Let’s face it. If you are willing to make changes, managing cardiac risk factors is a piece of cake (or rather…avoiding that piece of cake…). Lifestyle changes are not difficult, but require commitment. Society does not easily support healthy lifestyle and requires a shift from what you’ve been doing. But the payoffs are massive for you and your family.
I continue to contend that lifestyle changes are the ONLY way to manage chronic diseases. Maybe if we did not live under the false pretense that, because our “numbers” look better (cholesterol, HbA1c, blood pressure, blood glucose, etc…), we’ve dodged the bullet of early death. I cannot stress enough that this is just not true. We live in a society dominated by surrogate end markers. We think that because our cholesterol has magically been lowered by the coveted, mystical statin that we’ve lowered our risk for a heart attack or stroke. Ok–so maybe you have, but only by a SMIDGEN (which, in medical terminology, is about 1%). This is NOT prevention, it is false hope. Lifestyle changes, on the other hand, have true global health benefits that are unquestionable.
This particular study just reinforces how pathetic “we” are when it comes to cardiac risk factors. We can’t even do it right using drugs! In shooting for lower LDL levels AND optimal CRP levels (a marker of inflammation) only 12% of the patients in this large study managed to achieve the desired numbers. You will hopefully note that they were looking at LDL levels and not total cholesterol. Hopefully, we are finally abandoning the futility of checking total cholesterol in lieu of better markers.
The authors’ suggestions? “Smoking cessation, weight reduction, and the greater use of more potent statins at higher doses might be able to improve these outcomes.” We just don’t get it. It’s almost laughable how sickeningly dependent we have become on medication to “protect” our health. Even with a society heavily dependent on meds, we still can’t get 88% of the population to target levels.