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Welcome to the website for Jim Chialtas, L.Ac., and Laurel Acupuncture Clinic of Functional Medicine, located in San Diego.

Click on the tabs above to learn more about what Functional Medicine is, and about many of the health concerns I specialize in. Or scroll down for my blog. You might find it helpful to use the labels in the lower right column to find topics that interest you.

In addition to seeing clients privately in my clinic, I also offer many of the same services remotely to US residents. Please feel free to contact me to set up a consultation or appointment. Thank you!

8/4/07

The Older Middle Aged Man: Part 3 - The Cholesterol Issue

In my last blog entry I covered the hormonal issues pertaining to my older middle aged man and how the therapy that he received was not only inadequate for his situation, but actually worked to do him harm. And in keeping with the concept of the Hippocratic Oath as “first do no harm,” I thought it best to now describe how this man was hurt with respect to his moderately high cholesterol.

As you may recall from my first blog entry when describing the older middle aged man I mentioned that his cholesterol was elevated and he was given Lipitor. There was no exit strategy given for this man. Most often people put on this medication are told to take it for the rest of their lives. This is often done without concern for the drug’s damaging effects to the liver or its depleting effects on Co Q-10 levels in the body which can lead to muscle pain and even cardiac abnormalities. Not to mention its questionable use at all with respect to any actual effect on mortality rates. These drugs are among the most widely prescribed medications in the country. So let’s explore this a little further and decide if it is even necessary.

I had mentioned that the cholesterol lowering model for heart disease is outdated and here’s why… Cholesterol is carried around the body contained within small bubbles called lipo-proteins. Namely High Density Lipo-protein (HDL) and Low Density Lipo-protein (LDL). This refers to the bubble carrying cholesterol and not the cholesterol itself. Most people do not realize this. It is the size and number of these carrier bubbles that determines true cardiac risk. Quite often these bubbles will be empty of cholesterol but will still lead to heart disease. That is why approximately 50% of people who die of heart disease have normal cholesterol. Simply looking at cholesterol numbers isn’t adequate to determine risk. So why then is there a multi billion dollar industry based on this model? Why are older middle aged men like the one I have described getting put on these dangerous medications. In fact, why are women, young men, people who have had heart problems, and anyone who has cholesterol over 200 getting put on these medications for life? In my opinion it is profit and profit only. Current research shows that simply lowering your cholesterol does not have any dramatic effect on mortality rates. Don’t just take it from me, look it up yourself and then look at all of the side effects of statin drugs. You will make up your own mind. And when you do, consider the risk to benefit ratios here.

So what can be done then you ask? Now that you have mustered up the nerve to challenge the medical establishment, what will you do then? The answer is plenty. One of the easiest ways to regulate your cholesterol balance is through aerobic exercise. This will work to lower the “bad” types of lipo-proteins and elevate the “good.” Finding the proper form of Niacin will lower the most dangerous type and elevate the good much more effectively than any statin can ever hope to achieve! Fish oils work very effectively to lower Triglycerides and certain types of bad cholesterol. There are also several herbal formulas that can be very helpful as well without the damaging side effects of medications.

The bottom line here is that people are being given medications without regard for their dangerous side effects. As I mentioned before, according to the CDC, MD’s are the fourth leading cause of death in America for people over 65. It is the use of medications like these that can have this effect. In the case of this older middle aged man we went into it knowing of his already depressed liver function. It is a known fact that these medications will stress the liver. So why give them to someone with already depressed liver function? In this way all by itself you have to consider the “first do no harm,” oath of medicine. But not only that, consider the implications of misleading this man into taking a medication that will probably have no effect on his risk factors anyway!

At what point did mainstream medicine loose sight of this promise to the people? Oh the poor older middle aged man!