Last month, I told you that the new statin drug guidelines made me “giddy.” And that statement might have surprised you, since I never write anything positive about these cholesterol-lowering drugs.
So, why did I write that?
Well, as I reported last month, the new guidelines are so preposterous, so outlandish, so asinine. They’ve made just about everyone–even mainstream experts–raise their eyebrows and think, well now they have finally gone too far.
And that’s exactly what did happen.
Today, roughly a quarter of Americans age 45 and older take statins to treat high cholesterol. But the expert panel from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) said that number just isn’t high enough. And with their new guidelines, millions more American men and women will “qualify” to start taking these poisonous drugs. And up to a billion worldwide.
As I expected, this put the AHA/ACC in the direct line of fire. And the latest attack comes from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE).
Endocrinologists specialize in hormones and metabolism. They also know the importance of cholesterol in the body. So, I wasn’t surprised to hear they rejected these new guidelines.
This organization says the AHA/ACC guidelines won’t help their patients in the long run. They say statin therapy isn’t appropriate for patients who are at real risk of heart disease. They say heart disease is a more complex problem today. Compared to 50 years ago. And today, their patients with heart disease usually have Type II diabetes and other metabolic disorders too. But by singling out high cholesterol, we miss the forest for the trees.
Plus, they say the new guidelines focus exclusively on older data from randomized clinical trials. And they ignore new studies published since 2011. Of course, they might have ignored these newer studies for a reason. Many of them showed no benefit to lowering cholesterol with a statin drug.
The AACE says the AHA/ACC panel manipulated their findings based upon this outmoded data. Specifically, the panel didn’t use data for the whole U.S. population. Only a small segment of the population. Yet, they drew sweeping conclusions. And want the new guidelines applied to the entire U.S. population.
Lastly, the AACE faults the new guidelines for using the outdated body mass index (BMI). I never recommend using this ineffective tool. Especially for something as important as deciding if a patient should take a statin drug.
So, what should you do when the “experts” disagree?
Since we have to pick sides, go with the endocrinologists. They look at how the body works as a whole. And as an interconnected system.
They also know that every cell in the human body needs cholesterol. And when your body doesn’t have enough cholesterol, it simply makes more. Plus, as I told you last week, cholesterol is also an essential component of many hormones. Including estrogen, testosterone, and cortisone.
Studying the human body is a complicated business. And I simply refuse to give (or take) health advice based on what some mathematical formula spits out at me. And apparently, American endocrinologists also refuse to do that.
Of course, President Harry Truman used to wish for one-armed “experts.” Because they were always telling him, “on the one hand, this” and “on the other hand, that.”
Hopefully, your personal doctor is a “one-armed” expert. Who sides squarely against the foolish new statin guidelines.
1. “Endocrinology Group Rejects New AHA/ACC CVD Guidelines,” Medscape (www.medscape.com), December 13, 2013