Lowering cholesterol is not the answer

Of the last 50 years we have seen a decrease in saturated fat, salt and cholesterol levels yet we continue to see increases in cardiovascular disease. We are doing more than ever before but still the disease continues to increase. Fortunately there appears to be the decreases in deaths as a result of cardiovascular disease primarily due to the early intervention once someone has had a heart attack or stroke. Because we have been targeting at risk population we would expect to see a decrease in cardiovascular disease within a few years of any program yet more people have heart attacks and strokes than ever before.

Maybe the time has come to separate out all the vested interests and silver bullet solutions and deal with the problem. Already in previous articles I have described to you that cholesterol is not the killer it is just a messenger. It is like a warning light on the car. When the light comes on you can fix the problem before it gets any worse, or you can get some tape and cover it over. Unfortunately we have become very adept at covering our own personal health warning light.

The reason we have become so fixated with lowering cholesterol is that it is a multi-billion-dollar industry in Australia alone. The costs of the drugs to the public and individuals is estimated to be about $1.5 billion each year. Add on to that the cost of monitoring and all the blood checks, another billion dollars then you can understand why it is almost impossible to stop this juggernaut. There is just too much money invested in it. Then you also have two consider all the cholesterol lowering foods, the claims made and organisations involved and you realise that the total is probably closer to $10 billion each year.

The outcome we are after is the lowering of cardiovascular disease not cholesterol. If we have not succeeded at this then we need to go back to the drawing board and start again and not just reinvent another cholesterol theory or a new cholesterol-lowering drug. The last 30 years has been an abject failure that has cost a fortune in money and lives.