Are you kidding me? Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about the drug-company sponsored idea that most people with high cholesterol must take a statin drug. Now, is it true that some people can’t lower their cholesterol without drugs? I’m sure it is! However, I think there are many more people who don’t even try the exercise-and-healthy-diet route first. Or they “sort of” try, but not hard enough to make a difference.

Why is that? Well, we do live in an “I want it, and I want it NOW” society. Why put time and effort into fixing a health problem when you can throw medication at it, right? Well, I’ll tell you why: A healthy lifestyle can help you control or prevent a whole list of health problems, while a specific drug only helps deal with one specific problem, and may come with a ton of nasty side effects.

Plus, while there may be some discomfort while in the middle of transforming a not-so-healthy lifestyle into a healthy one (yes, change can be hard), once you make the transition and stick to it, you will simply feel better, and probably look better, too. Bonus!

Another problem is that many doctors reach for the prescription pad instead of counseling on diet and exercise. One reason is that many health care providers are not especially knowledgable in those areas. Another is that many patients simply wouldn’t listen to such healthy lifestyle advice, anyway.

I know more than one person who, upon being diagnosed with “borderline high” cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar, put on the brakes when the doctor suggested drugs. Each person was able to turn things around with exercise and diet. Does this mean everyone can? Perhaps not. But unless your doctor says you will self-destruct in 24 hours if you don’t pop a pill (which is not likely), you have nothing to lose, and an awful lot to gain, by taking a serious run at making nutrition and/or physical activity changes that are known to have a positive effect on your particular health issue. You don’t work for your doctor. Your doctor works for you. Stand up for yourself and discuss all of your treatment options.

What might these dietary changes look like? It depends. It might mean reducing sodium, reducing sugar or reducing fat. It will probably mean eating fewer processed foods and more fruits and vegetables. Hey, wait a minute…isn’t that how I suggest eating, for all people most of the time? Why yes, Virginia, it is!

I eat right and exercise because I want to feel good and look good. Those things motivate me on a daily, even hourly basis. But running through the background of my mind is a very serious, very real goal. I absolutely positively do not ever want to be in a position where a doctor suggests to me that I need drugs for high blood sugar, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Above all, I swear that I will never, ever take a statin drug. Ever. I’ll exercise 12 hours a day if I have to to prevent that. A touch dramatic? Perhaps. But I absolutely believe that many of the chronic health conditions that plague us are lifestyle problems. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes (which I see floating around here and there):

Heart disease is not caused by a deficiency of statin drugs.