Health and Well-Being Dr. Jim Manganiello
Newburyport Daily News
---- — It’s a minefield of con, misinformation and propaganda out there today.
You should know that politicians and corporations, among others, use powerful psychological knowledge to persuade and manipulate you. Why? Because they want to get into your head and persuade you to embrace their views, mistake their opinions for truth and buy their useless, and often dangerous, products.
Many have argued that the pharmaceutical industry is better at persuading people to buy false ideas and useless and dangerous products than anyone else. According to research reported in Science Daily, the drug industry spends almost twice as much on “promotion and marketing” than on developing new and effective drugs.
According to the British Medical Journal Report, prescription drug companies chase profits, not by creating groundbreaking medication, but by creating “minor variations on existing drugs” and then marketing them shamelessly to get around patent laws.
Heavily marketed prescription drugs can be dangerous to your health. Consider an early drug industry cash cow, “Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT),” which came into disfavor around 2002. A Woman’s Health Initiative Study found that HRT not only did not protect women’s health, but it also put women at risk for cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Most physicians are overworked, and so they get their prescription drug information from drug company reps, not from science research. This is why the former president of the leading HRT drug said: “Pills are to sell, not to take. If we put horse manure in a capsule, we could sell it to 95 percent of these doctors.”
Many drugs can be a godsend and the drug companies deserve credit for saving lives. But they can’t be allowed to seek profit through deception and misinformation. Menopause is a life cycle issue, it is not a medical condition requiring “hormone replacement.” Women deserve to be led and directed into safe and effective strategies for relief. Far Eastern women have few, if any, problems with menopause because their adrenal glands are not depleted from stress and stress hormones. And so their adrenals do their job effectively to maintain hormone balance.
One of today’s pharmaceutical industry cash cows are statins. Statins are the most prescribed prescription drugs in the world — 25 percent of people over the age of 45 take them. Drug companies market and promote statins as dietary cholesterol-lowering drugs. Companies depict dietary cholesterol as a cause of stroke and heart disease.
Statins do probably help people with family hypercholesterolemia, a genetic defect that causes cholesterol levels above 325-350. But there is considerable controversy surrounding the position that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease and that statins are of any real use. Referring to the dietary cholesterol-heart disease-statin linkage, a respected science researcher, Dr. George Mann called it “the worst fraud ever perpetrated on the American public.”
Uffe Ravnskov, a science researcher and winner of the prestigious Leo Prize and the Integrity in Science Award, sharply criticized drug industry spin linking cholesterol, heart disease and statin drugs. And a 26-year follow up on the Framingham Heart Study showed that more than half of the subjects who died from heart disease had below average cholesterol levels.
Studies are now appearing that some researchers feel will call into question the use of statins. In 2012, a 6,700-subject study published in the journal Atheroscleros, showed that statin drugs actually increased coronary risk factors by increasing the prevalence and extent of coronary plaque.
This is not good news, since coronary plaque buildup is a signature of cardiovascular disease that increases risk for illness and death. Another 2012 study published in the journal Diabetes Care cause similar concerns. Frequent statin user type 2 diabetics with advanced atherosclerosis were shown to have higher amounts of calcification in their coronary arteries than did less frequent statin users.
Unfortunately, many pro statin studies have been funded by drug companies, studies that showed positive results. But these results could not be repeated by independent researchers. And 900 studies show adverse side-effects for statin drugs, including muscle problems, sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment and cataracts.
If you’re taking statins, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Respectfully ask her or him why they think you should be taking statins. Ask if they can refer you to any studies that show positive results for people like you.
Most importantly, open your eyes wide and take responsibility for learning how to maintain a healthy heart. A few suggestions: 1) Learn how to lower your stress levels and flush out stress hormones from your blood and tissues; 2) Exercise your heart muscle 4-5 times a week by walking or working out at the gym; 3) improve your heart rate function by breathing deeply when you feel stressed; 4) Eat mindfully and stay away from too much sugar and refined carbohydrates and 5) read reliable Internet research on heart health.
Dr. Jim Manganiello is a clinical psychologist and diplomate-level medical psychotherapist based in Groveland and West Boxford. He is also an author and teacher focusing on stress, personal growth, meditation and “inner fitness.” His book “Unshakable Certainty” is available on Amazon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.drjimmanganiello.com.