Healthy parents, healthy childrenMore and more in the news, we hear of the FDA adding new warnings on drugs, particularly on statins, the popular cholesterol lowering drugs. We ask ourselves the question, do side effects of these cholesterol lowering drugs outweigh the benefits? This particular article was written by a doctor and he rightly pleads to work with your doctor if you want to discontinue your medication.

Curiously, he says that side effects are “rare” but goes on to say that 7% of the people taking statins suffer liver damage, which reverses upon discontinuing the medication. Add that to those that suffer memory loss (not as infrequent as believed), muscle damage, impotency, diabetes, etc, and that adds up to a significant percentage of those taking it. When you consider that the number of people needed to be treated to extend the life of one person (quoted often as 1 to 200, or 0.5%), isn’t it time to seek alternative ways to reduce inflammation and reverse accumulation of plaque.

Unfortunately, we have become used to the “take a pill to feel better, get better, and go on with our lives as before” philosophy. But this really should be a wake up call to shake us out of our complacency. This is the first generation that has a shorter life expectancy than the previous generation in the United States. We are fatter now than ever, it is even running rampant in children. To me, that is the biggest tragedy. No child should be burdened with excess weight and the stigma that comes with it.

Consider gradually changing habits. Instead of parking right next to a store entrance, park further away and walk. Walk up and down stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator, take a break in the middle of the day and take a walk, even if it is around a building, block, or down the mall and back. Do it briskly. Engage children in more active play rather than seated video games, take them to the park, zoo, beach, childrens museum or on a hike. Substitute sodas with a bit of juice (100% with no sugar added) with soda water, get more fruit instead of sweets, and make some homemade protein bars that taste like cookies for treats. Drink more water.

Gradually, one habit at a time, we can reverse the trend and reduce our dependency on so many medications. In the long run, we’ll feel better, live longer, look better, and save a lot of time and money from being sick, going to the doctors, landing in the hospital, and paying for umpteen prescriptions, higher insurance rates, and for caregivers.

Ironically, this article mentions that the side effects are an inconvenience. I know people that can’t see right, can’t walk any more, and can’t remember things any more. I wouldn’t call these inconveniences, I’d call this a severe reduction in quality of life.

And now the Food and Drug Administration has insisted that new warning labels be added to all of the statin drugs that are used to lower cholesterol. New evidence indicates that these drugs rarely lead to memory loss or precipitate or aggravate

So, to answer to the question, do side effects of cholesterol lowering drugs outweigh the benefits? By simply looking at the statistics alone, I’d say it would be a resounding yes. Besides looking for a healthier lifestyle, I’d also find other ways to reduce inflammation: besides exercise, there’s antioxidant supplements, looking at allergies and getting your thyroid checked. No matter what the article says, isn’t it better to practice a healther lifestyle than to continue taking a medication that does more harm than good?

Find ways to lower cholesterol naturally in “Get Rid of Bad Cholesterol”, available on Amazon.