First of all, let us do away with the theory that faithfully eating a breakfast cereal can somehow cure your High Cholesterol. This is a myth created and sustained by the Multi-National-Corporations who MAKE MONEY from the production and marketing of Breakfast Cereal. Adding a breakfast cereal to your diet to lower cholesterol, for the amount of good it actually does, is actually much more expensive than Name-Brand cholesterol meds. You have to eat lots (several bowls) of cereal to lower your total number even a few points. They are making lots of money and you are adding lots of empty calories to your existing diet, for the little good it is actually doing.
Second, I believe there is a place for prescription meds in the treatment of High Cholesterol, but their use should be rare, and only in patients who are doing everything else properly. Any pill you put in your mouth can have possible side effects. In order for taking a daily medicine to make sense, the possibility of gaining a benefit from the pill should far out-weigh the possible side effects, and the patient (You) should be actively trying to treat their condition by improving their diet and lifestyle all the while.
A few years back there must have been a news release about Statin drugs "killing your liver" because that is the most common patient fear I hear about them. Since I have been prescribing Statins for High Cholesterol (2001) I have seen exactly ZERO cases of a statin hurting a patient's liver. I agree it is theoretically possible, and that you should have lab-work checked to monitor your liver, but it is a very, very rare occurrence.
The most common side effects of Statins I actually do see is muscle fatigue, muscle ache and muscle soreness. I have heard this hundreds of times from my patients. Initially, due to my medical school indoctrination, I doubted my patients, believing instead that they were just being hyper-aware and looking for side effects. Through the years my patients have taught me this is a real, and common side effect.
I also believe there is a sub-set of patients with High Cholesterol, taking Statin drugs who have subtle fatigue and are just not aware of it. Several times I have been told by a patient, "I didn't even know I was having any fatigue until I added CoQ-10, but now I can feel the difference!" I have been looking for the answer to this problem and listening to my Patients, and I think I have found the solution to Statin-induced muscle problems.
Statin drugs, although necessary in some, cause the bodies biochemisty to inhibit Ubiquinol, also known as Co-enzyme Q10, or CoQ-10. This can lead to muscle weakness and aching, and ironically, perhaps even increased risk of Heart disease. So if you must take a Statin, you should absolutely take either CoEnzyme-Q10, or Ubiquinol daily to help maximize your Statins protection of your heart, prevent the very rare liver complications, and to erase the very common muscle aching, weakness or fatigue you may be suffering from. You can click on the words to see the products I trust for my patients and my family members...
By adding Coenzyme-Q10 or Ubiquinol to your diet and following the guidelines below, you will probably be able to lower the dosage or even stop the Statin drug you are currently having to take.
So, let's list the TREATMENTS for High Cholesterol in their order of Importance:
- Daily exercise - Walking a mile/day should be considered a Daily Medicine by everyone over 40. This change alone, if followed by every American, would improve the current Health Care Mess by preventing thousands of heart attacks and strokes yearly, and keeping thousands of patients off Statin Drugs. Exercise is not a cop-out or a sweet-little-nothing your Doctor whispers into your ear, it is a required daily treatment for hundreds of medical conditions that You WILL suffer from if you neglect to take this daily medicine. If you have High Cholesterol and you are not walking a mile-a-day, you need to have a long look in the mirror; you are pulling the wool over your own eyes if you think Lipitor will replace the walking. Daily Exericise is FREE.
- Diet improvement - Decreasing pork consumption is vital to your heart and brain health. I tell patients who have High Cholesterol to treat any Pork like Birthday Cake, only an occasional treat. Forget the ads you might have seen on TV (paid for by Pork Producers!), there's no white meat on a pig, it's ALL Hog! Also decreasing the amount of processed junk food you eat will decrease your Cholesterol levels. Anytime you have to take what you are about to eat out of plastic-wrap, or a cardboard box, or you have to speak into a microphone before you get your food, you should stop and ask yourself, "Is this really food?" Chances are, it probably isn't. Diet Improvement is FREE.
- CoEnzyme Q-10 and Ubiquinol - Very natural ways to decrease you cholesterol, protect your liver, maximize your energy and improve your chances of keeping a healthy heart. Their actions in the body are backed up by real medical science, not just educated opinion. There are virtually no side-effects from using these natural products and they are fairly inexpensive. CoEnzyme Q-10 or Ubiquinol should cost around $20/month.
- Statin Drugs - Generic versions of Zocor, Mevacor and Pravachol, along with Lipitor, Crestor and Livalo. These may be necessary, but only after you have tried numbers 1 thru 3 above for at least 3 to 6 months to fix your High Cholesterol naturally and inexpensively. While these drugs are necessary in about one percent of patients with high cholesterol, they can have side effects. Statins should cost from $5-200/month. Almost no-one should be paying over $10/month for a Statin drug. If you are, you should see your doctor and ask why. The evidence in studies showing Lipitor to be better than generic Zocor is weak at best...
- Zetia and Vytorin - A complete waste of money! Zetia has been shown in a very large study to do almost nothing to lower your High Cholesterol. Some patients take it since it is not a Statin hoping to avoid the bad side effects. There are much cheaper and better ways to treat your High Cholesterol, you should talk to your Doctor.
- Other Cholesterol Meds - Can have some use in lowering your High Cholesterol, but there are very specific reasons for using them. If you are not clear on why you are taking one, you should talk to your Doctor.