Tag Archives: cholesterol

Women and statins: evidence-based medicine or wishful thinking?

14 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Are you:

A.  a healthy woman who’s never had any issues with your heart, but . . .

B you know heart disease is the #1 killer of women, so . . .

C.  you’re wondering what you can do to help prevent B from happening to you?

Warding off a first heart attack is what physicians call “primary prevention”. It’s also what respected cardiologists representing both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology are now telling us can be effectively accomplished by taking one of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.

But it turns out that many other equally-respected cardiologists don’t believe that taking a powerful drug every day for the rest of your natural life for a disease you don’t even have is appropriate for primary prevention – particularly in womenContinue reading

Women, controversial statin guidelines, and common sense

1 Dec

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

101109expIf you’re a heart patient, I’m betting that you’re already taking one of the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. That’s because these drugs – with brand names like Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor or any of their generic forms – are routinely prescribed to those diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. Many studies (largely funded by the drug companies that make statins) suggest that, for heart attack survivors, these drugs may help to significantly lower our risk of having another cardiac event. It’s what doctors call “secondary prevention”.

Some studies further suggest that statins are also useful for those who’ve never had heart disease, but who do have high LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol – what’s called “primary prevention”. But recently, statins hit the front page of The New York Times with a big fat *splat* when new clinical practice guidelines for treating/preventing heart disease were released by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology (both heart organizations that are coincidentally largely funded by drug companies, too). The guidelines essentially said: from now on, forget about your LDL numbers. It’s all about your risk factors now. 

The likely result of this change, as I observed here and here, is the recommendation that, as long as you have a detectable pulse, you need to take statins. 

Continue reading

Study: statin drugs overprescribed for healthy adults

30 Mar

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

A study from Johns Hopkins Hospital may be very bad news for drug companies that make statin drugs for cholesterol management.(1)  Statins, of course, are considered the darlings of Big Pharma. I’ve heard cardiologists joke (at least, I think they were joking) that statins are so fabulous at lowering our LDL (bad) cholesterol that we should be putting the drugs into our drinking water.

Virtually all heart attack survivors are now routinely prescribed statins (whether they have high cholesterol or not) and there’s a major marketing push for docs to prescribe statins as cardiovascular preventive therapy for virtually all adults, particularly to reduce blood levels of the inflammatory byproducts called C-reactive protein. But the Johns Hopkins study lead investigator Dr. Michael Blaha has this important new warning:   Continue reading

Eggs: good or bad for your heart?

24 Feb

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

“I cannot lay an egg, but I am a good judge of omelettes.”

George Bernard Shaw

Eggs were once vilified for their high cholesterol content and were thought to be a major contributor to heart disease.

According to Harvard University’s Harvard Heart Letter, however, it is not the cholesterol in eggs or other food that’s a major culprit. It’s saturated and trans fats (which our bodies may convert to artery-clogging cholesterol). Here’s how Harvard cardiologists unscramble the dietary facts and myths about the egg.

Fact: Eggs are a good source of nutrients. One egg contains six grams of protein and some healthful unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against vision loss.

Myth: Eating eggs is bad for your heart. The only large study to look at the impact on heart disease of eating up to six eggs per week (reported in the April 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) found no connection between the two. In people with diabetes, though, egg-a-day eaters were slightly more likely to have developed heart disease than diabetics who rarely ate eggs.  (Ed. note: Quelle surprise . . . this study was done on men only). UPDATE January 2015: A new study (Katz et al) on egg consumption in heart patients also found no significant link between eating eggs and heart disease; Quelle surprise . . . study was funded by the American Egg Board (a minor improvement: this study included six women!) Continue reading

Do women need to worry about cholesterol?

10 Nov

cholesterolby Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

Physician Dr. Rob Lamberts does a creative job of clearing up some confusing questions about cholesterol in his always enlightening “Musings of a Distractible Mind” and related House Call Doctor podcast at Quick & Dirty Tips.

He starts off by reminding us that the current protocols for treating high cholesterol date back to before he was practicing medicine.

“Some smart scientists had noticed that people with high cholesterol had a higher risk of heart attack. More scientists got together and decided that, based on the evidence, keeping a low cholesterol number was a good idea. To celebrate their decision, they went out to a dinner of bacon cheeseburgers and donuts.”     Continue reading