Heart disease and related cardiovascular diseases claim nearly half a million lives in this country each year. With those kinds of numbers it’s no wonder doctors and medical researchers have grasped onto a pharmaceutical to fight this killer. Unfortunately not enough doctors consider the dangers of statin drugs when they choose to prescribe them.
Statin drugs like Lipitor are the most-prescribed drugs in the country. Statins work by inhibiting your body’s natural cholesterol production. And make no mistake, they do work to lower cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol levels can mean a lower risk of heart attack for people who have cardiovascular disease. (Folks who don’t likely shouldn’t be on a statin in the first place!)
But there are some questions about the safety of statins. Two of these questions are very important to your health.
First, what are the risks of taking statins?
Second, is there a better, safer way to fight heart disease?
3 serious dangers of statin drugs
Nothing in life in free. That’s especially true of drugs.
Most pharmaceuticals work by altering your body’s natural chemical processes. They come with a price—sometimes a high price—in the form of other health risks.
Statin drugs are no exception.
When you begin taking a statin, you face three primary risks.
1. Liver Damage:
Statin drugs can affect liver function. If they do and you continue to take them, they can damage your liver.
Your doctor should monitor your liver function through blood tests.
2. Muscle Weakness:
Statin drugs inhibit the process of cholesterol function in the body. They also disrupt your body’s production of coenzyme Q10. Without adequate CoQ10, your muscles won’t function as well. You may feel achy or weak.
This is a common side affect of statins, but it can lead to a much more serious condition, so let your doctor know about any muscle pain.
3. Cognitive Decline:
This isn’t a well-known affect of statins, but for some people, they cause a loss of mental clarity. In other words..
- They can make you forgetful.
- They can make it hard for you to make decisions.
- They can impair your ability to perform complex tasks.
In some cases, they can even affect your ability to do your job.
Safer ways to fight heart disease
Now let me just say, that while I prefer natural alternatives to dangerous drugs, there are situations that call for treatment with drugs. I’ve met patients in such a dangerous health situation, that I determined statins were necessary for a time.
I think responsible doctors seek to treat these situations with the lowest effective dose of drugs possible for as short a time as possible. That means I work with my patients to remove their need for the drug. In other words, I try to find natural solutions to replace the drug as soon as I can.
In the case of heart disease, I work with my patients to change their diet, improve their lifestyle, and add in natural supplements that have proven to safely fight heart disease.
The two supplements that every person at risk for or dealing with heart disease should take are omega-3 fatty acids and CoQ10.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
The best source of this supplement is fish oil capsules or cod liver oil. Omega-3s help your heart to keep a normal, steady rhythm, they reduce the risk of death from a heart attack, and they lower other risk factors like triglycerides, blood pressure, and inflammation.
2. Coenzyme Q10:
Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body. Muscles need CoQ10.
CoQ10 improves the function of the endothelial lining—that’s the membrane in your arteries that helps them to relax. It improves the function of your heart. And it reduces oxidative stress.
If you and your doctor determine you should take a statin, it’s important to take CoQ10, too, since statins lower your natural level of CoQ10.
Heart disease is a dangerous and prevalent disease. You have to decide with the help of your doctor what the best treatment is for you.
It’s important to know the risks and the safe alternatives, so that you can make the best-informed decision possible.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D. is director and founder of the Institute for Anti-Aging in South Florida. For the past 15 years he has combined modern medicine with nutrition, exercise, and physiology to create a natural program for healthier living.
Dr. Rosenberg received his undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania and graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He then completed his residency in emergency medicine in San Antonio, Texas at Brooke Army Medical Center, where he won the award of “Teacher and Resident of the Year.”
In 1997, Dr. Rosenberg became a diplomate of the American College of Anti-Aging Medicine. He has since become a highly sought-after speaker and lectures frequently on topics such as integrative cancer therapy and anti-aging medicine. In 2009, Dr. Rosenberg will be regularly lecturing in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Dr. Rosenberg has published a physician’s guide to the treatment of drug toxicities and served as a consultant to several hospitals for the treatment of drug overdoses. In addition to drug research, he is avidly involved in supplement research, and has served as the Chief Science Officer for several supplement companies including VitalMax Vitamins.
Dr. Rosenberg has spent much of his time over the past few years studying cancer. He has developed a novel protocol that integrates standard chemotherapeutic regimens with non-toxic natural supplemental regimens. Dr. Rosenberg was featured on Fox News for inducing remission in a patient with cancer that had spread from the lungs to the liver and spine. Wake Forest University is now studying this protocol.
Dr. Rosenberg is a regular contributor, and one of the experts that can be found on HealthyAnswers.com.
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