The Tide Turns: Top Docs Speak Out About Heart Health

  • Nature's Source

Readers might expect that concerning heart health cardiologist would be stalwarts of the low-fat, cholesterol-focused, statin enhanced approach to treatment. However, times are changing and there are an increasing number of prominent cardiology physicians who have publicly broken with the official Party Line. When considering your own treatment options weigh with respect the thoughts of one-time medical insiders.

 

Aseem Malhotra, MD.

Aseem Malhotra, interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London, says scientific evidence shows that advice to reduce saturated fat intake “has paradoxically increased our cardiovascular risks.” And he says the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol “has led to the over-medication of millions of people with statins and has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidemia” (an unfavorable ratio of blood fats). – British Medical Journal Tuesday, October 22, 2013. http://www.bmj.com/press-releases/2013/10/22/observations-saturated-fat-not-major-issue

 

Dr Malhotra, says the "mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades". He says saturated fat has been "demonised" and any link with heart disease is not fully supported by scientific evidence. BBC, 22 October 2013  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24625808

 

Eric Topal, MD

Eric Topal a well-known cardiologist and professor of genomics at Scripps Research Institute, has broken ranks with many other heart doctors tonight with a New York Times Op-Ed in which he says many patients might want to reconsider their use of statins such as Lipitor, Crestor, and Zocor in light of the risk that these drugs might cause diabetes. Forbes 3/04/2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2012/03/04/top-cardiologist-argues-we-should-dial-back-on-statins-because-of-diabetes-risk/

“More than 20 million Americans take statins. That would equate to 100,000 new statin-induced diabetics. Not a good thing for the public health and certainly not good for the individual affected with a new serious chronic illness.

If there were a major suppression of heart attacks or strokes or deaths, that might be justified. But in patients who have never had heart disease and are taking statins to lower their risk (so-called primary prevention), the reduction of heart attacks and other major events is only 2 per 100. And we don’t know who the 2 per 100 patients are who benefit or the one per 200 who will get diabetes! Moreover, the margin of benefit to risk is quite narrow.” Eric Topal, NYT, March 4, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/opinion/the-diabetes-dilemma-for-statin-users.html?_r=0

 

Malcolm Kendrick, MD

Scottish physician, long associated with the European Society of Cardiology

 

 “Not only do statins cause terrible side effects, such as severe muscle pain and weakness, hair loss, depression and impotence, but they actually have very little impact on whether you succumb to heart disease. I say it’s better to eat healthily and do more exercise.

What’s more, numerous major studies clearly point to the fact that high cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease – in fact, people with it live longer! For the majority of people, statins provide no benefits and cost a huge amount of money.” The Mirror, Jan. 29 2014.http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/what-doctors-wont-do-take-1560972#ixzz2sHO5JPd4 

 

Mario Garcia, MD

Chief of Cardiology, Montefiore Medical Center, New York

“We are treating a larger pool of patients who probably don’t need statin therapy because we don’t know which patients will go on to develop heart disease, but we’re probably not treating enough patients who will have cardiac events because they don’t have traditional risk factors.

“It does trouble me,” he concedes, “because, in many cases, we’re guessing.” In the face of so much uncertainty, what’s a patient to do?” The Doctor’s Tablet, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, March 18, 2012. http://blogs.einstein.yu.edu/why-doctors-are-overusing-statins-and-what-patients-should-do-to-reduce-risk/

Kerryn Phelps, MD

past president of the Australian Medical Association

Reconsider statins, urges former AMA boss. Past AMA president Professor Kerryn Phelps has advised the public via Twitter to consider stopping their statins on the back of an ABC program savaging the drugs.  Professor Phelps (pictured) was tweeting while watching part two of a Catalyst series called Heart of the Matter Part 2: Cholesterol Drug War, which claimed that both the medical profession and the public had been duped into believing that statins were essential for preventing death from heart disease. Among a series of tweets to her 13,000 followers: “If you are on a statin, particularly if you do not have heart disease, you are female or elderly, ask your doctor about ceasing it”. Australian Doctor, Nov. 1, 2013 http://www.australiandoctor.com.au/news/latest-news/reconsider-statins-urges-former-ama-boss

Barbara Roberts, MD

Patients should proceed with caution when considering statins, says Dr. Barbara Roberts, director of the Women's Cardiac Center at Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island, and author of a called The Truth About Statins.

Studies haven't shown that statins help women who don't already have heart disease, even if they have risk factors like obesity and family history, she says. That's compared to a recent that found a 30 percent reduction in heart attacks in people who follow a Mediterranean diet. "You can get just as much benefit from following the Mediterranean diet as you can from statins," she says.

And long-term statin use may cause nerve damage, Roberts says. That damage often reverses, she says, but the process can take months. "I have two patients who wound up bedridden from biopsy-proven neuropathy due to statins; both improved but never returned to normal strength." Health News from NPR, Apr.3 2013. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/04/03/176145911/side-effects-prompt-patients-to-stop-statins-cholesterol

Jim M. Wright, MD

Professor in the Department of Anesthesia, Pharmacology, & Therapeutics, UBC.

 

“There’s no lifesaving benefit to statins for people without heart disease when you look at deaths from all causes in the less biased trials,” said Jim M. Wright, MD, PhD. University of British Columbia. “The number of people who died in the placebo group was the same as the number of people who died in the statin group.”… “All but one of the statin trials were funded by companies that make statin drugs,” answered Dr. Wright. “In the safety data it appears the authors were only looking for muscle damage. When they didn’t find much, they concluded the drugs are really safe.” Centre for Medical Consumers, http://medicalconsumers.org/2010/10/07/statins-dont-work/