Sunday, May 20, 2012

High Cholesterol

Lately, I have had lots of patients complaining about side effects of cholesterol medication. Some of these effects include muscle pain, tenderness and weakness, widespread swelling and inflammation, skin rashes, stomach pain, constipation, fatigue, unusual bleeding, bruising and many other symptoms. When I was a student in chiropractic school 25 years ago, the magic number for overall cholesterol levels was 300. Now the level is 200 or lower. Millions of people are taking cholesterol drugs and they are also being prescribed to children whose levels are not in the 200 or lower range. I think it is about time to dispel a few myths. First, the facts. Cholesterol is neither good or bad. It is what it is. Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. It's main function is to manufacture cell tissue linings, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help the body digest fat. Cholesterol is essential for neurological function and even serves a purpose in the formation of memories. HDL cholesterol is the High Density Lipoprotein that keeps cholesterol from building up in your arteries. LDL cholesterol is the Low Density Lipoprotein that can build up in the arteries and cause heart disease. In addition to HDL and LDL, triglycerides and lipoprotein {a} levels are factored in the total overall cholesterol number. Triglycerides are the dangerous fats that contribute to heart disease and lipoprotein {a} is a combination of LDL with another protein molecule. High levels of lipoprotein {a} is considered one of the strongest risk factors for heart disease, yet most doctors rarely check your body's blood levels for this serum level. The total, overall cholesterol number is not a good indicator for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone's total level be below 200, but what they don't tell you is that unless your cholesterol level is above 330 it is useless for determining your risk for heart disease. For a more accurate guideline as to your heart disease risk, divide your HDL by your overall cholesterol number. It should be above 24 percent. In addition, divide your triglyceride level into your HDL level. It should be below 2 for less heart disease risk. The big question, is why do "they" keep lowering the cholesterol level guidelines and who actually are "they?" Eight out of the nine doctors on the cholesterol guideline panel are making money from the drug companies that manufacture the cholesterol lowering drugs. Ka-ching!! To make matters worse, there is absolutely zero evidence that getting your bad cholesterol level (LDL) below 100 will decrease your risk of heart disease. Yet, the American Heart Association continues to recommend that the LDL number should be below 100. Sadly, the standard medical way of doing that almost always includes drugs. It is not even known if the drugs actually even prevent heart attacks. According to the ads for a popular cholesterol medication, Lipitor, Lipitor reduces the risk of heart attack by 39-60%*. The little * asterisk when followed to the small print says that in their drug study 3% of the people taking a sugar pill had a heart attack and 2% of the people taking Lipitor had a heart attack. This means that taking Lipitor for three years in this study resulted in just one fewer person having a heart attack out of every 100 people on the medication. The other 99 people got to spend a lot of money and have possible side effects. The key to healthy cholesterol ratios, not total cholesterol levels, lies in diet and exercise. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables, less sugar, zero smoking and plenty of healthy fats from olive, fish, and coconut oils. Everyone with a cholesterol issue needs to read the following article, The Truth About High Cholesterol at the following link:
Thought for the Week: I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol. ~Author Unknown 
Chiropractic Thought for the Week: Conway, Arkansas chiropractor, Dr. Christine Hurley, provides monthly presentations on natural treatments for children at Hurley Chiropractic and Wellness Center. Dr. Hurley says that recent warnings from scientists and doctors about drug therapies in children have many parents seeking out alternative treatments. She and her fellow chiropractors at the center regularly treat children suffering from recurrent ear infections and the symptoms of ADHD, as well as infants with colic and children who suffer back pain from personal injuries. Dr. Hurley says chiropractic care has helped many children overcome personal injuries and common childhood ailments. "Keeping a child's spine aligned helps his or her nervous system work to heal infections and injuries naturally. This helps children who need rehabilitation from playground injuries, back pain, and other growing pains. We also successfully treat children who suffer ear infections over and over again, and children who struggle with ADHD. We use very precise, gentle, comfortable adjustments and the kids and their parents are very pleased with the results." ~ Global Newswire