Statin use has skyrocketed through recent years. We’re at the point now where about 1 in 4 adults take this type of drug, and new guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task force would jack that number up even higher.
Now, they’re saying that even if you have no signs, symptoms, or history of cardiovascular disease, you might still be handed a scrip. Everyone over 40, under 75, and with one or more risk factors is a candidate.
Big Pharma must be crazy-excited over the possibility of millions of new customers. And just think of all the other drugs they’ll sell to statin users who develop type 2 diabetes, muscle damage, or liver damage – just three of the major “side effects” of these drugs.
Treating pharmaceutically can set up such a vicious cycle – and an unnecessary one. Eating right, exercising enough, and making healthy life choices – healthy for body, mind, and spirit – can bring all the benefits of statins without all the dangerous side effects. In fact, a 2015 report from the British Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to physicians indicated that exercise alone has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic conditions “better than many drugs.”
So why reach for a drug?
And why the continued obsession with cholesterol anyway? It’s important to keep in mind that cholesterol is not the everything it’s sometimes made out to be with respect to heart health. Simply, not all patients with high cholesterol develop heart disease, and not all people with heart disease have high cholesterol.
The true culprit is chronic inflammation.
Reducing inflammation is key to a healthier body. Sure, statins can do this, but they also reduce cholesterol’s ability to help your body build cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and more. They also add one more burden to the body’s biological terrain – the extracellular matrix that guides the continuance of health or the development of illness.
The real, lasting solution starts with nutrition and diet. Reduce sugary foods and foods that are digested as sugar, such as refined carbohydrates and other hyper-processed products. Instead of those and other acidifying foods, eat more alkaline. Some acidifying foods are certainly okay, but they should be balanced by an abundance of alkaline foods. (The Standard American Diet is super-acidifying – one reason it’s a factor in the explosion of chronic health conditions we’ve seen through recent decades.)
Also consider bringing more flavor to your meals through anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, and cilantro.
But remember, though food is medicine, it isn’t everything. It’s the foundation. More physical activity, better sleep, less stress, more gratitude – all these play their own role in sustaining your health, as well.
And YOU are the one to make them all happen.
More on the cholesterol myth and the problem of chronic inflammation
Image by Gatis Gribusts, via Flickr