Monday, November 18, 2013


Johann Wagener 11-18-13

How can someone reduce their bad cholesterol levels today?

Well, if you just stop at the recent news reports put out by folks funded by Big Pharma, the "only" way to treat the problem and those that are pre-disposed to, are statins.

Now that there's a plethora of generics available at a reasonable price, all you need to do is "ask your doctor" for a prescription and go to you local drugstore to pick them up.

The fundamental shift: Doctors are now being told to no longer adhere to rigid clinical guidelines that trigger the use of a statin when cholesterol levels reach a certain threshold.

Instead, people will be advised to take a statin if they already have heart disease, if their bad (LDL) cholesterol is extremely high (190 milligrams per deciliter of blood or more) or if they're middle-aged with type 2 diabetes.

People between 40 and 75 years of age with an estimated 10-year risk of heart disease of 7.5 percent or more will also be advised to take a statin. Experts say this new rule could greatly alter the number of patients who will now be advised to take such a drug.

In crafting the new guidelines, experts from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology spent four years examining the data on heart disease care. The new criteria for who should take a statin also now factors in a person's risk for stroke -- something experts believe may also boost the number of people deemed eligible for the drugs.

I'm assuming this includes a significant number of our population; especially in the 40 to 75 age group.

I then find these recommendations from our Medical community: the experts in the field.  

The revised cholesterol policy "suggests treatment should be individualized and that, depending on your risk, you may need a higher dose of a more potent statin than if your risk is lower," Dr. Hector Medina, a cardiologist at Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas, told HealthDay.

Statins, which include Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor, remain the most effective drugs for reducing cholesterol and should be combined with lifestyle changes for the best results, according to the new report. This approach is better than trying to get cholesterol as low as possible by combining statins with other drugs, the report's authors said.
The committee also said matching patients with the appropriate level of statin therapy is more important than achieving any specific target number, as was common in the past.

For young adults, preventing high cholesterol in the first place can go a long way toward avoiding heart attacks and strokes, the committee added.

I found it also curious that "young adults" were added to the mix which I assume pretty rounds off to include our whole population. 

What seemed even more interesting to me is that young people were being told that the best way to manage cholesterol were to take statins "'prior" to any disease popping up. You know, the "one ounce of prevention" line. 

I also noticed that the "committee of experts" omitted to say anything, other than to mention "lifestyle changes" about something that's been around a lot longer than statins; oatmeal! 

After having been on a dose of daily "lovastatin" for almost 20 years which I have to admit did keep my cholesterol levels in check  I picked up a tip from a heath nut friend of mine who suggested I eat a bowl of oatmeal everyday. 

So, I gave it a try; bought a box of a brand I recognized; The Quaker on the box, and built it in to my breakfast routine while dropping the eggs and bacon that I had been so fondly looking forward to every morning for going on 50 years.  Oh. I also dropped the lovastin. 

At my next yearly checkup (at 72 you need those) I discovered that my cholesterol levels had significantly changed for the better.  I was surprised. My doctor was surprised, but of fear that I would embarass her, I did not mention the oatmeal. Just thought to keep that to myself; lest I be branded a Christian Scientist or something worse.

Idid, however, do a little more reading on the topic and came up with this;

Diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol. Here are five foods that can lower your cholesterol and protect your heart.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Can a bowl of oatmeal help lower your cholesterol? How about a handful of walnuts or even a baked potato topped with some heart-healthy margarine? A few simple tweaks to your diet — like these, along with exercise and other heart-healthy habits — may be helpful in lowering your cholesterol.

Another group of experts (The Mayo Clinic) with another set of suggestions and opinions. 

So, being the idiot that I am, I ask; 

Why was this information not included in the recent announcement on lowering cholesterol levels?

I'd like to have an expert explain it to me.