Low cholesterol may shorten your life

According to conventional wisdom it is wise to lower your cholesterol if it is too high. The main reason for this advice is the observation that people with a high cholesterol more often get a heart attack than people with a normal or a low cholesterol. This is true for young people, but it does not mean that high cholesterol is the cause of the heart attack (se section 1). If it were, lowering of high cholesterol by any means should prevent it, but it doesn´t.

Before the introduction of the statins, more than 40 trials had been performed to test if cholesterol-lowering can prevent a heart attack. In some of the trials the number of fatal heart attacks were lowered a little, in other trials the number increased. Overviews of the trials have shown that when all results were taken together, just as many died in the treatment groups (e.g.those whose cholesterol was lowered) as in the untreated control group. The following table gives the accumulated results. None of the differences were statistically significant. Nor were they by more sophisticated analyses.

Treatment
groups
Control
groups
Number of individuals ontrial
Non-fatal heart attacks; per cent
59,514
2.8
53,251
3.1
Number of individuals ontrial
Fatal heart attacks; per cent
60,824
2.9
54,403
2.9
Number of individuals on trial
Total number of deaths; per cent
60,456
6.1
53,958
5.8

That some overviews have shown a positive result after cholesterol-lowering is because they had ignored or excluded one or more trials with a negative outcome.

The mentioned overviews included mostly diet and/or the older cholesterol-lowering drugs. But the drugs used today, the socalled statins have been succesful. However, their effect isn´t exerted through cholesterol-lowering, they have other and more useful properties Unfortunately they also stimulate cancer growth (read our cancer paper) and many other serious diseases (see section 6).

 

Publicerad i Myths, english