Cholesterol and heart disease myth or reality?

by greendawn 19 Replies latest jw friends

  • greendawn

    For the last 40 years the idea that cholesterol (and saturated fats) clog up the arteries and cause heart disease has predominated yet hundreds of scientists and doctors now doubt whether this is indeed the case e.g. half the people that suffer heart attacks have ?normal? cholesterol levels.

    Ideas are now drifting towards processed fats (and processed food in general) and a lack of sufficient fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet as being the real culprits along with smoking and lack of exercise.

    Pharmaceutical industries are being accused of creating and sustaining the cholesterol myth in order to make lucrative profits from selling cholesterol lowering drugs which can also have serious side effects.

    Having examined the arguments of both sides I tend to agree that cholesterol is not the real problem. Any ideas?

  • Mac

    Eat yer butter......avoid margerine

    eat yer sugar...avoid aspartame

    eat yer veggies... avoid yer doctor!!!

    mac, approaching middle age class

  • Odrade

    I've been of this persuasion for a long time. I've had high cholesterol since??? (my first test was in my mid-teens, tested over 200. My last test, this week, was 214, 80 HDL, 134 LDL, triglycerides 60 ) The high cholesterol runs on Dad's maternal side, and all of them are looooong lived and usually have died of stroke. (which is troublesome because I'm a migraine sufferer --but that's another story.) The heart-attack side of the family -Dad's paternal side don't typically have cholesterol problems, but they do have High BP.

    Bottom line, for me, who knows? There has been alot of research done that suggests that it's really plaque, not cholesterol that causes the problem, but people with Hypercholestemia could be more prone to producing plaque, with high Triglycerides being a good indicator that there is a problem developing....

    I just try to improve my odds by being active, in reasonably good shape and staying away from the fast food/junk food, sodas, etc.

  • greendawn

    Odrade even by their reckoning 214 cholesterol is nothing especially if you don't smoke.

    My mother who is 70 Y.O. and has had over 300 units for years, had a thorough heart test recently and she was totally clear. I have 240 and my doctor said you should take lipitor to reduce it but I said no way. The best way is to eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg (I love garlic BTW) avoid processed food, eat oily fish once a week and exercise. Nothing wrong with some butter, eggs, and meat. Doctors take commissions to sell lipitor and other statins.

  • Odrade

    Yep, that's what I mean. My grandmother passed away (she was in her 80s.) had chol in the high 300s and higher at times, yet her arteries were clear when she passed. She died of other causes. So those numbers... who knows exactly what they mean regarding heart health.

  • greendawn

    Whereas my neighbour himself a doctor with 160-180 cholesterol all his life, slim, and non smoker, had severe angina and heart surgery at 58 Y.O.

  • Amazing1914


    I had a massive heart attack almost three years ago. In 2002, I was told I had one year to live unless I had at least two or three quadruple by-pass operations. I had elevated Cholesterol. They found 17 clogged arteries caused by LDL, the bad cholesterol. My count was fairly low at 207 compared to the 600 to 800 they see in normal heart attack victims.

    However, it is vitally important to note that the problem is with the RATIO between LDL and HDL. Odrade noted this:

    My last test, this week, was 214, 80 HDL, 134 LDL,

    Notice that her HDL is 80. The normal healthy women will have an HDL of 50 with an LDL of under 180. A healthy man will have an HDL of 40 with an LDL under 150. Odrade's HDL is very good because it is very high compared to her LDL of 214. Whereas my HDL at the time of my heart attack was 20. Currently my HDL is 50.

    Inflamation is the other component that is a vital factor causing heart attacks. Those with high HDL, gained especially through eating a diet high in sea food, such as salmon, or taking high doese of fish oil will lower the risk of inflamation and raise HDL.

    The body normally passes most of the cholesterol it takes in, but those with heart disease must be careful about taking in too much cholesterol. The reason is that our livers tend to use and make additional cholesterol and dump it into the blood stream where it collects in the arteries. Heart disease is but one result, as there is also peripheral artery disease where cholerterol collects in the leg arteries and elseswhere.

    Statins, which I take under the label Lipitor, are very good for humans, and are proven not only to help heart patients, but also help prevent alzheimers. There are side effects, but they are not common and are easily eliminated. I have been taking Lipitor for three years, and I am doing fine. Any medicine has potential side effects. Even taking an aspirin or a common anti-biotic can be death dealing for some few people. Humans do not all respond the same way to treatments. But the risks for most people are worth it compared to the alternative of doing nothing. FDA approved drugs in the vast majority of cases have very low incidents of bad side effects, such as 1 in a million in many cases.

    Is the drug industry being greedy at our expense? Sometimes they do get careless. But largely, they understand that if a drug causes harm, they can lose everything. Also, the majority of the people who work in these industries care about helping people with good medicine. To bring a medicine to market take at least tens years at a tremendous capital cost and loads of research and testing. But, the effort most often pays off.

    Current medical science employes both modern medicine and supplemental treatments. To keep my heart healthy and avoid a by-pass operation, my doctor has me on two kinds of blood pressure medicine, Lipitor, vitimins including a small does of potassium, aspirin, and fish oil. Currently, my heart disease appears to be no longer progressing. Time will tell if I am doing the right things, but it seems so for now.

    I would never advise someone to avoid a statin simply because of certain possible side effects. Rather, they should work closely with their doctor and determine whether this is a good treatment for their body, or if they need to deal with it in other ways.

    Jim W.

  • stopthepain

    i don't care when or why i die.i'm tired of seeing commeercials and news reports about this.

  • Amazing1914


    It's not death that is at issue here. Rather, its the quality of life, or lack thereof, with respect to what we do to our bodies. Life is very precious. Every day, every hour, and every minute count.

    I too dismissed much of what is shown on TV about our health until my heart attack. However, just because you are in good health is great, but you are not the only person in this world who sees commercials. A large percentage of people watching TV or reading magazines need the information offered because it can mean their very lives.

    I see by your profile you are only 24 years old. Just wait until you are 50. Like me, and most others, still feel young in mind and heart, but we discover that time has passed by, and our bodies are wearing out. We develope a different view of life, and start doing the things we should have been doing when we were only 24 years old.

    Jim W.

  • Dan-O

    I have doubted the cholesterol risks for a long time. I always thought about my grandfathers, who ate sausages and eggs and ham and other fat & cholesterol rich foods, and who lived to their 80s. And my mother just turned 80 this week, still enjoying her eggs & biscuits & gravy in the morning.

    Mac has the right idea: eat your veggies. I hate to think of not eating those BBQ ribs & the dirty rice last night. I just make sure that I eat lots of fruits & vegetables in addition to the pork & beef & eggs & butter & whole milk & ...

    Dan-O, of the 'eat right if you want but you're gonna die anyway' class

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