Statins: Should You Use Them?

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Can Taking Statins Prevent a Heart Attack?

When Statin drugs were first prescribed, they were prescribed for those people who had already had a first heart attack in the hopes of preventing a second event. The thinking was that Statin drugs would do something to reduce your cholesterol and that would help you avoid a heart attack.  

Doctors then began to think if statins would prevent a second heart attack, perhaps they would also prevent a first heart attack. They viewed the issue of cholesterol as a move that would prevent heart attacks in general. Now, the use of Statins is so widespread that as many as 40% of Americans now qualify under the guidelines to have a prescription for statin drugs.  The question remains, “do statins work in preventing heart attacks and cardiac events?” and additional questions should be asked which may, in fact, not be asked by doctors or their patients, such as “are the side effects of statin drugs worth the risk in order to prevent a potential heart problem that may not happen anyway?

Dr. Maupin and I read an article written by Suzanne Robotti, founder of MedShadow regarding the use of statins. Her article was interesting and powerful. So we decided to look into the issue of statin use and discuss it in this week’s healthcast.

In our discussion we look into the issue of cholesterol and its types and the balance of them in your body, and we look at the research that says since statin use became so common, deaths from heart attacks have been reduced. We consider whether this change is correlative or causative. It is possible that there is a causative explanation for cardiac event reduction, but there are also other possible causes. More Americans than ever before have stopped smoking, we have developed better emergency care, a better understanding of the different signals of an impending attack in men and women, implantable defibrillator use and other possible causes of reduction in the occurrence of heart attacks.

Sometimes an answer in medicine rises to what psychologists call the Law of the Hammer (if you give a three year old a hammer, everything becomes a nail). We are concerned that this may not be true regarding statins and heart attacks. We are urging better conversations between doctors and their patients to make a more informed decision. It is possible that a change in exercise and weight can produce as much gain as the use of statins when it comes to cholesterol management.  

Listen to our healthcast and see what you think. You may decide that you want to have a conversation with your doctor about the use of statin drugs.

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author.  

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