Once upon a time, drug companies competed to find cures. The first across the line with a cure for some dreaded illness or other cashed in big time. But then greed got in the way.
Why cure problems when there’s so much money to be made “managing” them? More and more R&D money headed into the “disease management” business.
Today, there’s precious little research into a new – and much-needed – class of antibiotics. But Big Pharma devotes billions to finding the next drug to manage high blood pressure… high cholesterol… and more.
But even the riches from these cash cows aren’t enough for Big Pharma. So, over the last decade or so, we’ve seen the number of people who “need” to take drugs swell. Not because more people are unhealthy, but because the definition of “unhealthy” keeps changing.
Take high cholesterol, for example. Today’s definition of what’s high wouldn’t have made your grandfather’s doctor blink. As I’ve mentioned before, they keep lowering the bar. And lowering. And lowering.
Each time the mainstream’s definition of high got lower, millions more adults “needed” to start taking statin drugs. And Big Pharma’s cash flow grew.
Then in 2013, they changed the game entirely. At your expense, of course.
When the Numbers Don’t Work, Change the Numbers
No matter how much they lower the cholesterol standards, they can’t escape two truths.
First, cholesterol isn’t the best indicator of heart risk. Nearly three-quarters of heart attack patients in one large study had “healthy” cholesterol numbers.
Second, you need cholesterol to survive. Among other things, it ensures the integrity of your cell walls.
Finally, in 2013, the mainstream caught up with their own futile pursuit. Cholesterol by itself, they told us, wasn’t enough. Instead, we should base the need for statins – and other measures – on PCEs.
PCEs are “Pooled Cohort Equations.” These are calculations based on several heart risk factors. This sounds good. And it’s probably better than drawing a line in the sand as with cholesterol numbers. But it’s still not great.
To begin with, you probably understood cholesterol numbers. Because they were just simple, straightforward numbers. Total cholesterol over 200 was bad.
PCEs require a computer to calculate. And following all the factors that go into your risk level can be confusing. Which is great for Big Pharma, because now you don’t know enough to argue.
And that’s right where they want you.
There’s something else you should know about PCEs, too. They work out to a generous gift to the drug industry.
Using Old Data to Make New Decisions
In 2016, the journal Circulation printed an assessment of these PCEs after 3 years of careful observation.
The authors found nine evaluations of the PCEs that showed they substantially overestimate heart risk. In other words, they recommend people who don’t need drugs start taking drugs.
According to new research from Stanford University, more than 11 million people may be taking heart drugs they don’t need. Largely because the PCEs are based on data that’s old.
How old? One major study used in the calculations goes all the way back to 1968. Today, the people in that study would be 100 – 132 years old. And that’s a problem.
Our lifestyles – diet, smoking, exercise, etc. – have changed radically since then. And so have risk factors. Even mainstream sources suggest these PCEs may overestimate your risk by up to 20%.
Your best option remains cutting your risk where you can. Eat a balanced diet, stay active, drop excess weight, and don’t smoke. It’s boring advice, but it’s as close as you can get to zero heart risk. And a whole lot cheaper than taking drugs you may not need.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
Champeau, R., “Most heart attack patients’ cholesterol levels did not indicate cardiac risk,” UCLA Newsroom. Jan 12, 2009.
Ridker, P.M. and Cook, N.R., “The Pooled Cohort Equations 3 Years On,” Circulation. 2016; 134: 1789-1791.
“Millions could have incorrect statin, aspirin and blood pressure prescriptions,” Science Daily. Jun 4, 2018.
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