Recently, I began having pain on the left side of my neck. I asked my heart specialist for another ultrasound on my neck arteries.
The results? I have minor plaque buildup on the left side of my neck.
What did my heart specialist recommend? Cholesterol-lowering drugs.
My decision? Not now.
Why? I'm concerned about the side effects of cholesterol drugs.
According to the Mayo Clinic, cholesterol drugs can cause:
- Muscle and joint aches (most common)
Two potentially serious side effects of statins are:
- Liver damage
- Muscle problems
In addition, recent research is raising questions about the effectiveness of cholesterol drugs.
"Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?" the cover story of Business Week, January 17, 2008, stated research suggests that, except among high-risk heart patients, the benefits of statins such as Lipitor are overstated.
What am I doing to do to lower my cholesterol?
I'm on a vegetarian diet, I'm exercising more, and I'm going to find some new stress reduction techniques.
Several years ago, I interviewed Dr. Dean Ornish, who directed clinical research demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease without drugs or surgery.
Ornish's Lifestyle Modification Program to treat and prevent heart disease addresses the underlying causes of disease rather than just treating its symptoms. The components of his program are a very low-fat, whole foods diet, moderate aerobic exercise, stress management techniques, and support groups.
Learning about Ornish's work convinced me that I should try alternative medicine treatments that are more gentle for the body for heart problems, if I should ever need them.
Two of Ornish's book are:
"Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease."
"Eat More, Weigh Less."
Among the books on cholesterol drug are:
"Statin Drugs Side Effects" by Duane Graveline.
"Natural Alternatives to Lipitor, Zocor, and Other Statin Drugs: What to Use And Do to Help Lower Your Bad Cholesterol" by Jay S. Cohen.
"Hidden Truth about Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs" by Shane Ellison.