"After the shudder": The medical community reacts to new warnings attached to statins

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 by: Paula Rothstein
Tags: statin drugs, warnings, diabetes

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(NaturalNews) Amidst back-peddling and protestations of "minuscule risk" by many in the medical community, the Food and Drug Administration announced its decision to add diabetes and memory loss to the list of side effects to some of the most widely prescribed statins. The recent news has sent the drug companies and the medical community into a full scale PR campaign to repair the damage caused by this new warning.

Many doctors will not be deterred from prescribing statins notwithstanding these new warnings. For example, in an interview with ABC News, Dr. Richard Honaker, a physician with the Family Medicine Associates of Texas in Carrollton, Texas, defended the drugs, stating, "This news will make the care of my patients more difficult and less effective... Some patients are always reading up on their medications on the Internet, and it seems they only read the negative and not the positive." Dr. Honaker's disdain for discriminating patients was echoed throughout the news media by far too many who profit from pill-pushing.

However, not everyone in the medical community is dismissing these new risks as insignificant. In an op-ed piece published in the New York Times, Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Clinic stated, "We're overdosing on cholesterol-lowering statins, and the consequence could be a sharp increase in type-2 diabetes."

Statins were used for nearly 20 years before the evidence of these new risks emerged in 2010 during an analysis of a sampling of studies covering 91,000 patients. Moreover, there is reason to believe the risk of developing diabetes from the use of statins is far greater than anyone thus far has been willing to admit. The available data only cover patients who have been using a statin for less than 5 years, which rarely is the case.

Health is more complicated than a number

Statin drugs appear to be effective because they do, in fact, help to lower cholesterol levels. They do this by blocking the enzyme in your liver that is responsible for producing cholesterol. However, we know that cholesterol levels are a delicate balance of HDL and LDL. Of course, one's cholesterol level is only one of several important indicators of heart health. Merely lowering cholesterol levels is a change that in and of itself may offer little real protection against future health risks.

It is also worth noting that statins deplete the body's level of coenzyme Q10, an essential enzyme that ironically protects the body from heart disease. Thus, the burden placed on other systems of the body when trying to force cholesterol in one direction can lead to any number of detrimental health issues, as well as immediate risks.

One healthy alternative? Or should we just follow orders?

Fear of disease as opposed to fear of the risks associated with consuming pharmaceuticals is the catalyst that drives profit for drug companies. The medical establishment would have you believe these drug warnings are mere "nuances" and "tweaks" rather than information which should lead to serious concern on the part of the patient and potentially result in a change in behavior.

If everyone were to wake up tomorrow and begin a daily exercise program, consume a diet based on whole - versus processed - foods, and take steps to limit stress, the use of statin drugs might largely become unnecessary. Or you can continue to follow the medical establishment's injunction that you "just shut up and take your medicine."

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About the author:
Paula Rothstein is a freelance writer and certified holistic health coach active in the area of natural health and health freedom advocacy. As a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she has gained insight into the political nature of food, the failings of a drug-dependent healthcare system, and the uniqueness of individual health. For more information, please visit: http://www.twincitieshealthcoaching.com.

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