Friday, 18 November 2011

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick M.D. looks at Cholesterol

As a Scotsman of a certain age, I have always found heart disease fascinating. This is possibly because of the fact that, in my youth, Scotland had the highest rate of death from heart disease (by which I mean coronary artery disease/ atherosclerosis) in the world.

When I went to medical school I was told that the very high rate of heart disease in Scotland was caused by a diet containing far too much saturated fat. This raised our Scottish cholesterol levels. The excess cholesterol was, in turn, deposited in the artery walls, thus narrowing them to the point where they blocked up - causing angina, heart attacks and death.

For years I did not question this orthodoxy. Then, one day, I was on holiday in France. Whilst chewing on a fatty steak, dripping in butter, it suddenly struck me that the French ate rather a lot of saturated fat. As I peered through the smoke filled restaurant I also recognised that they smoked quite a bit too. However, their rate of heart disease was one tenth that of Scotland (age and sex-matched).

I then looked at the other classic ‘risk factors' for heart disease in France e.g. blood pressure, HDL ‘good cholesterol' levels, body mass index (BMI), amount of exercise taken. I found that, in comparison to the Scots, the French ate significantly more saturated fat, had the same cholesterol levels, the same blood pressure and the same HDL ‘good cholesterol' levels. They also had the same average BMI and took slightly less exercise (on average). They smoked considerably more. In short, much worse classical ‘risk factors,' one tenth the rate of heart disease.

When I tell people that the higher their cholesterol level they longer they will live, they look at me in a way that suggests they believe that my medication is clearly not working.

Now that I know that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, and that lowering it with statins is a complete waste of time, I find myself in the position of the little boy who points out that the Emperor has no Clothes. With one rather important difference.

Even though the ‘experts' have been made aware of it many times, they care not that this particular emperor has no clothes. Or, to be more accurate, they cannot and will not allow themselves to accept that it might be true. For to accept this would be far too humiliating for the great and the good. Which, I suppose, is why people become so enraged when anyone dares to point out the truth.

Some extracts from a must read article by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick.

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