"Let's Be Realistic"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012

High cholesterol has been a major medical problem focused on for the past 30 years and I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable regarding it. I have been tested, medicated for it and my wife and children inherited genetic cholesterol disease that drives their levels up over 500.

What I have learned during my family’s years of treatment is medications prescribed can cause more problems than they cure. When I see ads for cholesterol meds on TV, they sign off with a long list of potential life-threatening conditions that can occur from taking the product. The information is provided due to laws governing truth in advertising but it ends with an un-truth. You hear the statement: “These incidents are rare, but if they occur be sure to check with your doctor.”

I have talked to many people who have been prescribed statin drugs for their cholesterol but I’m yet to find one who has not had an adverse reaction. Therefore, I do not believe the side effects are rare. The final statement in the ads should be, “Expect to have muscle cramps, headaches, bleeding ulcers, symptoms of heart attack and many more; some yet to be discovered.”

As I see it, the pharmaceutical industry is to blame for most of the problems patients encounter. The drug companies, and there are many, send a rep out to call on a doctor during busy office hours. The rep briefly tells the doctor how great the medicine is and leaves a large number of samples for the doctor to hand out. The doctor will give his patient samples to try along with a prescription for additional pills. The patient could have adverse affects and not know the cause because the prescription worked and the numbers came down and that was the medication’s objective.

My family has been treated by many specialists in the field of cholesterol control and I have learned another fact. The doctors have differing opinions regarding treatment and goals to reach. One physician may say a certain number is desirable, the next doctor wants it 50 points lower while yet another says to ignore it altogether.

Just about everyone you talk to has had or is presently diagnosed with high cholesterol and I believe current treatment practices are dangerous. Some doctors prescribe medication for what is suggested as a maximum dosage but others, eager to get the number down, prescribe twice that amount.

My wife was urged to join a pharmaceutical drug trial at a respected university hospital because it promised to bring her critical number down 70 percent. After reviewing all the data which included making a 400 mile round-trip for 26 weeks for the treatment, she declined. The final numbers are in for the trial; 37 percent was the actual reduction achieved.

More recently, the major medical problem talked about and credited with causing many dangerous conditions is obesity. I’m not surprised about the concerns, but why is the medical community not facing the problem more realistically?

Why do they all blame sugar and other sweets, they have been around forever. The artificial sweeteners are very dangerous. Why replace a suspect product, soda, with something possibly worse, milk?

Perhaps the hormones fed to our cattle to increase their growth and feed given dairy cows to produce more milk may be the cause of our obesity. Chemical sprays and fertilizers used on our fruits and vegetables could contribute.

I’m not a big supporter of fast foods; I seldom eat at the ones that line every major avenue in our country. I do question all the flack they take as major contributors to obesity. When I was a young man, I stopped every day at a restaurant and picked up an order of fries. They came in a brown paper bag and I added a squirt of ketchup and sprinkle of salt. I and many of my classmates would eat the fries on the way home from school; sometimes we also ate hamburgers and hot dogs. When we got home, it was football, baseball or a game of catch until supper time, then homework, and off to bed. It was not unusual to go days without watching TV (yes we had it) or movies but hardly anyone was obese.

The question should be asked; what is really causing obesity? Is it the way our food products are “treated” and enhanced before we eat them? The fact young people are sitting on their butts watching TV, texting or talking on cell phones or playing their latest, most expensive video games?

Look around. Think back about how it used to be. Doesn’t it make you wonder?




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