Hello My Friends
Welcome To The Vitality Project!
As a professional health coach concerned with the health and well-being of my clients it is my intention to improve your well-being and longevity by using the principles of nutrition, fitness, diet, lifestyle dynamics, and anti-aging medicine.
The latest recommendations of the Amercian Heart and Stroke Associations and The American College of Cardiology guidelines were recently published. Those guidelines included new recommendations to reduce the risk of atherosclerotic heart disease in Americans by the treatment of high cholesterol. The recommendation is to give more Americans statin drugs which are designed to lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Now, currently, statin drugs are the most commonly prescription drug filled in the US and Canada with over 10 billion in direct costs.
At this time, approximately 40 million Americans are taking a statin drug, many thousands in Canada. Many of these people are over the age of 40. The new recommendation essentially doubles the number of people in the US who would be taking this family of drugs such as Lipitor, Zocor or Crestor. The new recommendation would include approximately 33 million Americans without heart disease but who have a 7.5 % risk or higher of experiencing a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years.
This guideline replaces the previous one written in 2002 which recommended that people with a 10 year risk profile over 20 % consider statin treatment. The people targeted in this guideline include the following groups: people without heart disease aged 40-75 who have 7.5 % risk or higher of suffering a heart attack or stroke, people with a history of heart disease or stroke, adults over 21 with very high LDL cholesterol and people who have diabetes and are 40-75 years of age.
There are two distinct groups of people who are included in this guideline, those who are thought to benefit from the primary prevention of a heart attack or stroke by the use of a statin drug and those who have a disease and need secondary prevention of further disease complications by the use of a statin drug.
The new guidelines for primary prevention are based upon new and revised calculations of disease risk over 10 years and now include a much wider population of people. In order for this to be an effective strategy, large groups of people would have to be treated for 10 years to decrease the incidence of a heart attack or stroke in a few of them only. For instance; this groups of people could include white females over 60 who smoke and have high blood pressure. Would it not make more sense to focus upon smoking cessation strategies for these folks?
The research regarding the use of a statin drug to prevent a dangerous vascular event (not death) in an otherwise healthy population is scanty at best. You also must consider the total effect of risk of the treatment verses potential harms relative to other forms of prevention.
The previous research for primary prevention indicates that lifestyle interventions like, diet, supplements, stress reduction and exercise are more effective than drug therapy and safer. The side-effects for statin drugs are also under-reported and underestimated in the literature so it may be a much better option for Americans to understand their 10 year risk profile and plan to reduce their own particular profile with changes in lifestyle.
In my opinion, you can safely and adequately lower your own individual risk profile for cardiovascular disease by changing your lifestyle, taking a few inexpensive supplements like fish oil and being pro-active in the areas of stress-reduction, alcohol consumption and smoking cessation.
In those people who need secondary prevention, the use of a statin drug makes better sense under certain circumstances as this drug can help these groups of patients. However, in my view, a combined approach involving lifestyle intervention and medical management is the most effective one to consider.
Remember….your quality of life is the measurement of successful living regardless of your age.
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project