Upon learning that the cardiologist I was going to see is a statin advocate, my hopes of never having to be on statin went down the toilet. It was first recommended to me by my primary doctor that I might need to consider taking statin due to a borderline high result (200 mg/dL).
Even though I have been able to get my cholesterol down to 170 via whole food, plant-based nutrition and intense exercise, and I am fit and have normal blood pressure, that visit with my primary care doctor brought statin into the conversation. After sensing my hesitation and not wanting to be the one to ultimately make the call, my primary doctor referred me to a cardiologist (the one who is a statin advocate), and I went through with the visit. It seemed like a quick protocol visit, because the end result was me walking out with a prescription in hand.
So, now I’m left with this big question.
Do I really need to be taking statins?
Statins is one of the most widely prescribed drugs worldwide. Most medical guidelines recommend the use of statins for people with no history of symptoms when their expected risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years is 7.5 to 10 percent.
So now I am asking myself, “Is there a 10% expected risk that I will develop cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years?” If so, then modern medicine says I need to be taking statins. This is what has been determined to be the safest bet if one wants to avoid a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.
But what about the statins side effects? What are they, and are they worth taking statins?
What if my proactive heart healthy nutrition and my HIIT exercise habits exclude me from this percentage? Do I still have to replace or supplement my healthy, proactive choices with statins?
Obviously, at this point, I have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. I do have a second opinion scheduled, and it is my understanding that this cardiologist is a "lifestyle first and statins second” protocol doctor. One thing I am already learning from this experience is that we truly do have to be our own greatest advocate when it comes to our health.
So begins my own research for my own health and knowledge.
To help with my research, the first book I will be reading is The Truth about Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs by Barbara H Roberts MD. She is a cardiologist, so I think this will be a good resource. I’ll let you know in future blogs what I think about the book and what wisdom I have gained.
In the meantime, are you taking control of your own health? Or are you simply allowing your doctor to tell you what they think you should do based on protocol?