Recently on “The Nature of Things” with David Suzuki, they explored the history of cholesterol, how cholesterol has been seen in the past and what researchers are finding out now.
The following is an excerpt:
“Cholesterol. For almost 50 years, the word has evoked fear.
When people started dropping dead in alarming numbers after WWII, a massive investigation was launched, and it wasn’t long before this essential bodily substance was targeted as a primary suspect. Big industries jumped at the chance to help us put it behind bars. First it was trendy low-fat and low-cholesterol diets and food products. Then came cholesterol-lowering medications like statins – now amongst the best-selling drugs in the history of medicine. More than any other risk factor, cholesterol has loomed large in the public imagination.
It always seemed like a simple equation. Cholesterol is found in the plaques in our artery walls where heart attacks begin. People with heart disease tend to have higher levels of the “bad” LDL cholesterol. So lowering bad cholesterol seemed to make sense.
But surprising facts remain: Roughly 50 percent of those admitted to hospital for heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol levels. Many people with high cholesterol have healthy hearts.
How much do we really know about cholesterol? Have our attempts to lock this culprit up been misguided?
While great progress has been made in the fight against heart disease, it is not clear that lowering cholesterol with statins has been the major factor. Scientists are now worried that increases in diabetes and obesity are the things that will trigger a new surge in heart attacks.”
One of the key points in this documentary is the differing opinions of how to manage or handle the effects not so much of cholesterol, but inflammation. There are those who support using drugs like statins to reduce the level of inflammation in the general population. In other words, using statins as a preventative measure. Then there are those who support a more natural means of reducing the effects of inflammation, namely a change in lifestyle.
What this disagreement comes down to is this: People who don’t take responsibility for their own health and health choices will likely vote for statins. Those who want to take charge of their own health, make lifestyle changes will avoid taking drugs like statins. On one hand you have people thinking and behaving like “I can eat, drink and do whatever I want, I don’t have to think about my health, I don’t have to be proactive.” This can only lead to greater health care costs and a greater reliance on the disease care system that our taxes fund.
An empowered people is beneficial for the whole country, something that we used to know better; Empowered not only with knowledge, but also with wisdom. What good is an internet, filled with more knowledge than we’ve ever known, if we don’t apply the knowledge to the utmost benefit?
The only way to move forward as a society, as a species on this planet, is to access our wisdom, and that access starts with taking charge of our health, taking charge of our lives. It means, taking the power to make our own health decisions, rather than leaving it up to external authorities. It starts with each and everyone of us,
To watch the documentary click here: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/the-cholesterol-question
To find out more about statins, click here: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/features/statins-question-and-answers