Should we prescribe cholesterol lowering drugs for prevention of cardiovascular disease?
Calgary - Cholesterol lowering statin medications have been widely used to prevent heart disease. However, using statins can have side effects, including memory loss, muscle problems and increased diabetes risk. The Heart Fit Clinic uses advanced blood tests that are not available at physicians' offices to truly determine the need for statin medication.
A new study in the American Journal of Physiology -- Cell Physiology explains why statins are more beneficial in some cases than others and highlights the importance of weighing individual risk when considering statins as a preventive measure.
"We are a big fan of using cardiovascular medications early in the disease process, however for preventing cardiovascular disease there must be other cardiovascular markers to consider." says Diamond Fernandes, director of Calgary's Heart Fit Clinic.
Standard Cholesterol Testing has been around for 40 years but only offers part of the picture, leaving many people with “normal” cholesterol numbers unaware that they are still at risk for a heart attack. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) introduced new risk factors that are responsible for many individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease. Over 50 percent of people with cardiovascular disease have normal cholesterol. The Heart Fit Clinic looks at key biomarkers and particle size of the lipoprotein to truly determine cardiovascular risk.
Cholesterol comes in different shapes and sizes. This simple testing offered by the Heart Fit Clinic evaluates LDL and HDL particle numbers and size - a test that is unfortunately not covered by Canada's healthcare system but could help people nip the disease process in the bud. Large is good and small is bad. Small contributes to the plaque in your arteries but without this specific test, those with small particle size would be none the wiser.
Even if individuals are at risk the Heart Fit Clinic takes a holistic, integrative approach to prevent and reverse heart disease versus having them see their family doctor for a statin medication. This holistic approach includes exercise, nutrition, stress management and key heart health supplements. If people want to get healthy without taking a cholesterol lowering medication like statins they can with a tailored program from the Heart Fit Clinic. This also includes External Counterpulsation treatment, known as ECP or EECP.