Monday, October 22, 2012

Mercola: Statin Drugs May Accelerate Cardiovascular Disease

What can you conclude from reading stats like this:
"A new study in the journal Atherosclerosis1 shows that statin use is
associated with a 52 percent increased prevalence and extent of
calcified coronary plaque compared to non-users. None of the
participants in the study - 6,673 in all - had any known coronary artery
disease at the time of undergoing coronary CT angiography (CCTA) - a
non-invasive method that allows you to see coronary atherosclerotic
features, including plaque composition.

"Arterial plaque is a hallmark of cardiovascular disease and increases
your risk of all-cause mortality, so clearly, anything that increases
calcification and stiffening of your arteries is wisely avoided. And
statins seem to fall into this category.

"These disturbing findings come right on the heels of another study
published in the journal Diabetes Care,2 which discovered that type 2
diabetics with advanced atherosclerosis who are frequent statin users
have significantly higher amounts of coronary artery calcification
compared to less frequent users of the drug.

"Furthermore, in a subgroup of participants who initially were not
receiving statins, progression of both coronary artery calcification as
well as abdominal aortic artery calcification was significantly
increased when they began frequent statin use."

I don't think you can conclude much at all. While it is true that
calcification is a serious abnormality and is associated with very poor
cardiovascular health - this is an observational study. These people
are all sick already, so the most that can be said is that statins do
not arrest all of the problems associated with being sick and thus
"needing" statins in the first place.

Furthermore, the Cochrane Collection, the closest thing we have to an
impartial interpreter of the mixed scientific results on statins, has
already made a strong case that the only folks who can improve their all
cause mortality rates are those who are under age 65 and have previously
diagnosed heart disease. IOW - by their research, statins are a no win
as a long term, primary prevention strategy, although they are used for
that purpose quite commonly.

As Dr. M's writer reports, there are significant potential side effects
from statin use - and frankly, little reason to believe they would be
effective. But studies like the ones cited above just can't show
causality - no matter how much we might like to believe that they do.
That's not to say that if I was a diabetic taking a statin that I would
ignore the results of a study like these - they should be frightening
for anyone who thinks a statin is a magic bullet.

Most importantly, the vast majority of folks who have a lipid profile
that might prompt an MD to recommend statin usage can correct that
rapidly with carbohydrate restriction (the side effect of which is
appetite reduction, glycemic control, and weight loss). Eat meat, eggs
and vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch and no

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