Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cardiologist - It Is Not About Cholesterol

It's Not About Cholesterol

The idea that cholesterol causes disease comes from a set of closely related theories known as the Lipid Hypothesis, the Cholesterol Theory, and the Diet-Heart Theory. These theories claim that too much cholesterol in the blood is the major causative factor in atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. The Diet-Heart Theory maintains that too much saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet raises the cholesterol level, causing atherosclerosis and leading to the two most dreaded complications of atherosclerosis--heart attack and stroke.

Actually, the process is initiated by a proliferation of smooth muscle cells from the middle layer of the wall of the artery. These sheets of cell form a firm plaque which rigidifies that portion of the arterial wall. Nothing is deposited upon or sticking to the inner lining of the artery. Some have hypothesized that the breakdown of cells within plaque gives rise to the cholesterol that is often found there, which is to say that cholesterol is a result of the plaque, and not the cause.

If one takes the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes as an index of the severity of atherosclerosis then there are some statistics that argue strongly against a role for cholesterol. For example, men suffer heart attacks at a rate 3-5 times that for women. Yet women on average have higher cholesterol levels than men. If you examine the statistics closely you will see that the incidence of heart attacks is spread pretty evenly throughout the entire range of cholesterol levels.”

Dr. Curtis’ book, "The Cholesterol Delusion", traces the development of the Cholesterol Theory from its origins and shows how each step in its evolution used dubious data and statistics, unscientific reasoning, and statistical manipulation to promulgate a fallacious theory that supports cholesterol as a deleterious element in the body.

I've gotten to the point now that I'm a little stunned when I hear of a medical professional that still believes in the delusions of cholesterol.  Nonetheless, it is the dominant paradigm and it will be interesting to see how long until it is not news for a heart doctor to say otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment