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25 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A personal observation on statins - this is important., 19 Mar 2007
This review is from: The Great Cholesterol Con ~ The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It (Paperback)
Firstly, I haven't read this book but give it 5 stars purely for its subject matter.

My dad died 18 month ago (September 23rd 2005, a date I'll never forget). I watched him go from reasonably healthy (for a 75 year old) bordering on midly obese, to thin and wasting away, to bloated, to dead within a matter of about two months. He died of cancer of the oesophagus.

He had gone to the well-man clinic at our GP's practice and had the usual blood tests. The nurse prescribed lipo-statin tablets (should nurses be prescribing drugs?). He took them religiously but was finding that they made him very tired and over time he lost a great deal of weight; which seemed a good thing at the time as he had been overweight for some years.

He was having difficulty swallowing and couldn't keep down any food unless it was liquid; even this often came back.

He went back and saw the doctor. He was sent for more blood tests and the doctor promised to order an endoscope examination; which never happened.

He became very weak and his face became very thin and drawn. He couldn't move from his chair through lack of strength. I eventually persuaded him to go back and see a different doctor. This doctor sent him, there and then, to have the endoscope exam which showed-up the growth in his oesophagus. The doctor was appoplectic that it had come to this through the incompetence of the staff at the practice. By this time, my dad was so weak and dehydrated that he needed to go into hospital to be re-hydrated and strengthened-up enough to undergo chemo-therapy.

The day after he died my Mum received a letter stating that he was being admitted to Christie's hospital (one of the top cancer hospitals in Britain, if not THE top).

If he hadn't been taking the statins, my dad might have had a fighting chance. He'd have at least been strong enough for chemo.

If he hadn't gone, on a whim, to the 'well-man' clinic he would never have been prescribed the things.

'Well-man'? I'll certainly never attend such a thing. I prefer to actually BE well.
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Initial post: 2 Jan 2009 18:46:20 GMT
Thanks for the story. I'll provide my own anecdote because it's quite similar (not because it "proves" anything ... just to stall the hawks here):

My mother died 27 September 2008, age 70.

Some three years prior to her death she got a cholesterol measurement and as a result was prescribed statins (specifically simvastatin). Within 1-2 weeks she got worse and one evening she had a violent reaction - as we would discover - to the statins. She swelled up to gargantuan proportions all over and she was convinced that her last hour was at hand. She genuinely felt she was dying and when hospitalized she actually cried. She was not tender-skinned, not by a long shot.

The geniusses at the hospital couldn't figure it out. Then one morning they found the internet print-out my aunt made for my mother (on statins), then hesitantly some of the staff "thought they had found out what was wrong". Well ... duh! Though somehow they didn't, did they, because she began to deteriorate even more after some time in the hospital. She felt it was all coming back and that once more she was walking down the path to premature death.

Yet again my aunt had to intervene. So she looked up all the medicine on the journal and found out they'd actually just switched her to another statin product.

After that crap her body was really damaged. First they detected damage to the heart so they put her on a bunch of heart medicine which heralded a three year long period with pretty severe naseau and vomiting - and the resulting malnutrition. Not to mention extreme water retention. Somewhat later she got bad kidney numbers, but they never figured out what that was about.

The last summer - after they got the water out of her body - she found a lump that turned out to be cancer. Not a bad cancer, but one they aimed at treating and curing. So she got the scans and the chemo to match. We were worried, but not overly. Everything ran by the books. She ran into some bacterial infections, though, and during the second attack she was at the hospital again. Everything was looking good, she felt good and was looking forward to getting home again.

Then Wednesday they find her lying on the floor in her room and upon scanning her they could see that her brain was hemorrhaging in the left lobe. That left her two days with right-side paralysis before she lost consciousness and finally gave in on Saturday.

Just like you I can't help thinking if she'd had a fighting chance had she only NOT been medicated for such a slight and - by all accounts - inconsequential "elevated cholesterol"? Ironically I already knew of the problems with the lipid hypothesis (from both Hendricks, Ravnskov and the other THINCS people), and I definitely know a safe drug that would have removed her naseau in a safe way so she could have enjoyed the remaining years of her life (and bettered her chances for survival had she gotten the cancer anyway).

Yet we decide for ourselves and pick our authorities, and in doing so bet our lives. I think she bet on the wrong horses this time, but it would have been utterly immoral to have taken that choice from her.
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Location: Wigan, UK

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