Cholesterol - Risk myth?

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Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by PO » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:08 am

After reading some articles re this, I started to wonder about this.

E.g. :
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jonny- ... 35487.html

MYTH: High cholesterol is the cause of heart disease.
FACT: Cholesterol is a fairly insignificant player in heart disease.

MYTH: High cholesterol is a good predictor of heart attacks.
FACT: High cholesterol is a lousy predictor of heart attacks. Half the people admitted to hospitals with heart disease have normal cholesterol, and plenty of people with elevated cholesterol have perfectly healthy hearts.

MYTH: Lowering cholesterol with statin drugs will prolong your life.
FACT: There is no data showing statins have any impact on longevity.

MYTH: Statin drugs are perfectly safe.
FACT: Statin drugs have significant side effects, including loss of memory and libido, muscle pain and fatigue, and approximately 65 percent of doctors don't report those side effects, according to a 2007 study.

MYTH: Statin drugs are appropriate for men, women, children and the elderly.
FACT: The only group in which statins have been shown to have even a modest effect is in middle-aged men who've already had a heart attack. If you're not in that group, you've got no business on a statin drug.

MYTH: Saturated fat is dangerous.
FACT: Saturated fat is mostly neutral and may even have some health benefits. A recent peer-reviewed study has shown no association between saturated fat and heart disease.

MYTH: The higher your cholesterol, the shorter your lifespan.
FACT: In the Framingham Study, the people who actually lived the longest had the highest cholesterol.

MYTH: A high-carbohydrate diet protects you from heart disease.
FACT: Diets that substitute carbohydrates for saturated fat may actually increase the risk for heart disease.

http://www.thegreatcholesterolcon.com/

http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/D ... -Wars.html etc.

What do you think?
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by Whirly » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:38 am

Ask Flymed!

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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by Rotor kop » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:57 am

Whirly wrote:Ask Flymed!

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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by PO » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:22 am

Hallo all

Thanks, but this is not a personal medical question, my cholesterol is fine :)

This is more a debate re possible disinformation being propagated by the some medical practitioners /pharmaceutical companies, but yes, let's hear Flymed's opinion as well.
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by Plane Sailing » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:52 am

Makes you wonder what is a "normal" cholesterol reading. I've also heard and read similar accounts - it seems that it isn't the cholesterol itself but a combination of inflammation and free radicals which causes the plaque build up in the arteries. The level of cholesterol is irrelevant, which is why people with low cholesterol levels still have heart attacks.

I'd love to get a proper unbiased medical view on this.
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by Flymed » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:29 am

You only need to attend one post mortem where the gunky gel and plaque mix of cholesterol has claimed a life.
The clinical and research evidence over many years is beyond any criticism and there is no doubt at all that cholesterol does play a major role in cerebro-cardio-systemic diseases.
Remember that diseases are just about always multi-factorial in origen, and no accredited researcher has ever singled cholesterol out as the sole agent of our miseries.

Dr Bowden is a dietician, and does not carry credentials as a medical expert nor researcher.
Anthony Colpo carries no credentials other than those he claims for himself
Dr Steinberg is a medical doctor and researcher, and read his articles; they are good.

Everything has side effects; water can drown you or cause death by over indulgence!
No one ever said that cholesterol medication is without side effects; actually the old dictum is that if something does not have side effects, then it does not have effects!

Cholesterol is an essential ingredient in our diets, but the Western diet has lost moderation, and therein lies the problem.
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by PO » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:33 am

Tnx Flymed :)
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by Walid » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:56 am

Extract from a book writtten by a practicing (at the time) cardiologist....
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by Walid » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:13 am

Another extract from a book written by 2 doctors...
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by Flymed » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:47 pm

Walid wrote:Another extract from a book written by 2 doctors...
Good reading! If I had the time I just might have written a book on the subject, and then there was yet another doctor to be quoted! If you read these authors you will find that they say what I gave in a nutshell: Cholesterol is not the sole culprit of our miseries; diseases are multi-factorial in origin; cholesterol is essential and our diets have little in it to be enthusiastic about.

The interaction with the diabetic cascade is well known, and as with all things I think we are now seeing an over-enthusiastic reaction regarding the insulin pathology. Hyperinsulinaemia is now diagnosed by every other guy and everyone seems to loose the fact that it is an abnormal glucose profile that is of concern in the first instance, and that the glucose profile should be the marker of disease rather than the momentary insulin level as portrayed by blood collected at a specified point in time. (It is almost as bad as the over enthusiastic and inappropriate diagnosis lately of Bipolar Mood Disorder. But this is another topic altogether) All of this I mention now, because although this is a very interesting topic of discussion the reader should realize that it is a very complex subject and sooner than later the insulin thing will surface and has to be contemplated alongside the cholesterol debate if any real sense is to be made.

This is not my field of expertize but like all doctors I am confronted by this more than once a day, every day. Get hold of M on this forum and talk to the real experts on this subject. He has been quiet lately, so wake him up, the forum needs him! :twisted:
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by happyskipper » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:08 pm

:D
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by M » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:18 pm

Sorry M has been busy and is now on leave - and has been fast asleep.

Basically Flymed has summed it up.

Remember that a lot of these studies are statistical based and one needs to bear this in mind when reading them.

Let me make an analogy

If you keep your car well serviced, and fit it with good quality tyres, and only drive it in good weather, sober, and obey all road rules, one could argue that you are at reasonably low risk of causing a car accident.

Should you, however, not service your car, often exceed the speed limit, drive drunk regularly, with bald tyres and disregard for all traffic rules, you may well find that you are at a higher risk of causing a car accident. It does not mean that you will not cause an accident by acting responsibly, nor does it mean that you will cause an accident by driving reckelssly - but you get my point that the one scenario seems more likely to have a severe consequence than the other

What we do know from the latest research we are doing (we = colleagues around the world and SA) is that patients with high cholesterol do have somewhat impaired heart function (measured by how much work the heart has to do to get blood out and the speed at which blood travels - all very technical) and that people on statins have a lower risk of inflammation in the blood vessel walls. Some statins have worse side-effects than others and I know there is a lot of work going on about this.

Basically, the big issue at the moment is the relationship between blood glucose ("sugar") and insulin, the hormone regulating a number of metabolic factors, including glucose. The main reason why people get "heart attacks" (myocardial infarctions) is due to blood vessels getting clogged up by mediators of inflammation, often caused by high glucose initiated metabolic pathways. Put some cholesterol in the mix and its a bit like putting blits in a braai - it may well go a bit quicker and better - but one can start a fire without blits if you get my drift.

It is all about a number of factors and a number of interactions of these factors. It is not an easy mixture to unravel, but to simply say cholesterol has no role to play is potentially a bit niave, in my opinion

Please feel free to ask for extra readings if you need them
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by M » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:26 pm

And I have high cholesterol, with normal blood pressure and blood glucose and no other risk factors such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. I am on a statin and quite happy on it with no side effects.
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by Flymed » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:39 pm

Thanks M, it is a great analogy! May I use it, please? [-o<
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Re: Cholesterol - Risk myth?

Unread post by M » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:29 pm

Yes of course you may :D

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