So, American's cholesterol levels finally fit the neat little government parameters. Americans now have normal cholesterol compared with 1950 when the average 222. Cholesterol is down, but other health problems are up. I'll get to that in a minute.
First, there is no causation associated with cholesterol levels and any disease. None. I know, this is shocking with the obsession-compulsion you hear from doctors, the media and now prominent bloggers. But there's no scientific evidence that high cholesterol is bad.
Second, your body makes the biggest proportion of cholesterol. Diet provides a small percent of the body's need. In fact, when we don't injest enough cholesterol, our body bumps up production. Why? Because cholesterol is very important. Brain function, hormone production and a myriad of physiological processes rely on cholesterol. (A good article here.)
What about statins and cholesterol lowering drugs? Don't they cut heart disease? Um, no. They might help if you don't have heart disease, but if you do, they do nothing. So what's the point of taking them? Most people put on statins take them because they're diagnosed with heart disease.
And then, there are the side effects. Statins and cholesterol lowering medications are not the benign medical marvel they're made out to be. Certainly they work, but if you avoid one potential problem only to face another life-threatening or life-altering one, they might not seem so miraculous. So here's a few things that statins can do:
- Muscle wasting, myopathy
- Memory loss
- Reduced lung capacity, shortness of breath
- Liver disease (best link)
- Lowered sex drive
The solution, of course, is more medication and surgery. Anti-depressants, drugs for erectile dysfunction, and hysterectomies for the female problems sure to surface. It is my belief that statins will be the next big medical hoax following HRT and arthritis drugs.
Be wary of magic pills. Good health comes from good diet, exercise, and happiness. Oh, and good genes don't hurt, either.