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article imageIs eating an apple as effective as taking statins?

By Tim Sandle     Feb 1, 2016 in Health
London - The arguments for and against statins are convoluted and have been running for years. Two health experts have stated the benefits of statins are outweighed by the side-effects.
According to consultant cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra and Professor Simon Capewell statins do more harm than good. To make their point, the medics argue people would be better off eating an apple-a-day in order to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
The medics argue that most studies into statins that show beneficial effects are those sponsored by drug companies (an issue that has the tendency to produce results in favor of the sponsor, as Digital Journal recently discussed.) Instead the cholesterol-battling medications trigger debilitating side effects and provide little impact on health for most people.
Statins are designed to reduce build-up of fatty-plaques that lead to blockages in blood vessels. For this reason, the drugs have advocates among the medical community. Others counter argue that the drugs carry side-effects (such as muscle pain and fatigue) and promote the continuation of an unhealthy lifestyle. In addition there are alternative treatments. Back in 2014, an article on Digital Journal reported that bergamot, a key ingredient in Earl Grey tea, can significantly lower cholesterol and may be as good for individuals as some statins.
Interviewed by The Daily Telegraph, the medics argue that more needs to be done to encourage people to eat more healthily (such apples) and exercise to improve the condition of their heart.
In the interview, Dr Malhotra, notes: “For those at low risk, eating an apple a day has an equivalent risk reduction for myocardial infarction as taking a statin.” He then added: “More than 80 percent of cardiovascular disease is attributable to environmental factors”, here he cited an unhealthy diet, tobacco smoking, too much alcohol, and a lack of physical exercise.
Shifting the emphasis to diet, Dr Malhotra reinforces: “primary prevention should the form be on foods and food groups that have a proven benefit in reducing hard endpoints and mortality.”
In the U.K., it is standard practice to offer men over the age of 60 and women aged over 65 the drugs as a matter of course. This costs the National Health Service £450 million ($600 million) per year. It is the opinion of the health authority that those who take their statins should do so and this is still effective at reducing heart attacks.
Digital Journal does not recommend any person who has been prescribed statins stops doing so. Advice must always be sought from a qualified medical practitioner.
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