Sunday, March 6, 2011

Review: Do you, like many others, have High Cholesterol?

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The Cholesterol Delusion

By Ernest N. Curtis, M.D.

Remember the commercial of a few years ago, of a middle-aged guy smiling to everybody and telling them, whether they cared or not, that his cholesterol was down? Of course, that statement was then followed by an advertisement for medication...

Yes, I've been on medication for a number of years now--at a certain age, your doctor will begin to discuss this with you. Thereafter, you will be having routine blood tests...

But the main reason I resent the medication is that there are so many--thus there is a price war, especially if you are in an insurance plan, that wants you to constantly take the brand that has successfully won low-bid for that year. Soooooo, I was ready to consider it all a Delusion...

The Cholesterol DelusionDr. Ernest N. Curtis received his B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley and his M.D. from the University of California, Irvine. After a Residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Cardiology, he entered private practice and has practiced for the last 32 years.(Back Cover). I always check the educational credentials of those who are writing the type of book which, in my opinion, requires it for the author.

Not only does Dr. Curtis reveal sufficient background, he also has written the book in a way that makes it a useful tool for the reader.

Starting with the first page which defines Delusion for us from Stedman's Medical Dictionary! I don't know whether he meant it to be funny, but given the book cover, I had to think so...

Curtis also presents his material following the usual method of writing about scientific issues, beginning with a glossary.a foreword explaining why he wrote the book, and then proceeding to define the theory, etc. I also was impressed that he included an Appendix entitled, "How to Read a Medical Journal Report". To me, he was saying, "don't take my word for it, do your own research." References and bibliography are included as expected.

Dr. Curtis defines the theory by providing a list of statements, the most important to me for purposes of discussing his theory was:
5) Lowering the cholesterol level with diet and/or drugs will decrease the risk of developing coronary artery disease, prevent heart attacks, and save countless lives. (p. 1.)
Here I am, eating--checking content of foods and selecting items with no or low cholesterol--and choosing them, oftentimes paying more and not enjoying their taste as much. Why? Because I've been told to. is the kicker. Dr. Curtis claims each of these statements, leading up to the above quote are:
"...entirely wrong; that is, they are not supported by a shred of scientifically credible evidence."

Further, here is something else that made an impression on me: in direct contrast to the common conception of fats and cholesterol deposited directly on the inner lining of the artery much like sludge in a pipe. This point requires special emphasis: There is nothing deposited on or sticking to the inside of the arterial wall. (page 9)


Further, ..."the Cholesterol Theory maintain that cholesterol is the main causative factor...They have no clue to what triggers the plaque changes that lead directly to heart attack..." (p. 10)

Would you believe that "the major source of this vital compound known as cholesterol is our own bodies rather than our diet"? (p. 14)

Now many of us, while reading, will think of bypass surgeries we hear about...I read, "plaques in the arterial wall are initiated by a proliferation of cells that form a dense fibrous cap...A better analogy than the clogged pipe might be the formation of a callous..." (p. 17)

Ok, I highlighted points that made an impact on me; however, the author takes each issue and thoroughly defines and explains the scientific activities that have taken place and then helps readers consider his own opinion. Frankly I highly recommend the book--enough to have already raised the issue with my doctor who was about to have another blood test started... I think the key issue to come away with is sufficient knowledge to raise your own questions! As can be seen from the list below, there are lots of issues and opinions...

In the meantime, you may have come to be quite satisfied with brands, such as pictured above...but there may be options...if you care enough, then this book is a must-read for you! You decide!


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