Dr. Malcolm Kendrick plugged his data into that new risk calculator developed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiologists and discovered that he’s overdue to begin statin therapy.  As he reported on his blog:

I now find that I should have started statins eight weeks ago. Naughty, naughty, me. My blood pressure was a bit higher than the calculator liked 138/82, my cholesterol quite a bit higher at 6.0mmol/l.

Which means that I have already passed the 7.5% ten year risk score. O….M…..G. (I think my picture makes me look a bit younger than I am, although it was only taken last year – honest.)

What to do?  I am now well beyond my ‘Statin by date.’ No longer can I be healthy without taking a statin.

Can I be reassured that my parents are both alive and healthy in their late eighties? My grandmother, on my mother’s side, lived to one hundred and two.

You can read the rest here, and I suggest you do if you enjoy a good laugh.

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17 Responses to “Dr. Kendrick Missed His Statin-By Date”
  1. Lori says:

    I’m 44 and take no medications. I’m probably past a few fill-in-the-prescription-by-dates.

  2. melancholyaeon says:

    If you play with the calculator, you will discover that almost any set of real-life numbers in a person over 37 will result in a minimum 10-yr-risk of 8.0, just a hair above the requisite 7.5. If I didn’t know better, I might think it was, you know, rigged. Download it, and play with the xls yourself. You’ll soon see what I mean.

    Using that calculator, pretty much any average healthy Joe will end up statins, according to the New York Times.

  3. susan says:

    The truth will out…

    According to a story published today in Medscape, after meeting with the doctors who questioned whether the risk calculator greatly overestimated risk, the guideline panel members didn’t want to question the validity of their calculator or “raise any alarm bells prematurely.” They admitted that they knew the calculator overestimated risk, because it did so in their own tests.

    “We were charged with developing a risk-assessment platform that would help us identify those individuals who were at high enough risk to merit intensive therapy and in whom, in conjunction with the cholesterol panel, we would expect to see real benefit and minimal harm,” said Lloyd-Jones. “Obviously, we’re very interested in finding out new information through scientific discourse about the risk equation, but the truth is that the risk equations work exactly as we asked them to do. There is nothing wrong with these equations.”

    I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

    BTW, I am planning to miss my statin-by date. May even have a party to mark its passing.

    I probably missed my statin-by date ten years ago. I suspect I’ll be overdue for statins for another 50 years.

  4. Mark says:

    Soooo, we can start testing ourselves and tell our doctors to give us a prescription? And doctors need to go to uni for 8 years to consult a website?

    As they say on TV, ask your doctor about [fill in the blank].

  5. Interesting. A Doctor is told by the calculator to use statins.
    That got me thinking… call me crazy but this may be the beginning of the end for statins. This guy is making fun of the calculator, but what happens when seemingly healthy statinator doctors are told by it to Rx themselves statins? They’ll do it and suffer the consequences.
    Statin drugs are like a utopian ideology that doesn’t work; like communism. It’s one thing for statinators to push statins on others, but now they may have to push it on themselves.
    Dr.Oz was a True Believing food-pyramid CW pusher, then he got a polyp. He was so sure he was healthy, that the food pyramid gov’t dietary guidelines are healthy, part of the reason why he began looking into paleo more seriously was probably because that little polyp shattered his paradigm.
    If statinators believe statins are the cure-all, and if this calculator tells them to take them, perhaps they are a few muscle aches away from coming to face with reality.

    • Bret says:

      I am skeptical that doctors on a widespread scale will suddenly achieve enlightenment from their own personal situations. If they are convinced that prescribing those meds to patients is a smart idea, then they will likely continue to believe that, even in the face of their own problems. I hope I am wrong, but we have seen this head-in-the-sand dissonance reduction effect time and again with believers of the lipid hypothesis.

      As for Oz, I must say I am still irritated at him for ridiculing Gary Taubes so many times. He went to great lengths on his show using theatrics and selective editing to make Gary look like a stupid wacko for questioning the mainstream advice. That said, I am glad if he is more paleo friendly now, so long as he stays that way.

      I’m afraid Dr. Oz seems to stick his finger in the wind before deciding what he believes.

      • Bob Geary says:

        That’s a very charitable description of where Dr. Oz sticks his finger to form his opinions.

        I try to keep it family-friendly.

  6. MargieAnne says:

    I so hope we, in New Zealand, will not follow the United States down this path.

    I hate to think what this calculator would say about my risk. 75 years old, overweight, (although much lighter than 2 years ago), and medication free. I stopped taking my blood pressure med. months and months ago. Every now and then I check my BP at home. 138/75 looks pretty good to me. The last checks showed that it was the same or better than when I was taking medication. I only ever took 1 tablet for cholesterol before reading up on the side effects. I treasure my liver too much to ever consider taking a statin. An ultrasound last year revealed that my carotid arteries are perfect.

    Today I am Fat Fasting á la Dana Carpender and I’ve spent nearly two hours in the warm sun weeding our garden. If I feel like it I’ll go for an evening walk on the beach. The health gurus would probably have a heart attack if they saw my nutritional ketogenic diet :)

    I don’t mean to sound boastful. I wish I could stand before the medical people and say, “Don’t mess with my good health.” I am fortunate in that my family doctor accepts my choices.

    My daughter is a registered nurse and cares for mostly older people. She is convinced many experience loss of quality of life due to over medication.

    We have become ardent fans of drug free health as long as it is sensible.

    Blessings

    I’m sure your daughter is right. My mom was on a statin and a painkiller for the pains caused by the statin.

  7. I just realized you made a mistake in your documentary!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evcNPfZlrZs&t=0h24m16s
    there are also no sausages on a pig
    Well mister smartypants, depending on your definition there can be one sausage…
    Also is that free youtube video of Fat Head supposed to be there?

    I’ve never heard of anyone removing the sausage from a pig.

    That’s the legal YouTube version that pays royalties, but thanks for checking.

  8. Bruce says:

    “”What to do? I am now well beyond my ‘Statin by date.’ No longer can I be healthy without taking a statin.”

    Eat two slices of heart healthy whole grain bread and call your doctor in the morning.

    Keep eating that bread, and you will end up calling the doctor.

  9. Mike Poisson says:

    We really need something disruptive to health care, I’m not sure how to do it or get it going. It’s obvious that the healthcare industry is solidifying their base to get as many people to use their drugs and keep people half sick to generate revenue. I’m going to keep thinking about this, if we can get to a market driven approach where people demand that medical professionals use judgement to treat patients instead of just conforming to malformed guidelines and running test after test it will be a start.

    • Bret says:

      I doubt there is any deliberate conspiracy within the industry; just mass confusion thanks to an incompetent scientific process. As Tom said in Fat Head, we can thank the federal government most of all for this mess, as the presence of government bias on this issue combined with the dangling carrot of government funding pretty much killed off any significant presence of dissent against the standard “wisdom.”

      Our best bet for a disruption in health care is to vote libertarian and get the G.D. federal government out of the health care business. When those corrupt government dollars stop influencing every element of the industry, market forces will return and people by and large will stop undergoing unnecessary procedures and taking unnecessary meds. The reason? They will be paying for it; and people guard their own money a lot more meticulously than they guard other people’s money (i.e. the “free” tax money they’re getting).

      Amen, brother. I also believe people take better care of themselves when they expect to pick up a share of their medical bills.

  10. June says:

    I think the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiologists were taken by surprise at the blow-back from their new guidelines, especially since it is coming from mainstream physicians. They completely overreached in basically prescribing statins for about everyone over 50.

    I know I’ve told this story before, but I was on statins for two years and started having the most godawful leg cramps every night. I had just watched ‘Fathead-The Movie’ and loved it and looked up your website. As it happened, the blog entry that day included the information that statins can cause muscle cramps! My doctor poo-pooed it, but I stopped taking statins and my muscles cramps went away in about a month. I also stopped worrying about my calculated LDL number and focused on my HLD/trig ratio and started asking for the VML cholesterol tests (“It’s more expensive.” “I don’t care.”), which showed my LDL is mainly Pattern A, so my next focus is to get a Cardiac Calcium Scan.

    For the record, my primary practice group is a father and his three daughters, all physicians. The dad is pretty much set in his ways but his daughters are more up with the modern medical practices (I do think they are obligated to offer statins, but don’t mind when I refuse). It’s a roll of the dice as to who you get, but overall they are a very good group.

    Perfect example of what’s wrong with statin frenzy: you had to hear from me that statins cause muscle pain. You should have heard that from your doctor.

  11. Firebird7478 says:

    A couple of years ago, my doctor took some blood from me and discovered my cholesterol was 330. A month later he took my blood again and it dipped to 300. That’s a 10% drop and all I did was take Niacinamide. He proclaimed it was still high, though I am sure if a statin produced those results, he’d be thrilled.

    Still, he sent me to a cardiologist who found no clogs in my arteries or heart damage, just cholesterol floating harmlessly through my blood stream. They never looked at the ratio of HDL/LDL; Never took into consideration my blood pressure, which at the time was 110/80. Triglycerides fell into the excellent range and so did my insulin.

    What did the cardiologist and PCP recommend? I should get on a statin to get that number down. Why? Because I MIGHT get heart disease. I asked my PCP to prescribe insulin while he was at it along with a dose of chemo. When he asked why I said, “In case I get diabetes and cancer.”

    I haven’t been back since.

    I suspect they’re glad you didn’t come back, since you didn’t show the proper awe for the white coat.

    • Pilgrim says:

      Re: “the proper awe for the white coat”…I like the story of the doc who died and went to heaven and wanted to wear his white coat but St. Peter told he wasn’t allowed to do so. Later the doc came back and complained about another guy he’d seen wearing a white coat. “Oh,” said St. Peter, “that’s not a doctor, that’s God playing doctor.”

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