Today is the 12th and final day in my Christmas giveaway contest this year I called The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity. It’s been so awesome sharing copies of my hardback 2013 book Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers with 12 random winners sharing their questions and stories in this contest. While we’ve reached the end of the official giveaways of the hardback copies of my book in this specific contest, I’m not finished with the freebies just yet. I’ll be giving away another 12 copies of the e-book version of Cholesterol Clarity to the best, most memorable and thought-provoking entries on New Year’s Eve. If you haven’t already shared your own personal cholesterol story, low-carb success, or burning question yet, then you can do that by e-mailing me your name, city and state to email@example.com (only one entry per household please) with the subject line “12 DAYS OF CHOLESTEROL CLARITY.” I’ll take a look at all the entries and personally select a dozen to share on my blog–and gift with an e-book copy of Cholesterol Clarity. GOOD LUCK! My final hardback book winner today in Day 12 today is Darlene P. from Delhi, New York! Her concern about the heavy promotion of statin drugs for people with “high cholesterol” is one that I think more and more people are becoming increasingly aware of:
My dad was just put back on statins again and I am very concerned because he hasn’t been on them since he had a traumatic brain injury accident in early 2012. My dad has had open heart surgeries in the past because of blockages in both of his carotid arteries. I would like to win this book for my mom so she can have the right information to talk to dad’s doctor about. By the way, his total cholesterol was 280.
My husband was also put on a statin by his doctor, but he started feeling the negative side effects while taking it despite the fact his total cholesterol got down to 120. Because of this, he asked the physician assistant if he could get off of them. Her scary response: “Once you starting taking a statin, you’ll never get off of them!” Ever since then, my husband stopped taking them and he feels so much better now. It’s been over a year since he came off his statin medication and we’re continuing to learn all we can about the subject of cholesterol and cardiovascular health. Although it’s only been a few months since we started listening to your podcasts and changed the way we eat, we both already feel so much better than we have in years! Thank you for the work you do.
— Darlene P. from Delhi, NY
Darlene, you have hit on a subject I’ve been wanting to address for a while because it’s one that tens of millions of people around the world are having to grapple with right now. They go to their doctor, are told they have this dastardly-sounding disease of “hypercholesterolemia” which is nothing more than a fancy-schmancy term meaning “high cholesterol,” and the fear of God is struck in them that they take a medication or they will have a heart attack or stroke and die. A total cholesterol level over 200 triggers in the minds of most conventionally-trained medical professionals that you suddenly have a statin drug deficiency and that you need to cut all the fat and cholesterol out of your diet to get healthy.
Riddle me this, Batman: Why don’t any of these doctors ever ask themselves the all-too-obvious question–WHY ARE THE CHOLESTEROL LEVELS ELEVATED? In Chapter 14 of Cholesterol Clarity, we address nine reasons why cholesterol levels can go up and for the life of me I’ve seen heard any nurse, physician assistant, doctor–NOBODY–investigate this further. Instead, they prefer in their get ‘em in, get ‘em out patient model that the easy way out is to simply prescribe a risky medication that artificially lowers cholesterol levels…but to what end? Let me be extremely clear: elevated cholesterol is not a disease. Oxidative stress and inflammation are the REAL enemies here.
This ongoing debate over the use of statin medications to treat “high cholesterol” and heart disease has reached a fevered pitch in recent months. There’s been quite the kerfuffle down in Australia after ABC-TV’s “Catalyst” exposed the myths about cholesterol and statins and the aftermath of that brave two-part series has been incredible to watch unfold. After a survey by a group of GP’s conducted after the show aired found that 40% of patients immediately stopped taking their statin and another 20% talked to their doctor about coming off of them, the Heart Foundation (Australia’s version of the American Heart Association) had a conniption fit! Their director described the results of this survey as “frightening” and claimed that thousands upon thousands of Australians would start suffering heart attacks and strokes in the coming years unless people immediately got back on their statin (read Dr. John Briffa’s brilliant retort to those making these claims). The reporter who conducted the story Maryanne Demasi responded to these claims that people will die as a result of her story. It’s amazing to watch these statin defenders doubling down on their message rather than admitting the reality that lowering cholesterol levels with statin drugs does nothing to prevent heart disease from happening (because elevated cholesterol levels are not the cause of heart disease).
While I was away on a week-long hiatus from the Internet early last month, a HUGE health story hit that literally hundreds of people e-mailed me or posted on my Twitter page and Facebook wall. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association issued a joint statement on the treatment of cholesterol levels claiming it is grounded in science. The people they say who need to be on a statin drug include patients with heart disease, with an LDL level of 190 mg/dL or higher, with Type 2 diabetes between the ages of 40 and 75, and (the most obscure one!) with an estimated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease of 7.5 percent or higher between 40-75 years of age. The problem with these recommendations is it puts TWICE as many people on statins than are taking them today. Currently, 600,000 people die from heart disease annually. Here’s a statistic that the groups calling for more statin medications don’t want to get out–the number of those people who died who had cholesterol levels below that magical number of 190 mg/dL! If they believe in their hypothesis, then let’s see the evidence that it’s “high cholesterol” that caused it. THEY HAVE NONE!
Thankfully, there are people in the medical community who are outraged by all of this, including Dr. Barbara Roberts who described these actions in this Huffington Post column as “an egregious example of much that is wrong with medicine today.” INDEED! In the midst of writing this blog post, I received the following e-mail from a spunky 80-year old diabetic woman who has dramatically improved the relevant numbers on her cholesterol panel because of low-carb living–and yet her doctor is screaming statins:
I just returned from an “urgent” visit with my PCP who freaked out over my latest cholesterol numbers: total cholesterol of 278, 154 of that is the LDL. I was clicking my heels in excitement because my HDL was the highest it has ever been at 98 and my triglycerides are at their lowest level ever–132!!! I have been on a self-imposed low-carb diet for a couple of years now thanks to you, Dr. Peter Attia, Tom Naughton and many, many others. I used to have triglycerides hovering around 400 on my old high-carb vegetarian diet. Yikes!
My PCP is convinced that I will have a cardiac event because I refuse to take her advice to go on a statin. I had taken one for many years until the light bulb went off over my head that I didn’t really need it. My doctor gave me a prescription for Zetia which will remain unfilled.
Anyway, a sincere thanks to you and all of the other great low-carb leaders who are out there helping us. There are more of us who refuse to listen to “the anointed ones,” as Tom calls them. I am coming a little late to the party being a diabetic 80-year old incarcerated in an assisted living “home” where I am now unable to eat most of the carb-y offerings, but mostly subsist on stuff I get from Trader Joe’s, including a favorite of yours, Kerrygold butter. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I LOVE THIS! How so incredibly cool and brave to push through the fearmongering that runs rampant about cholesterol, heart disease and statins and make the best decision for YOU. It’s an example for all of us. Darlene, let this encourage you in your current situation with your dad and husband. And CONGRATULATIONS again to you for being my winner in Day 12 of The 12 Days Of Cholesterol Clarity. Don’t forget that we have 12 copies of the e-book version of my book on December 31, 2013, so get me your entries by e-mailing me your name, city and state to firstname.lastname@example.org (only one entry per household please) with the subject line “12 DAYS OF CHOLESTEROL CLARITY.” I’ll take a look at all the entries and personally select a dozen to share on my blog–and gift with an e-book copy of Cholesterol Clarity.