Friday, October 10, 2008

Dr. Eades On My Lab Results

This is a follow up on my lab result post. The day after I got the results, Dr. Eades had a post on his blog concerning an otherwise healthy 49 year old who was put on statins after getting a total cholesterol reading over 200. It went into the problems he had with the side effects of taking the drug. The point of his post was that "preventative care" is not all it's stacked up to be in some cases. I posted a comment describing my recent experience. This was Dr. Eades reply to my comment:

Problem is, what if you had done all this and your cholesterol had stayed at 230 or gone even higher, a situation I’ve seen many times? Would you have panicked and gone back on the statin, which I can guarantee is what your physician would have recommended, or would you continue to avoid statins? You would still be healthy even with a cholesterol of 250, but you wouldn’t think so because you would be focusing on a fairly meaningless lab result rather than all the other signs of health.

My first reaction upon reading that was that he was saying "so what?--it's meaningless." I was a little shocked at first. But after thinking about it, I see his point. If you're a skeptic about the relationship between cholesterol levels and heart disease (and ultimately--mortality), then it shouldn't make a difference. HOWEVER, I seem to remember a point made in Gary Taubes's Good Calories, Bad Calories, that a rise in cholesterol could indicate that the body is raising it's defenses against inflammation caused by the constant carb intake and subsequent insulin release. I don't have a copy of the book (I read a library copy) so I can't go back to research exactly what was written. But if I AM recalling this correctly, then this was not a "meaningless lab result" at all. It's still a sign I'm doing something correctly.

By the way, I replied to Dr. Eades and stated that I still wouldn't have gone back on the statin. I quit taking it in the first place when I knew my numbers were up--nothing has changed my mind since then.

1 comment:

David Brown said...

Hi Dave,

Lowered cholesterol values may or may not be an improvement. It depends on how one's biochemistry is configured. The following comment was sent to me by a physician in December, 2006:

"I am an active fit individual who has always exercised and kept my weight optimal but raised on a lot of sugar and fat, in addition to having genetically hi cholesterol regardless of anti cholesterol diet, fibers, and even medicines. My cholesterol gets as high as 430 and is rarely below 280. I am 55 and thought my life expectancy was limited by this but had the CT evaluation and found out that my coronary arteries are completely clear. How could this be? The answer is the power of genetics, that is, the absence of heart disease in my family."

If you were to read about Chapter 8 of "Why Raise Ugly Kids" by Hal Huggins, DDS you would learn that in the absence of sugar, consuming two eggs and a quarter pound of butter daily tends to lower high cholesterol and raise low cholesterol. Dr, Huggins did a study of 64 patients with either high or low cholesterol values. That is, patients had cholesterol levels above 235 mg% or below 200 mg%. Charting rising and falling cholesterol values produced two lines that converged at 221 mg%.

In Heart Failure by Thomas Moore one learns that when mortality from all causes is plotted against cholesterol values it produces a j-shaped curve with the lowest mortality lying in the 200 to 240 range. This is not to suggest that your total cholesterol value of 158 may be dangerous. It could be dangerous or it may be normal for your genetically determined biochemical makeup.

Since you seem to be interested in exploring nutrition literature, I think "Nutrition against Disease" by Roger J. Williams, PhD would be a good read. It's an old book but remarkably insightful. I suggest you also take a look at the end notes as they are every bit as interesting as the material in the book.