurt … when in reality there are grave risks involved.

Most of you know that I rarely recommend taking prescription drugs, and in fact my mission is to help transform the existing medical paradigm from one addicted to pharmaceuticals, surgeries and other methods that only conceal or remove specific symptoms -- with morbid results to our health and economy -- to one focused on you taking control of your health.

In most cases, your health will dramatically improve when you carefully transition off your prescription drugs with expert guidance.

My site is full of free comprehensive recommendations that can serve as an excellent starting point to living healthy without drugs, including this foundational article that you should definitely read if you've been told you have high cholesterol.

Remember, You CAN Take Control of Your Health!!!