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Statins - miracle or menace?

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Statins - miracle or menace?

Old 23rd Sep 2012, 17:37
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Statins-miracle or menace?

I don't claim to have the answer. Just a bit of evidence.
When my GP suggested statins because of my family history of heart problems, I said I'd think about it. I too had a fear of the secondary effects, which are much publicised, and thought that as a slim-ish, fit and active non-smoker who looks after his diet, my risk was not that great, despite being over 70.
Now, having had two very minor TIAs I have accepted, and have taken 75 mg aspirin and 20 mg Simvastatin per day for a mere 5 weeks.
The result is that my cholesterol level has reduced from 5.1 to 3.7 and BP from 130/80 to 125/75 with, so far, NO adverse side effects thank goodness.

Readers may like to contrast this with my father's experience. At the age of 55 he had a TIA (though I don't think the term was in use at the time) and ignored it. Six months later he died in the street from a massive heart attack!

I consider myself to be lucky to have had the warning and in this case suspect that my GP was right, though it will take a little while to be sure!
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 19:19
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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After reading this book, I know exactly where the memory gaps come from. Several more stories are told, much worse than mine. The food/drug industry has been betting on the wrong horse (cholesterol) since about 25 years and it will be a big job to turn the wagon around. Anyway, I am the 'Patient' and it is my health.

There is one good side on statins: they reduce inflammation and this is what clogs our arteries. Cholesterol has nothing to do with it.

On the other hand, the side effects are such that you lose more than you gain and we haven't seen the end of it yet. Some cases got Transient Global Amnesia only after four years on statins, some of it irrepairable.
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 19:27
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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We all know that research like statistics can be made to read what you want them to read.
I think that's accurate.

It's our job to work out the wheat (statins), from the chaff. (?CQ10).
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Old 23rd Sep 2012, 22:26
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Any advice on dealing with the memory loss other than stopping the statins? Needed a stent 6 years ago for major block in " widowmaker" and not prepared to stop.
Thanks DH
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 05:51
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Both magnesium and red yeast rice are natural statins without side effects. Have a look at spacedoc.com website as well, several other docs have articles. Stephen Sinatra is a retired cardiologist.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 08:35
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He's also a guy who thinks we need to walk around barefoot or lay on a special pad in order to remain "grounded" at all times.

I suspect that's connected to his tinfoil hat, too.

It never ceases to amaze me that the world of "alternative medicine" is filled with these characters that somehow think they and they alone know the answer to every major issue in health care. And everyone else is wrong.

And people buy into this stuff. Well, Steve Jobs regretted it.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 09:12
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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So whats the view on Mg then?

Seems to have a bit of science behind why it should work.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 11:24
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Magnesium is a mineral we should get from our vegetables, unfortunately due to modern agriculture techniques, we get less than we need.

There is a free e-book on Magnesium you can download. Moer on this website: Nutritional Magnesium Association Information on high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, magnesium deficiency
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 11:42
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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As usual it comes down to what my granny used to prescribe having zero medical training.

A table spoon of cod liver oil a day, the more vile tasting the better, keeps the doctor away.

And eat your greens or you will get a thick ear.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 13:10
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Both magnesium and red yeast rice are natural statins without side effects.
There is no such thing as "no side effects". Well, except for water. And placebos.
I would steer clear of anything (or anybody, for that matter) for which such a claim is made.

Ciao,

Dg800
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 14:57
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Homonculus

Of course there is shady meaning in the shade or not clear research!
The science itself is imperfect hence the unclear bit can be used to paint a picture!
I am sure most remember the governments research on global warming and the biased in accurate science that was used ?
I am sure the same occurs in medicine where a lot of gain is at stake ?
The perfect science would largely eliminate the drug companies as patients would be cured of things like cancer and HIV rather than being kept going!
If your saying your industry is not open to the pressures of others where science is used to make a case which itself leads to big money then I am surprised.

Pace
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 16:49
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Dg800,

Please take this into consideration: millions of years ago, the earth was 'born' (use whatever term is suitable for you); first were plants then animals then mankind (some kind of animal too). Nature has had time to perfect many, many details in everything on earth. Why would man think he can do it better since about 100 years or so.

Diabetes and cancer and obesity have skyrocketed in the last 30 years. Cancer and diabetes were very rare 100 years ago, what has changed since? My grandmother didn't know what a supermarket, a fridge, a microwave oven was, did it matter? She lived till she was 92, her mother till 98. Industrialized food and modern allopathic medicine are probably partially to blame.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 16:57
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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What is good about this thread is that some people are finally beginning to think about health and how to maintain it.
I do so since a full year now and you wouldn't believe the difference it makes.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 20:49
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Pace

You need to dust off your dictionary.

Research is investigation and observation. Properly conducted research shows something is or is not significant. Leading aside probability coefficients, the result is yes or no. Nothing shady there.

Governments have never done research - they do studies but these are sociology babble. It is perhaps because politicians dont consider facts or science that we are in such a mess.

A perfect science is a meaningless phrase. Science is science. Gravity exists. It creates the universe we live in including cancer. Man tries to modify these bad bits but he doesnt perfect science.

Back on thread. Statins have been shown by MASSIVE studies over many years to save lives and to have but two side effects, both of which can be monitored. The drug companies have made a lot of money out of them but that doesnt mean there is any conspiracy. If you believe the earth is flat or cancer can be cured by not walking on the lines in the pavement, be my guest, as illness costs society money and any resultant early demise is economically benefitting society. All I ask is that you dont peddle witchcraft and rumours which frighten others, who may well be vulnerable because of illness, such that they reject medical advice and fail to benefit.
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Old 24th Sep 2012, 21:30
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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I don't disagree with your premises, Homunculus, except that nowadays Science is not Just Science. It's Science-filtered-by-statisticians, and we all know that how the data is tweaked can easily be (a)biased by the hoped-for results, and (b)subject to re-evaluation in the future with a different conclusion.

That's what I have against the current fad to pounce on every new study as the ultimate result.

And yes, the pharm companies are interested in selling drugs. We just have to keep their agendas in perspective, and we are entitled to differing conclusions.

That said, I find it appalling that so many apparently bright folks are willing to discard scientifically obtained advice, whatever its flaws, in favor of junk science, quackery, and hucksterism.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 06:45
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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evidence obtained by blinded research from Oxford University over many years
Would be grateful for references.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 07:34
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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That's what I have against the current fad to pounce on every new study as the ultimate result.
And that's where the skills of critical appraisal and systematic review come into their own. I'd argue that these are as an important component of a doctor/nurse/clinicians toolkit as a stethoscope. The whole purpose of these skills is that we can sort out the wheat from the chaff.

In terms of grades of evidence, we have "expert opinion," (whether that's an eminent Professor or a man in a silver foil hat) at the bottom of the pile, and multi centre, double blind, large, randomised controlled trials, at the top.

The evidence for statin use lies nearer the latter rather than the former.
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Old 25th Sep 2012, 11:06
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Reading further, there is some hope for statins after all. Spacedoc explains that low-dose statins have a beneficial effect on inflammation and thus reduce mortality on patients that already have heart disease. However, the way statins are 'sold' to us is different; they are supposed to lower cholesterol readings (which they do) but cholesterol is not the culprit after all. So what happens: docA sees patientB and finds cholesterol level too high (according to common wisdom) so B gets a prescription for statins, even if B has no pre-existing heart disease. In order to get the cholesterol reading to the published level, A prescribes heavier and heavier doses until B reaches the level required. In reality even a small dose will fight the inflammation and do good, an overdose will do good but brings side-effects as well, and these can be very nasty since cholesterol is fuel for the brain.

This is simplified a very plausible explanation as written by spacedoc in his book mentioned above.
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Old 28th Sep 2012, 12:42
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Dementia risk from sleeping tablets: Pensioners on pills taken by 1.5m are 50% more likely to be hit, warns Harvard study | Mail Online

Taken from front page of mail today is it wrong? or a reason to mistrust medication like Statins which get mixed opinions.

I believe recently beta blockers received bad press too?

Will statins be making the headlines too in the future? or is there nothing to worry about with statins?
As medically non qualified people are we right to question long term use of drugs when reports like this seem to occur more and more often?

Even fit people over a certain age are being advised into mass medication with an over 50s pill but for whos benefit?

Pace

Last edited by Pace; 28th Sep 2012 at 12:58.
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Old 28th Sep 2012, 20:30
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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but cholesterol is not the culprit after all.
Probably something in that, it is, after all, it's only a proxy outcome measure. The important factor is, do statins prevent death and disease ? (And the evidence suggests they do.) The process is less important than the oucome.

So what happens: docA sees patientB and finds cholesterol level too high (according to common wisdom) so B gets a prescription for statins, even if B has no pre-existing heart disease. In order to get the cholesterol reading to the published level, A prescribes heavier and heavier doses until B reaches the level required.
Not actually strictly true,certainly for primary prevention, (without established disease). Once risk is established, the statin is prescribed, (usually Simvastatin 40mg), but interestingly once the patient is established on the routine, we don't tend to retest the cholesterol levels. (There's no point, it doesn't affect the management of the patient.) Hence the "putting it in the water" argument.

Secondary prevention, (ie the patient has established disease) requires more aggressive chasing.
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