Dr Oz: Should You Take A Statin?
Dr Oz shared that most medical experts will agree that statins can be a powerful tool in your arsenal to fight cardiovascular disease and stroke. Statins lower artery-clogging cholesterol in your blood by reducing the amount of cholesterol produced by your liver. But there are concerns about side effects, because research has shown that statins have been linked to liver damage and muscle pain. They could also increase blood sugar levels, which could cause diabetes. Some patients even report memory loss and confusion after taking the drug.
Dr Oz: Don’t Use Statins As A Band-Aid
Dr Oz had three rules you need to know before you take a statin. Rule number one is to never use statins as a band-aid for heart disease. He was joined by Nicole, Sherry, and Kristen, who were all prescribed statins. Nicole has been taking them for a year for high cholesterol, and had a relative that died young of heart disease. Dr Oz said having a relative who died young of cardiovascular disease is the number one predictor that high cholesterol could be an issue. He said it’s pretty clear that Nicole should be on a statin.
Sherry was prescribed a statin about 10 years ago, even though her cholesterol was borderline, because of high blood pressure. Dr Oz said that happens a lot of because high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. Kristen was prescribed the drug because she’s a type-2 diabetic and says she would rather control her health through diet and exercise, rather than be on medication for the rest of her life.
Dr Oz then wanted to explain why statins are not a quick fix for all types of heart disease. Statins mainly target cholesterol, but there are other things that cause heart disease. While cholesterol is, high blood pressure and high blood sugar aren’t effectively treated with a statin. He said taking statins give people a false sense of security. He said high blood pressure and high blood sugar are still time bombs, dependent of your high cholesterol.
Dr Oz: Try Lifestyle Changes First
Rule number two is that you should tell your doctor you want to try lifestyle changes for three months before taking a statin. Dr Oz welcomed Dr Holly Andersen, who said that people who have had established heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes, or those with multiple high risk factors should be on a statin. She said lifestyle trumps medicine, and medicine is used an addition to a healthy lifestyle to help us fight disease and live longer. “Physical activity is the fountain of youth,” she said.
She also said it’s not just about what you weigh, but what you eat. As for what you should be eating, Dr Andersen said a lot of people get confused thinking the oat bran muffin or even their instant oatmeal is healthy for them, when in reality it can be loaded with sugar and salt. She said to stick with regular steel cut oatmeal or oat bran that is high in soluble fiber. You can pair it with an orange to help you lower cholesterol and fight disease as well as the aging process. Enjoying healthy oatmeal with a side of Vitamin C can lower your LDL Cholesterol by 10-15%.
Also, Dr Andersen recommended at least two servings of fish every week. Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids to prevent heart attacks and strokes. She likes almonds and walnuts as well, saying that people who eat nuts regularly live longer with less heart disease.
Dr Oz: Weigh Risks Against Benefits
Finally, always weigh the risks against the benefits of taking a statin. Dr Andersen said if you’re at moderate to low risk of heart disease, talk to your doctor about the overall risks. She said doctors are now using imaging technology to look at the arteries in people’s necks and hearts to see if there is any plaque.