Cholesterol – The Numbers That Matter
Studies on cholesterol over the last few decades number in the thousands (or hundreds of thousands). While drug companies (and their in-house studies) tell us through every media possible that "lower cholesterol is better" other research has a very different story to tell. In this article I’m going to share only some facts. No propaganda, no agenda, nothing at all to sell you – just some numbers you might want to consider.
- Johns Hopkins University conducted a study (for 32 years+) of 1,462 women and found “that the women whose cholesterol levels decreased the most from middle to older age were more than twice as likely to develop dementia as those whose cholesterol levels increased or stayed the same.
- In 2010 doctors researched the medical records of over 4000 people with “very low LDL cholesterol levels” (the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and found that those with low HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels too (their overall combined cholesterol levels were low) “were 59% more likely to have a heart attack or end up in the hospital with a heart-related problem than those with…” higher overall levels.
- A study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions found that nearly 95% of all heart attacks, strokes or heart-related deaths occurred in those with some measurable buildup of artery-hardening calcium in the blood vessels and 3/4 of all heart emergencies occurred in the 1/4 with the highest calcium scores. (Calcium. Not cholesterol. I’ll write about this later.)
- Several studies report that “a high HDL level is generally good for your heart. Research shows that low levels of HDL cholesterol are a significant heart-attack risk factor, independent of whether LDL ("bad") cholesterol is high or low. (!)
- The Framingham Massachusetts heart study (conducted on the town for over 30 years total) showed that men and women with higher cholesterol levels live longer than those with lower levels.
- Researchers from a Honolulu Heart Program study followed 3,572 people for 20 years and warned at the end of it, “reducing cholesterol in the elderly population increases risk of death. The earlier that patients start to have lower cholesterol concentrations the greater the risk of death.”
- Baylor University, in a study of 1,700 patients who had “atherosclerosis severe enough to require hospitalization”, found only 1 patient in 5 had high blood cholesterol. Four out of five had low cholesterol.
- A team of researchers lead by UCLA School of Medicine says that 75% of patients hospitalized for heart attacks have normal to low cholesterol levels.” (Data from 136,905 patients over 6 years.)
- The only facts I can find showing ANY improved health risks from lower cholesterol levels is specifically in men between the ages of 35 and 47 who have already had a heart attack - and that information has been called “doubtful” by many researchers and specialists.
This is only a small sampling of what’s out there. But, the next time a doctor tells you that (and I’m quoting a couple of local doctors here), “A level of 2 [combined "good" and "bad" cholesterol levels] is the new number we need to get down to,” you might want to ask just why that is. Seems to me, just playing the odds, I’m going to live longer with high cholesterol (HDL or LDL) than someone with low cholesterol. And my brain will function better too.
-Mona Sims CNPA