How safe is your cholesterol medication?

Statins, medication prescribed to people at high risk of heart attack or stroke, have hit the headlines with claims they are causing terrible side-effects in everyone taking them. But what is the reality and is your cholesterol medication safe?

Statins, medication prescribed to people at high risk of heart attack or stroke, have hit the headlines with claims they are causing terrible side-effects in everyone taking them. But what is the reality and is your cholesterol medication safe?

The reality is much less extreme. Evidence shows that taking statins over a long period of time could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. But, to put that in perspective, for every 255 people treated with statins for four years, at least five cardiovascular events are avoided, and only one extra case of diabetes is shown.

So if you are taking statins, do not stop your medication. If you are concerned go and speak to your doctor. They will be able to draw up a risk assessment table to help you work out if the benefits of the medication outweigh the risk of possible side effects. Going off your medication without consulting an expert can be much more dangerous than taking it as prescribed


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    2nd Mar 2012
    Thank you soooo much.....put my mind at ease!!
    Peter B
    2nd Mar 2012
    The fear of cholesterol and the taking of the most prescribed drugs in the world is one of the biggest scams ever foisted on us.
    For example, the Lipitor webste issues this warning statement:
    "LIPITOR has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks."
    Research shows that cholesterol does not cause heart didease. It is viatl and does far more good than harm.
    Ever wondered why there is never any cholesterol attached to the walls of our veins, just the arteries?
    That is because the cholesterol is repairing the hard working arteries; veins don't operate under the same stresses therefore don't need the same repairs.
    6th Mar 2012
    Totally agree, read Blood Never Lies, Ted Aloisio. Llumina Press pages 18/19. Research at Harvard Medical School in the late 1960's indicated high Homocysteine levels relate to CVD and to adequate consumption of B group vitamins B6,B12 and folic acid. The latest breakthrough drug in USA to fight CVD, is called FOLTX, the only components are B6, B12 and folic acid. From what I can find out high homocysteine levels cause CVD not high cholesterol.
    tillymint 53
    2nd Mar 2012
    i was diagnosed a year ago with type one diabetes and frankly have had enough of doctors telling me to take this and that medicine on top of insulin, its all very worrying :-(
    3rd Mar 2012
    Stop going to doctors then ...
    tillymint 53
    4th Mar 2012
    bella 13 thats a very negative comment you made on my post , being newly diagnosed i have to see doctors and its confusing at times to say the least to be told so many different things. you have a good day
    21st Jul 2013
    tilly I can understand your concern, however Drs are going to prescribe meds without telling you much about them. ASK. Ask questions. Are there any side effects (of course there will be)?. Is this the only med. I can take? Make a list of questions and ask. Don't be intimidated. Take control of your health. You sound a very timid person and I feel for you. Is there a nurse attached to the surgery that you could talk with? Can you talk with your chemist??

    Good luck and keep your chin up :)
    2nd Mar 2012
    It really makes you wonder if cholesterol medication is neccessary in some cases.
    I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and was promptly given a script for cholesterol tablets.

    When I checked on the website in regards to side effects I decided NOT to take them.
    I discussed this with my other Dr who also prescribes natural medicines.
    I was told that just because my BAD cholesterol was a little high, but my Good cholesterol was excellent I would not need to take it and I do not.

    So maybe before you take these pills get a second opinion,
    2nd Mar 2012
    I cannot tolerate statins. It was take statins or go on a disability pension. Took Simvastatin and could hardly finish my work. Told one of the nurses at work how I felt I had no strength and bad back. She gave me a cutting about it. Changed to esetrol no better. Cardiologist told me to persevere with Crestor. My knee ached 24/7. Legs and back also. Could hardly hobble around and got no sleep. Will never take them. Feel sorry for anyone elderly and put the pain down to ola age as I nearly did. I am 60.
    21st Jul 2013
    Hey stillman, your story is similar to mine except I was on morphine for over 4 years and had about three procedures to counter the back pain. I stopped the statins and pain eased or stopped. The Dr was interested in my findings (BIG medical breakthrough!!)so we tested it again and sure enough, statins = pain (along with confusion, weakness, heart probs etc)I am off cholesterol meds and feel a lot better. 60 isn't old!! You're a youngster!!
    Peter B
    2nd Mar 2012
    The 'good' and 'bad' descriptives are applied to make us fearful and take drugs for the rest of our lives. I agree-prevention is the way to go. Largely through diet.
    People now believe that cholesterol is an enemy and must be fought and destroyed at all costs.
    The so called 'bad' cholesterol actually saves lives as it attaches to the artery walls to repair them. If you don't have enough LDL you are at a higher risk of heart attack.
    You can also die if cholesterol is too low as it is absolutely vita. Most is actually made by the body, and does not come from diet.
    2nd Mar 2012
    Nothing to do with "old age "stillman, I am 65 and look about 55.
    It has to do with how you have lived and live your life, good food and exercise and above all a POSITIVE attitude.
    2nd Mar 2012
    Stillman said 'nearly put down to old age'. I had the same probs as he and, btw, I am 68 and have always lived a healthy life, been a healthy weight, was very strong and active, and rarely took even a pain killer. At 66 I was still renovating my last home and it's unknown why, at that age, I was diagnosed with diabetes 2 and then had to start taking a handful of medications. I imediately started putting on weight and am not able to lose it. The medications, I think, have destroyed the active life I used to live and I can now hardly walk any distance without physical pain.
    So don't presume that you are better than someone who has an illness, you don't know what their life was like before the onset.
    21st Jul 2013
    that is right chrissy, but you forgot genes.

    Pip, I became vegetarian and used to swim 1k/day until I started taking statins again. Now I have lost most of my body strength and am confused and have heart problems. As soon as I stop taking statins the pain virtually disappears within 24 hours. I stopped taking statins for good recently and am feeling a lot better. I hope to increase my muscle strength soon but the confusion is .. well, it's interesting :) Just because you can't be active, there are lots of interesting things to do at our age :)
    2nd Mar 2012
    The medical professionals who encourage people with heart disease to continue taking prescribed statins have my 100% support. I had triple bypass surgery 19 years ago & have been on Lipitor & other medications ever since. My cholesterol level is 3 & BP around 125/65. I believe that I owe my life to these types of medication which allow me to play six sets of tennis each week. If you ever try to get travel insurance with high cholesterol levels you are in for a nasty surprise.
    2nd Mar 2012
    I think that you are being a bit defensive Pipple, dont take it so personally.
    2nd Mar 2012
    If anyone is interested in reading this article in regards to Diabetes and cholesterol,it really makes you think

    The FDA admits that statin drugs cause diabetes and memory loss:
    2nd Mar 2012
    I took Statins for many years (approx 13), slowly it got to the stage where I could hardly walk, I read up all I could get about the medication I was taking,finding I had all of the symptoms of others who had ended up in wheelchairs after taking them,I decided that I was not taking another Statin, 8 years later and being in pretty good health since giving the Statins away, my Doctor advised me to go on to a very small dose again, because she said of the link of high cholesterol to Dementia, a few weeks after taking them, I was in awful muscle pain again (I was being sick with the pain), I have stopped them , I am watching my diet, and trying to exercise , I also read that these tablets that are supposed to be a good preventative against dementia actually are one of the causes of it, and of Diabetis... as we are all different, I know I cannot take this drug, some people can, but my heart is a muscle, So I will take my chances, and stick to what is natural. Since stopping this very low dose I have had no trouble with my muscles, I am 76 years old, and keep active. I eat mainly vegetarian food. The specialist I saw, said the condition is genetic not my diet.
    3rd Mar 2012
    That is great Sylvia, you should be commended,you had the courage to wean yourself off the pills and take a chance.

    I watched my mother take soooo many pills that she rattled for all her different ailments and she was still sick(from the medications) and she died of a massive coronary,so I totally understand,
    3rd Mar 2012
    Below is from a doctor on a medical site where many doctors were very worried about prescribing statins after the FDA changed the cautionary warning on statin packaging. Many of them wanted to emphasize that if lifestyles were changed there would the little need for statins. Here is the pessimistic answer.

    “Can't believe what I'm reading in this blog. Comparing this with the "hormone therapy fiasco", really? Didn't realize that there was such animosity against statins out there.

    All this gradiose suggestions about life style and diet changes. If this was a perfect society and everybody is on a strict mediterranian diet and exercise 5 days a week, then maybe i would have similar feelings. But this is the real world and we can counsel until we're blue in the face and most people do not change their diet and exercise patterns enough to make a clinical difference. I agree statins have limitations and do not impact mortality but is that the only standard we should judge drug therapy by?

    Until something better comes along, this is the best we can offer our higher risk patients. Drugs will always have side effects and it is our job to discuss risks and benefits with our patients without injecting our biases.”
    3rd Mar 2012
    Hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol levels) is a familial condition and diet will not fix it. My mother died suddently of a heart attack and that was when I was tested. My levels were sky high. At 46 yrs of age I suffered a mild stroke. For the past 22 yrs I have swallowed statins and asprin of varying mg.with no side effects. Infact, a blockage in the left carotid artery has shrunk! Regular blood tests and dopplers have monitored liver function, block age and cholesterols. Yes, some people do suffer side effects but the alternative is worse! A healthy diet, daily exercise and a healthy lifestyle will control weight gain and ward off the onset of diabeties II. Live everyday, laugh, sing, love a pet challenge your brain and keep swalling the statins if you want to see your grandchildren grow up.
    3rd Mar 2012
    I am 64 and have had elevated cholesterol since I was 40. With the support of my GP over the intervening period I have tried – fruit diet; carbs diet; no-carbs diet; no animal fat diet; extracts of sugar cane tablets, special teas; special margarine; porridge; psyllium husk; even hypnosis.
    Guess what? The only way we can control my elevated levels is with PBS medication.
    Tried statins and the side effects were horrendous – severe constipation, night sweats and unbearable pain in the extremities. And yet a friend of the same age, weight and general physical condition experienced diarrhoea with an overall feeling of euphoria when using them.
    Eventually ended up with Ezetrol, which worked for me.
    So what’s the conclusions I have reached. 1. The body of medical opinion is that elevated cholesterol increases the probability of heart attack 2. There will always be naysayers (easily found on the internet) and you can subscribe to their beliefs if you wish 3. There is no one perfect ‘fix’ for elevated cholesterol. Everyone has their own personal conditions related to health, family history, earlier problems.
    Whenever I feel a ‘lecture coming on’ from another sufferer, it’s easier for me to walk away than get involved in a nonsensical argument.
    3rd Mar 2012
    Well said PeeKay
    3rd Mar 2012
    PeeKay, I have read your comments with interest, and will talk with my Doctor about the drug you are finding helpful, Ezetimibe, doesn't appear to be a Statin, and may be of use to me, I have tried every other Statin medication with no success, but I do keep an open mind. Thankyou for you comment.
    tillymint 53
    3rd Mar 2012
    bella 13 thats a very negative comment you made on my post , being newly diagnosed i have to see doctors and its confusing at times to say the least to be told so many different things. you have a good day
    3rd Mar 2012
    The 'problem' with cholesterol is doctors treat cholesterol, not what is important, and that is risk. You see, I come from a family of everyone having high cholesterol, very high, shockingly high. Yet, never can any of us recall anyone of our family having a cardo-vas problem, as in none. No problem with heart or blood ever. We die of cancers, not any risk of heart or blood anything and no diabetes either. We are extremely low risk, and that is the point of treating risk not cholesterol.
    3rd Mar 2012
    P.S. comment: As there is much interest on this topic, perhaps R.T.Jones will follow the issue and tell more. In particular, I note, she mentions the 'risk table' and my point is about risk level, not the cholesterol level, so perhaps having a look at the risk table will benefit those who read these columns. I recall years ago the Readers Digest had a question and answer set of 10ish questions and answering the questions (such as, Have either of your parents had a heart condition? ... and so forth) gave an informative score of risk.
    3rd Mar 2012
    The drug I use is Ezetrol. Don't know about Ezetimibe.
    I'm no medico, but as best as I can understand, statins break down and excrete the cholesterol while it is forming in the liver. Ezetrol allows the cholesterol to form and breaks it down in the gut and excretes it from there.
    End of my medical knowledge.
    4th Mar 2012
    Thanks PK. That is informative. Useful. Too often doctors only tell you to take this...good for you. Better to know how it works.
    21st Jul 2013
    ezetimibe is the ingredient, Ezetrol is the brand name :)
    4th Mar 2012
    Heart Surgeon Admits Huge Mistake!

    Have you heard about this?

    By Dwight Lundell, MD
    Part 1 of a 2-part article (see part 2 below)

    We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

    I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labeled "opinion makers." Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of
    elevated blood cholesterol.

    The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake.
    The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations
    were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

    It Is Not Working!

    These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that
    inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how
    heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

    The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic onsequences.

    Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced
    the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

    Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease,
    20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in
    greater numbers every year.

    Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the
    body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

    Inflammation is not complicated -- it is quite simply your body's natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria,
    toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders.

    However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed
    to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.

    What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known tocause
    injury to the body? Well, smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.

    The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

    Let me repeat that. The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet that has been recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

    What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

    In Part 2 of this two-part article, I'll discuss which foods cause inflammation, how those foods trigger the inflammatory
    process, and the foods to eat that will cure inflammation.

    Part 2
    by Dwight Lundell MD 02/06/2009

    Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding.
    Let's say you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

    Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

    While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

    How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

    Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

    When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

    What does all this have to do with inflammation?

    Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

    While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator - inflammation in their arteries.

    Let's get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6's are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell - they must be in the correct balance with omega-3's.

    If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation. Today's mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats.
    The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That's a tremendous amount of
    cytokines causing inflammation. In today's food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

    To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar.
    The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer's disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

    There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

    There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables.
    Cut down on or eliminate inflammation-causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them. One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.

    Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy
    oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the "science" that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that
    saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent.

    The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

    The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an
    epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

    What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

    (Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital, Mesa, AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie.)
    21st Jul 2013
    very interesting Chrissy. Very interesting .... I will reconsider my NO-fat, LOW fat diet. I don't use wholemeal flour all of the time but will start using it now.

    Thank you.
    4th Mar 2012
    Is it the statins causing the problem or the FILLERS they put in with the medication. Always look at the FILLERS, the one I am taking - Cholstat - has only 4 fillers, whereas when I researched the other common ones, some had up to 8-10 fillers. So what is doing the damage the actual statin or the fillers and when you read the names, you can't pronounce them to start with. Betty
    Peter B
    4th Mar 2012
    Chrissy, thanks you, thank you, thanmks you!
    I was composing a similarly veined reply as yours but was avoiding the effort!
    It would be great to be able to eat and drink what we want, and then just medicate to overcome any health issues.
    The drug companies want that to happen. They want us all on drugs for all of our lives.
    Don't want us taking preventive action or getting better.
    The other big scam, not quite as lucrative yet, is blood pressure.
    When you read about what lies behind the drug company rercommended levels, how they were established, and why they keep getting lower, you will find a similar sad story as with cholesterol.
    The drug companies are the ones satting the ever lowering limits, and of course have a handy range of drugs waiting for you.
    4th Mar 2012
    Just cut and paste the article Peter B
    4th Mar 2012
    oops COPY and paste
    Peter B
    4th Mar 2012
    Anybodu else have a faulty keyboard!!!
    21st Jul 2013
    I have my keyboard booked in for Gonski spelling tuition :)
    4th Mar 2012
    Well Chrissy, I haven't heard about it. I don't know where you found this article but I'm sure going to research everything that it says as well as show it to my GP for his opinion. Thank you so much.
    4th Mar 2012
    Hello Didee,
    if you are interested just google Dwight Lundell MD makes for interesting reading.
    It gets very confusing as different Drs tell you different things.Natural medicine works for me.
    Peter B
    4th Mar 2012
    It's very difficult for doctors in general to stay on top of research, and especially that of nutrition which they barely acknowledge, from my experience.
    The health industry is all about making money, and not about our health. So much influence from industry and pharma that the government guidelines everywhere are now biased towardss whatever these groups want.
    There are lots of books and articles on this, it's no secret.
    No-one is mounting a defence because of the costs. The food pyramid is a joke too.
    Have a wander through this website.
    Gary Taubes's book The Diet Delusion is well worth a read.
    Also Eat Fat, Lose Fat. Should be in your library.
    i think doctors have been committed to the low fat diet mantra that they cannot let it go, even when it has been shown to not work for weight control, but has actually made it worse.
    More sugar is added to get a good taste, and the vital fats and oils are not being eaten.
    21st Jul 2013
    do sugars play any part in high cholesterol??
    4th Mar 2012
    I have recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol (and high blood pressure). Dr has put me on 40mg Lipitor and no sooner had I started than all this worrying information came out. I looked on the internet and strangely enough is says 'high cholesterol in midlife increases the risk of dementia'. To me, this seems to be the same story if you TAKE statins!! Also, can one abruptly go off Lipitor or must you be weaned off it gradually? (Must go and have a good chat with Dr.).
    18th May 2013
    As far as I know Lipitor is a lipid which is a different type of Medication.
    In some cases heart problems are genetic (hereditary). On my Mum's side of the family there was 10 (surviving) children and the majority passed away from heart problems. My Grandma had a very strong heart but died after a long battle with cancer. The Drs. told her that if she had had a weak heart she wouldn't have suffered as long with the cancer.
    5th Mar 2012
    Is Dwight Lundell from USA ?? Some of the processing methods for oils in USA and not allowed in Australia at all. I have insulin resistance.When initially diagnosed my blood glucose level was normal but my insulin level was 4 X normal range. By going on a low GI Diet (there are "good" and bad" carbohydrates), limiting sugar to to the ones that don't contain too much sugar, eliminating "bad" fats and increasing my protein level, I lost my "surplus" weight, my insulin level is within normal range, and my cholestoral level has also dropped. I had tried various cholestoral medications including statins, and I like many others had side-effects listed above plus constipation. The Specialist worked out the medication was stripping my good cholestoral as well as the bad, and although I was eating a high fibre diet and drinking plenty of water I suffered from constipation -a problem I hadn't previously had. So with my Dr's permission I gradually stopped taking them. I am being monitored via constant blood tests. My level is gradually dropping.
    Gary Ferguson
    6th Mar 2012
    There was an excellent item on Radion National's Health Report at 5.30pm March 5th. I happened across it as I was driving back from work in the country. Associate Prof David Sullivan from the Lipid Clinic at RPA Sydney talks about the study and statins generally.
    6th Mar 2012
    Dr Lundell SCAM MERCHANT ???????????

    A Skeptical Look at Dwight Lundell, M.D.
    Stephen Barrett, M.D.

    Dwight C. Lundell, M.D. lost medical license in 2008. Since that time he has been promoting books that clash with scientific knowledge of heart disease prevention and treatment. His book, The Great Cholesterol Lie, invites people to "forget about everything you have been told about low-fat diets, saturated fats, cholesterol and the causes of heart disease." According to The Great Cholesterol Lie Web site:

    Dropping your cholesterol levels will not lower your risk of heart disease, attack, or strokes.
    During his career as a cardiac surgeon, he performed over 5,000 heart operations, most of which could have been easily prevented had the patients been given the right information.
    "Heart disease has a cure . . . .You can beat it without harmful medications and painful, risky surgery."
    The Great Cholesterol Lie . . . is "as close to a new heart as you can get without laying on Dr. Lundell's table."
    Lundell "guarantees" that the book "can turn your health around."

    This article tells why I would not trust Lundell's advice.
    Medical and Regulatory History

    After graduating from the University of Arizona Medical School in 1971, Lundell completed a one-year internship and two years of surgical residency in general surgery at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, followed by two years of residency in chest surgery at Yale University Medical Center in New Haven, Connecticut. He became certified in cardiothoracic surgery, which he practiced for about 25 more years.
    In 2007, Lundell began the Healthy Humans Foundation Blog, which stated that he was "refocusing" his career on the prevention and cure of heart disease [1]. He also produced a book called The Cure for Heart Disease which, according to its description on Amazon Books, "is different than every other book exploring the number one killer of Americans" and is "a riveting yet straight forward discussion that challenges public consensus, explains the reasons for the epidemic of heart disease, and provides an easy to follow guide to eliminate heart disease." [2] A comment on the Amazon pageindicate that it advocates a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, low-dose aspirin, and fish oil and conjugated linoleic acid supplements for everyone.

    In 2004, the Healthy Humans Foundation issued a news release that plugged the book and said that Lundell had retired from the practice of surgery in 2004 [3].

    Between 2000 and 2008, Lundell was subjected to five regulatory actions by the Arizona Medical Board:

    In 2000, the board concluded that his postoperative management of a patient who died following carotid artery surgery was substandard and insufficiently documented. He was censured for unprofessional conduct, assessed a $2,500 civil penalty, and placed on probation during which he was required to take continuing medical education courses in carotid artery surgery and medical recordkeeping. He was also required to submit to monitoring of his patient records [4].
    In 2003, the board noted that 13 out of 20 charts reviewed by the consultant were deficient because they did not include adequate initial evaluations of the patients. Lundell was censured again and was placed on probation that included quarterly chart reviews [5].
    In 2004, the board found fault with his management of two patients and concluded that his records for these patients were inadequate. He was reprimanded and ordered to serve two more years of probation, during which he was required to undergo an extensive evaluation of his fitness to continue practicing medicine [6].
    In 2006, the board sent him an advisory letter for failure to maintain adequate records and for a technical surgical error [7].
    In 2008, the board reviewed Lundell's management of several more patients and revoked his medical license. The board's order indicated that the board began investigating his care of seven patients after the Banner Desert Medical Hospital suspended Lundell's surgical privileges [7].

    Financial and Legal Trouble

    Lundell also ran into considerable difficulty in his nonmedical affairs. Although the full records are not readily available, documents I found on the Internet indicate the following:

    In 1990 Lundell filed for bankruptcy. At that time, there were several lawsuits pending in state court on the theory that he was a partner in a construction business called West Coast Construction in which he had invested. I don't know the outcome of these suits, but he ultimately wound up owing at least $20 million dollars.
    In 2005, he again filed for bankruptcy, claiming to have assets of $12,990 and liabilities of $20,185,769.60. The liabilities included $74,264.77 in credit card debts, $78,932.48 for accounting services, the $20 million debt related to the previous bankruptcy, and "unknown amounts" of state and federal taxes owed. The financial statement also listed his earnings as $0 for 2005, $0 for $2004, and $288,436 for 2003 [8].
    In 2004, Lundell leaded guilty in federal court to three counts of willful failure to file income tax returns. A newspaper report indicates that he had become a client of "tax protestor" Wayne C. Bentson after a long-running dispute with the IRS and that rather than filing tax returns from 1992 to 1996, Lundell had filed affidavits contesting the government's right to levy taxes [9]. In 2005, Lundell was sentenced to three years' probation, but the probation was terminated after 16 months. Bentson was ordered to pay $1,129,937 to the Internal Revenue Service and was sentenced to four years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release [10].

    Other Activities

    Lundell says he founded the Healthy Humans Foundation "to help the human race free themselves of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mental disorders, and other diseases caused by improper nutrition and misleading consumer information." [11] I was unable to find an entry in the business listings of the Arizona Secretary State or the IRS's database of nonprofit organizations.

    From 2007 through May 2010, Lundell was listed as an advisor to NourishLife, a company that markets vitamins, fish oil supplements, and conjugated linoleic acid supplements as "pharmaceutical grade" products claimed to help children with speech problems. After the Chicago Tribune criticized the products and mentioned that Lundell had lost his medical license [12], he was removed from the page of advisors on the NourishLife Web site.

    Lundell's book, The Great Cholesterol Lie, is offered for $49.95 through The Truth About Health Disease Web site, which also invites people to sign up as members:

    Silver membership ($47/month) includes "a vast amount of information" every month."
    Platinum membership: (77/month) adds access to month;y teleseminars in which Lundell answers questions and twice-monthly interviews with "cutting edge experts."
    Gold membership: ($245/month) adds a one-hour or two half-hour private consultations with Lundell.

    A free copy of The Great Cholesterol Lie is included in all three categories or can be obtained for $4.95 with a ten-day "trial membership." However, the site says that it is not accepting new members at this time.
    The Bottom Line

    Dr. Lundell would like you to believe that he has special knowledge of heart disease prevention. I do not trust his advice.

    Healthy Humans Foundation Blog, accessed Sept 18, 2011.
    The Cure for Heart Disease: The Truth Will Save a Nation. Web site, accessed Sept 18, 2011.
    Charles D. Retired Heart Surgeon Dwight Lundell Continues to Save Lives Retired heart surgeon Dwight Lundell spent 25 years performing over 5,000 heart surgeries. Today his newest book, The Cure for Heart Disease continues to save lives by exposing the truth behind the causes of heart disease and attacks. Healrthy Humand Foundation News Release, PR Web, Nov 11, 2008.
    Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order (censure with probation). In the matter of Dwight C. Lundell Before the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, June 27, 2000.
    Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order (decree of censure & probation). In the matter of Dwight C. Lundell. Before the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, March 20, 2004.
    Consent agrement and order for letter of reprimand and probation. In the matter of Dwight C. Lundell Before the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, June 17, 2003.
    Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order (license revocation). In the matter of Dwight C. Lundell Before the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, October 9, 2008.
    Lundell D. Voluntary petition for bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona, filed Oct 14, 2005.
    Grado G. E.V. surgeon suing Banner for stripped privileges. East Valley Tribune, April 15, 2004.
    Arizona man sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud. U.S. Department of Justice news release, May 15, 2005.
    About us. Healthy Humans Foundation Web site, archived Jan 26, 2009.
    Shelton DL. Speech experts are wary of untested supplement sold as a speech aid for kids with verbal apraxia. Chicago Tribune, Sept 10, 2010.

    This article was revised on September 21, 2011.
    21st Jul 2013
    if one has to visit a surgeon, then more than likely one will need surgery. Why??? Because he/she is a surgeon!! That's their job :)
    6th Mar 2012
    You dont fix something by treating the problem, you find out what is causing the problem. High cholesterol is the end result of another problem. Drugs don't find the problem they usually create more. Get a good Dr who looks for what is causing the problem and doesn't just send you off to get some drug or other.
    6th Mar 2012
    My sentiments exactly Brad
    normie 39
    23rd Nov 2012
    Yes's like a leaky tap,let it leak or find the problem and repair it.
    I''m in my early 70's and would have loved to see what my parents and grandparents were told if they had such problems.

    21st Jul 2013
    I have had this argument with my Dr. I ask What is the cause? and he used to give me a blank stare :) Now we are on a more understanding footing :)Find the cause and fix it not put a band aid over the problem now, and another band aid on a new problem and so on.
    Peter B
    6th Mar 2012
    Heard Dr Norman Swan yesterday on the radio, saying that you don't take statins for cholesterol! You only take it if your Total Risk Score indicates that you have potential heart problems.
    If you get a low score even with high cholesterol, you shouldn't be on statins.
    So always ask for this check by your GP before agreeing or continuing with a statin.

    Research also shows that women have not been shown to get any benefit from statins.
    7th Mar 2012
    Thanks for the info, will be seeing my Doctor soon and well discuss this with her, if it works I shall be very pleased, I have tried every new drug (Statin) that has come out, but had muscle problems with them all, even on the lowest of doses, I guess my body had too much of it (I took it for years approx13) so a lot of damage was done before I woke up to what was causing the problem, thanks again.
    17th May 2013
    There was an outstanding product on Radion National's Wellness Review. I came across it as I was generating back again from perform in the nation.

    Des Moines weight loss
    22nd Jul 2013
    Mine too is generic on both parents' side of my family. My Mother had a very strong heart, as did my Grandma but some of my Aunties and Uncles, Great Aunties and Uncles and apparently generations prior to that all heart problems and many of them died as a result of heart attacks.
    Cholestoral was not talked about until a few years ago. Diet and medication have had very little effect on mine. I have always eaten a low fat diet anyway.

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