Total Pageviews

Sunday, 16 September 2018

‘No evidence’ high cholesterol causes heart disease, say doctors

Millions of people taking statins ‘despite unproven benefits and serious side effects’

There is no evidence that high levels of total cholesterol or of “bad” cholesterol cause heart disease, according to a new paper by 17 international physicians based on a review of patient data of almost 1.3 million people.

The authors also say their review shows the use of statins – cholesterol lowering drugs – is “of doubtful benefit” when used as primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The authors include Galway-based Prof Sherif Sultan, professor of the International Society for Vascular Surgery; Scottish-based Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con; and Dr David M Diamond, a US-based neuroscientist and cardiovascular disease researcher.

Prof Sultan said millions of people all over the world, including many with no history of heart disease, are taking statins “despite unproven benefits and serious side effects”.

He was also concerned that inhibitors to further lower LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), referred to as “bad” cholesterol, are being promoted. The cost of that medication is about €20,000 annually, he said.

“We suggest that clinicians should abandon the use of statins and PCSK-9 inhibitors, and instead identify and target the actual causes of cardiovascular disease.”

The paper disputes recommendations in a number of reviews of statin use and claims those are “based on misleading statistics, exclusion of unsuccessful trials and ignoring numerous contradictory observations”.

Bad cholesterol?
The paper is published online this week in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology journal.

Prof Sultan said it involved a comprehensive review of patient-level data of 1,291,317 individuals across existing trials with a view to answering a number of questions including whether LDL-C causes cardiovascular disease.

The paper says high “bad” cholesterol levels appear to be unrelated to the risk of disease, both in individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia (a genetic disorder characterised by high LDL-C levels) and in the general population, he said.

The authors say their review of the data from existing trials showed the benefit from the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs is “questionable”.

They found no association between high total cholesterol and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and noted four studies had confirmed lack of an association between LDL-C and atherosclerosis.

They found patients with acute myocardial infarction had lower than normal “bad” cholesterol and that healthy individuals with low “bad” cholesterol have a “significantly increased” risk of infectious diseases and cancer.

The “strongest finding” was that elderly people with high LDL-C live the longest, Prof Sultan said.

Disappearing claims
On the issue of whether cholesterol-lowering treatment lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, the paper said claims of benefit from statin trials have “virtually disappeared” since new regulations introduced in 2005 by health authorities in Europe and the US specified that all trial data had to be made public.

The authors examined whether the risk of disease fell following the use of statins and concluded statin use in 12 European countries between 2000 and 2012 was not associated with reduced mortality.

The hypothesis that high total cholesterol or LDL-C causes atherosclerosis and disease “has been shown to be false”, they said.

They conclude that high “bad” cholesterol is beneficial in terms of overall lifespan.

They also conclude statin treatment has many serious side effects and claim that these have been “minimised” by certain trials.



carol l mckenna said...

Excellent post with info on statins ~ I always refused statins as I think the medical world is all to quick to give out meds as though a 'quick fix' ~ Glad to see this report ~

Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post Graham, a good and interesting read.

Linda said...

I reluctantly took statins for several months, read up on them, and quit taking them. Three doctors said my LDL was lower than theirs. So, the one doctor who is worried about it is not going to persuade me to take statins again.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Interesting! It seems medical science is always learning and discovering new causes for illnesses. My philosophy is to try to eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise and try to stay positive and busy. I think a lot of health issues are caused by stress and genetics.

Pam said...

Seems to be a normal thing...told for yrs that things cause this and that and yrs down the road what you thought was given cause that is what you were always told turns out to be all wrong. Like when my second child came along 6.5 Yrs after the first I learned that everything I did for her had totally changed for him....apparently I raised her all wrong!!! Haha

Debbie said...

great information...the cholesterol/statin debate, it is never ending!!!

riitta k said...

I have had years high cholesterol, also the bad one. The last time it had lowered considerably - and I am happy about it. Many times I have been prescribed statins but am so afraid of them - and have not taken the pills. Now no need <3

Kay said...

No kidding? They put my husband on very HIGH statins (maximum) dose because they thought he might have cardiac problems later. Then another doctor dropped it. It was like a yoyo.

Valerie-Jael said...

Good post. We all need to know these facts. Hugs, Valerie

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Has our 'fake weatherman' made a showing in your parts?

There are more medicine dances to sell a product than there are diseases. I'm not feeling so guilty for not getting excited by those over-200 numbers on my blood tests.

Lois said...

It's hard to know what to do with so many conflicting reports!

William Kendall said...

They say one thing, and then five years later are saying the opposite.

Sami said...

I hope all Doctors are informed about these findings, as they are still handing out statin prescriptions...
Great article.

Sue said...

Wow, Neil has been taking statins for years, thanks for this post! xx

only slightly confused said...

Is it just me or is there simply too much confusion about what is and isn't good to eat, what to worry about, what is seems to change every day.

Anonymous said...

I almost never comment on blogs but want you to know how informative and helpful your posts are to me. I am 72 and have just recently started feeling the effects of not taking very good care of my health in the past. My blood pressure is slightly high and I have Type 2 diabetes. I believe it's never too late to improve ones self so I am exercising (which I have always hated), eating better than I ever have, losing weight and trying to avoid stress as much as possible in order to avoid taking medication. I don't feel old and people tell me I look 10 years younger than my age so I want to be as healthy as possible as I age. By the way, my husband is joining me in this journey to be the best we can be. Keep the good recipes and information coming!

baili said...

what a blessing to read your blog my friend!
though i am not heart patient still i feel in this age chances are high to be one

not familiar with people who use such medicines but glad that you saved my day

Miss Val's Creations said...

Very interesting. I am still going to pay attention to cholesterol. Luckily I do not have a problem, but my mom's is high so mine could be some day too.

Magic Love Crow said...

This is so interesting! Thank you! Going to share with my mom! Big Hugs!