Dr. Oz: Should You Take A Statin?
An estimated 56 million Americans could be taking statins right now. But Dr. Oz said that some doctors think the medication might be the most over-prescribed drug in America.
Statins were first introduced 27 years ago and have been hailed as a wonderful drug for heart attack prevention. These drugs quickly reduce heart-threatening LDL cholesterol and may even raise the good cholesterol, HDL. The American Heart Association made headlines last year when it recommended that anyone with any major heart disease risk factor like high blood pressure or diabetes should take a statin, even people with normal cholesterol.
If doctors take this recommendation, the number of statin prescriptions could jump by 13 million, making almost half of all American adults aged 40 to 75 eligible for the prescription. But is this a good idea? There’s a big debate in the medical community about the possible risks of statins.
Dr. Oz: Who Should Take a Statin?
Preventive cardiologist Dr. John Kennedy said he prescribes statins to people who have high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of premature coronary artery disease, tobacco use, or with known coronary artery disease or a previous heart attack.
He said the best studies we have are the randomized clinical trials that suggest statins prevent first time heart attacks. He said statins strengthen the blood vessel wall and prevents the wall from tearing or breaking, which is the ultimate cause of heart attacks.
Dr. Oz: Are There Side Effects To Statins?
Dr. Kennedy said the media has sensationalize the side effects. He said most of the time, things like brain fog aren’t from the statin. He urged people to not go off of it until they talk to their doctor.
Dr. Oz: Lifestyle Advice
Dr. Kennedy said the first thing he talks to patients about is lifestyle factors. Dr. Oz said that he’s afraid people think if they take a statin they’ll think they don’t have to eat healthy because the statin will take care of the problem. Dr. Kennedy said anyone prescribing a statin shouldn’t be sending that message.
He said people with heart disease should exercise regularly, eat right, and reduce stress. Stress is particular important, because the more stress we’re under, the more likely we’ll eat poorly.