Thursday, 10 June 2010
The Most Expensive Confidence Trick in Healthcare
Lipid lowering as it is termed often, is the manipulation of the liver's output of lipoproteins to fulfil the dubious hypothesis that reducing cholesterol in the body will safeguard you from a heart attack. It has been 'trashed' many times since its inception in the 1980's by significant scientific evidence, but the myth still prevails despite all of this. Many renowned scientists and doctors, some represented by the Cholesterol Skeptics argue that it's bunk. It is, without a shadow of doubt.
Across the many studies undertaken over quite some years, since the synthesis by Merck of red yeast rice to lovastatin, it is likely that most people taking a statin, who are in the 'high risk category' for heart disease will, live on average two months longer, in thirty years, than if they didn't (take a statin that is). If you were not at 'risk' ie: did not have a pre-existing heart problem, statistically you would not live a day longer. If you are a woman, even with a heart condition, you would benefit by living not one day longer. But your risks of death from other causes would be increased. Why one might ask?
They can cause rhabdomyolysis which can be fatal.(Quite rare)
They cause polyneuropathy, memory loss, depression, confusion, impotence, and major birth defects.
They cause muscle weakness, and pain in 20% of people taking them.
Although not proven (yet) it is alleged they cause heart failure and may increase the risk of cancer.
Chris Cresser who is the Healthy Skeptic has recorded this for your information and advice. He's not going to take any statin's that's for sure.
In this country as in most of the West, we seem to have been taken in by the weight of 'Big Pharma's' publicity machine. Worse, doctors and scientists, who really should know better, have as well. They should read the full studies when looking for evidence, not just the abstract, because said 'Big Pharma' is often guilty of tacit concealment of adverse results by burying them in a vast database of facts.
One thing is fairly certain; statin's deplete the bodies stores of CoQ10, which is an essential for healthy cells. So important in fact that there was plan by Merck to incorporate it into a statin pill in 1990, to offset this depletion. In the end they did not, as combination pills are difficult to get by even the usually 'revolving door' of the FDA (well that's my assumption). However, the very fact they bothered to design such a drug, goes some way towards giving legs to this view. That the highest levels of CoQ10 are found in muscle and other cells with high energy demands, like the heart, does beg the question that lowering the level of this ubiquitous substance (it's name is Ubiquinone because of its presence in all cells) will stop ATP production, conversion of which to ADP, is the basis of energy release at cellular level. As it is derived from the same initial steps as cholesterol, Acetyl CoA, in the bio synthesis of cholesterol, it is not rocket science to take the view that it will be lost in the reduction of the liver's capabilities of cholesterol production, by the use of statins.
I realise that the forgoing is of itself a bit technical, but I have tried to make this accessible by gist of simple language. The 'mystification' of science and medicine in particular, is not something to which I subscribe. We all have to take control of our destiny, in this life. Nothing, sadly is as it seems, especially in Health care and the NHS. We all have to make up our own minds. Hypertension is rife in our society, for men, especially over 50. And yet, it is readily cured by lifestyle changes. But, like statin therapy, the doctors could not turn a dollar (pound) if we adopted this as the strategy, to cure the problem. So, drugs were invented to ameliorate its symptoms but not to cure it. There's no money in curing, for 'Big Pharma', or for doctors, with QOF's (quality outcome frameworks) to fulfill.
There is, sadly, money in everything in the NHS and Medicine. The patient is just the pawn in an elaborate game of chess, with taxpayer gold as the prize. Politicians buy into it, because it's expedient. The public accept it, because their minds are full of short term 'proxy' fulfillment of fantasies about Football and Celebrity. It's not until something adverse impinges upon their lives, that they realise the huge sums we are spending on keeping the NHS afloat are being used for the profligate lifestyles of Consultants and Managers who profit from our ignorance.
I will explain soon how the treatment of Diabetics is one of despair, that again profits Medicine and 'Big Pharma' at the expense of patient outcomes.