Cholesterol and statin drugs. It used to be that we simply believed everything our doctor told us. We wouldn’t dare question his or her diagnosis or a prescribed “medication” to counter said diagnosis.
But, the tide is turning. People are becoming more educated about their health and they are starting to see that pharmaceuticals are not always the best answer, and in some (if not most) cases, they actually cause more harm than good.
Such is the situation with statin drugs. These medications have been touted for years by big drug companies as the answer to all of our “bad” cholesterol problems. Has your doctor have prescribed you to take statin drugs before?
In fact, between 2011 and 2012 alone almost 30 percent (27.9 percent) of all adults over 40 were using a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication. (1)
The Cholesterol Myth
We have been told for decades that there are two types of cholesterol (lipoproteins): “good” or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and “bad” or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). (3)
Together, these two types of cholesterol make up the total amount of cholesterol in our blood and essentially, the higher our LDL (bad) cholesterol is, the higher our risk is of heart disease (atherosclerosis).
In reality, research actually shows there is no relationship at all between blood cholesterol levels and the degree of atherosclerosis in your blood vessels.
Some scientists even suggest that if the “good and bad” cholesterol theory were actually correct, people with high LDL cholesterol would all be more atherosclerotic than those with low HDL cholesterol, but the truth is…they aren’t. (6,7,8,9)
In fact, one recent and very large review published in the BMJ Open journal involving close to 70,000 people further concludes there is no link between “bad” cholesterol and the premature deaths of people over 60 from cardiovascular disease. (10)
The authors of the study go so far as to state, “…older people with high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels, the so-called “bad” cholesterol, lived longer and had less heart disease.” (11)
So why do doctors continue to paint LDL cholesterol as the ultimate villain? The answer is actually quite simple—Big Pharma.
A $100 Billion Industry
Statin drugs — including such medications as atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), and others—are the most widely prescribed drugs of all time. (12)