Should you be on a cholesterol-lowering medication, a so called statin? This is much debated and this will likely be a controversial post.
Some claim that nobody should take such drugs, that they cause lots of side effects and no benefits, as heart disease “has nothing to do with cholesterol”.
Others claim that most people (even healthy people) should take statins daily to prevent heart disease, as they are “effective and almost free of side effects.” Many doctors prescribe statins to all their patients with a cholesterol level above some arbitrary number. For example a total cholesterol above 200 mg/dl (5 mmol/l), which most people have.
Pros and Cons
The truth is of course somewhere between these extreme alternatives. Statins have been showed to reduce the risk of heart disease, especially in people who already suffer from heart disease. However, they also carry a significant risk of side effects, such as an increased risk of diabetes, muscle aches, weakness, increased fatigue and actually a slightly lowered IQ, etc.
So who could benefit from this medication? Should you be on it? New guidelines – a step in the right direction – have been issued from the Swedish Medical Products Agency.
Here’s a sensible guest post on the subject by Dr. Anders Tengblad:
New guidelines on preventative treatment with drugs have been issued from the Swedish Medical Products Agency. The guidelines are also included in the new diabetes guidelines. If you’re 100% opposed to taking medication to prevent disease, you will of course not like these guidelines. Personally, I think the guidelines are good. Focus is moved from target levels to treating the total risk. Continue Reading →