Tens of millions of people worldwide are put on statins for the purpose of lowering cholesterol levels. The assumption being that by lowering cholesterol levels, the risk of a heart attack will also be reduced. The large majority of these individuals have never had a heart attack and only have high cholesterol levels. As is well known, any drug, even one that has been proven to be effective, can have serious side effects.
The Proverbial Apple a Day
The British Medical Journal published an interesting article in its December 2013 edition comparing the benefits of a statin drug against the benefits of eating an apple a day in individuals over the age of 50 in the United Kingdom (UK). The researchers developed a computer model using data from other published studies.
The following were the results:
|Lives Saved||Diabetes Incurred||Muscle Pain|
|Apple a day||8,500||0||0|
Eating one apple a day (weighing 100 grams) can save 8,500 lives and have absolutely no negative side effects (a tiny piece of apple skin might get stuck between your teeth). A statin drug will save 9,400 lives but at the same time it will create 12,000 new cases of diabetes and cause 1,000 people to suffer from unnecessary muscle pain.
In looking at the above statistics, most people would reach the conclusion that a statin drug is of very limited net benefit – at best – when looking at the total benefit versus the total harm. In fact, giving a statin drug to individuals may actually cause more harm than good because it increases the risk of diabetes – which is currently an epidemic worldwide.
There have been studies undertaken whereby a potential patient is explained to in great detail the benefits and harms of a statin drug, and in the majority of cases the patient rejects the idea of taking a statin. Unfortunately, the large majority of physicians do not go into such details when prescribing a statin, either because they have no time or because they themselves do not know the statistics.
Health isn’t everything, but everything else is nothing without health
The time has come for each individual to take control of their own health. This can only be done when you, the patient, are as knowledgeable as, and preferably more knowledgeable than, your physician regarding any medical issues you have. The large majority of individuals can reach this level by simply investing a bit of time doing their own research from reliable sources. The time you invest will result in your living a longer and healthier life and avoiding unnecessary medical treatments.
- The British Medical Journal research: A statin a day keeps the doctor away: comparative proverb assessment modelling study
- Medical Daily: An Apple A Day Really Keeps The Doctor Away: Proverbial Fruit Rivals Statins In Mortality Model
- World’s Healthiest Foods: What’s New and Beneficial about Apples
- The NNT: Effectiveness of Stain Drugs in Individuals without Known Heart Disease