About Those Statins

Posted On Thursday, 05 December 2013
About Those Statins
I have a radio show that airs every Wednesday at noon Pacific Time on RadioMD.com called "Mindful Medicine". It is simply another format for me to hopefully "knock 'em alive" with empowering information that can help people be their own PCPs "primary care providers" and have their homes be their own HMOs "Health Maintenance Organization" Get it?

I am fortunate to have a fascinating and amazing regular contributor, Dr. Jacob Tietlbaum MD, join me every week to talk about easy, effective, natural ways to help people take back control and manage their health. Jacob and I were talking very passionately about the newest recommendations, handed down from a government agency, which suggested (based on a faulty calculation) that many more people would be candidates for taking statin medications.

We both were fairly incensed about this notion, knowing that statin medications come with serious risks and side effects and research has shown that there are many common lifestyle choices that are far more likely to be associated with a lower risk of heart attack and heart attack death than taking statins medications. Some of these include eating chocolate, participating in regular exercise, getting adequate nutrition and having cats. YES, having cats.

Check this out: Cats More Effective Than Cholesterol Meds for Preventing Heart Disease Deaths

First, an example of how money drives medical decision making. Taking cholesterol medications decreased heart attacks by 29% and in those without angina or a previous heart attack, taking statin medications (e.g., Mevacor, etc.) did not significantly prevent death from heart disease at all.1 Taking a baby aspirin daily was even more effective than expensive statin medications.

On the other hand, the news is much better for cat owners. A research study found that having a cat can reduce stress in people's lives, and consequently lowers the risk of having a heart attack or stroke or developing a heart disease. The findings are based on a 10-year study, carried out by the researchers at the Stroke Research Center at the University of Minnesota.

The study, which looked at 4,435 Americans, aged 30 to 75, showed that those who did not have a cat had a 40 percent higher risk of having a heart attack and a 30 percent greater risk of dying from other heart diseases than those who have or have had a cat. The study was presented at the American Stroke Association meeting in New Orleans.

Unfortunately, in this study owning a dog did not have the same heart protective benefits. Several studies have confirmed that owning a pet reduces stress, decreases blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduces risk of depression. This makes cats (and other natural alternatives) much safer, cheaper, and more fun than cholesterol lowering medications!

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