Cholesterol Meds and Diabetes

I consider the benefits of most medications used to lower cholesterol (called “statin medications”) to be modest at best in those without known heart disease (called “primary prevention”). These medications lower heart attack death risk by less than 2%. To put this in perspective, having optimal thyroid levels, even when normal, is associated with a 69% lower risk of heart attack death. Even owning a cat is associated with a 30% lower risk. Despite these minimal benefits, the relatively high expense (costing the health care system over $12 billion a year), and the aggravating pain and fatigue that accompanies their use in some patients, they are being heavily pushed — even being heavily marketed to pediatricians now.

I consider the benefits of most medications used to lower cholesterol (called “statin medications”) to be modest at best in those without known heart disease (called “primary prevention”). These medications lower heart attack death risk by less than 2%. To put this in perspective, having optimal thyroid levels, even when normal, is associated with a 69% lower risk of heart attack death.  Even owning a cat is associated with a 30% lower risk.  Despite these minimal benefits, the relatively high expense (costing the health care system over $12 billion a year), and the aggravating pain and fatigue that accompanies their use in some patients, they are being heavily pushed — even being heavily marketed to pediatricians now.


I suspect this would not be happening if the medications were not so profitable, as controlling high blood pressure, decreasing excess sugar intake, exercising, stopping smoking and even eating fish are likely more heart protective than the medications — but simply less profitable.


Now a major new meta analysis using data from 13 clinical trials with 91,140 participants shows these medications are associated with a 9% increased risk of developing diabetes.


It is a good idea, of course, to follow your doctor’s advice. But it’s also OK to recognize that they are being targeted with massive amounts of drug company promotion, including conferences described by some as “advertisements masquerading as scientific activities.”

If you have a known heart problem, the benefits of these medications go way up. If not, it is OK to ask your doctor if improving diet,  avoiding sugar, exercising, eating oily fish (tuna and salmon 3-4x week) and stopping smoking may be more beneficial.

66 Clever Ways to Keep Your Road Trip Healthy

From road trip food to on-the-go health hacks, here's all you need to have a safe vacation from city to city.

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip! But do you wonder how you can stay healthy with all the fast food and potential health issues along the way? Things can go downhill for everyone pretty quickly. Here are 66 clever and easy tips for keeping the trip on track for health and fun.

1. Pack Compact Snacks to Avoid Overeating

Reuse a cleaned creamer bottle or fill up a new tackle box with healthy bites like nuts, seeds, berries, dried fruit, and granola. This way, you'll cut down on multiple snack bags and boxes and won't over-indulge because you can only have a small handful at a time.

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