Episode: Medicine & Cholesterol: Do You Need It?

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Medicine & Cholesterol: Do You Need It?
medicine-and-cholesterolIf you have high cholesterol, are you prepared to take medication for the rest of your life?

For every 100 patients who are taking a statin to lower their cholesterol, only two of them are getting benefits.

Yes, two. Out of 100.

Stated simply, 98% of all high-cholesterol patients are getting zero benefits from the statin that they take every day. So, why do doctors prescribe this medication so often?

Most doctors gets paid on performance, and if their patients have a certain LDL number (which, technically, statins can help achieve) they then have the motivation to get them the money behind that "success."  

In addition, Dr. Kaskel explains that the guidelines that tell doctors who should and should not be treated with statin medication for high cholesterol are written by doctors. Although you'd like to think that your doctor has your best interest at heart, in Kaskel's opinion, it's very hard for them to do that when they are actually being paid by the same people who want you to be medicated: the drug companies.

How does Dr. Kaskel determine whether or not his patients should be on a statin? He relies on certain risk factors.

Here are the ones to pay attention to:

  • What part of your body gets into his exam room first? If it's your belly, pay attention this is a risk factor.
  • If you have high blood pressure. This is damaging and you should pay attention.
  • Do you smoke? If you do, pay attention.

The take-away from this is to encourage you to do your research and see if you need statins to lower your cholesterol. Plus, have a conversation with your doctor; because even if you have high cholesterol, it doesn't necessarily mean you should be taking a statin every day for the rest of your life.

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