New guidelines aim to put you on statins

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I'm sure you'll take a moment to say a prayer of thanks before the big meal -- and you're not the only one.

The drug industry is also spending the day giving its own thanks -- because new guidelines for statins will put tens of millions of new patients onto these cholesterol meds, including largely healthy people who don't even have high cholesterol levels.

Maybe even you.

All you need is a slight statistical bump in heart risk -- anything that would cause your 10-year risk of a heart attack to hit 7.5 percent or higher, and you're supposed to take statins for the rest of your life.

Don't have that bump in risk? You could still end up on meds -- because the new guidelines for statins also call for everyone with heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol to start taking them,

It doesn't matter how well you have these conditions under control. It doesn't even matter if you've managed to put them into remission. All that matters is that you have them, according to the guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

These new guidelines for statins are expected to double the number of Americans on cholesterol meds, to 72 million of us -- or 60 percent of the entire population over the age of 45.

Of course, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology claim this isn't a gift to the drug industry. They claim most statins are already sold off-label, so no one will get rich off this.

And that's just not true.

The best-selling drug in the nation right now is the statin Crestor -- and it's still under patent protection for nearly three more years.

And right now, the drug industry is hard at work on the next generation of cholesterol meds. Once approved, they'll hit the ground running with 72 million potential customers.

You can bet it'll be the most successful new drug launch in history.

But the real problem with statins isn't just the fact that they haven't proven to save or extend lives, especially in the largely healthy patients now expected to take them.

It's that they come with huge risks -- muscle pain, sex problems, memory loss, liver and kidney damage and more. They could even cause diabetes in as many as 1 in 162 patients.

Give them to 35 million new patients, and that could add up to more than 220,000 extra cases of diabetes.

There are much better ways to protect your heart and rid yourself of thick stale blood. Start with coenzyme Q10 and selenium, as the two nutrients together can cut your risk of death from heart problems in half.

You can read more about that for free in my House Calls archives.