One cardiologist’s mission to reduce statin use for cholesterol #cardiology

One cardiologist’s mission to reduce statin use for cholesterol #cardiology



Dr. Elizabeth Klodas is a practicing cardiologist in Minneapolis and the creator of Step One Foods. This piece represents her views and not necessarily those of CNN. (CNN)High cholesterol? Here’s a pill. High blood pressure? Here’s two pills. High blood sugar? Here’s two pills and an injection. This is what many doctors routinely do without ever addressing why the cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar is abnormal in the first place. I used to practice this way until I realized that all I was doing was covering up the downstream effects of poor diet with a bunch of drugs, instead of changing the food. I am a practicing cardiologist. I trained at some of the finest medical institutions in the world, including Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, and have been repeatedly recognized for great patient care. But what I really want to achieve professionally is to put myself out of work. Unfortunately, cardiologists have endless job security. And that’s because we’re treating the wrong thing. My waiting room was full of patients whose numbers I had made perfect but who still looked sick and felt terrible. Some even felt worse with all the drugs I had put them on. No cures, just a neverending revolving door of follow-up visits. This is not why I went to medical school.Statins’ benefits beyond heart health aren’t clear-cut, analysis saysYet no one seemed to be doing anything about this or even acknowledging it. So I became obsessed with finding a better solution and founded a company that formulates foods to help lower cholesterol, backed by pharmaceutical-level science.Read MoreThere may be 30,000 food items in the average grocery store, but none of them has been subjected to any real scientific scrutiny. They bear all sorts of checkmarks and heart symbols, but that tells only part of the story. For example, a cereal might contain fiber — and boldly tout the ability of this nutrient to lower cholesterol — but the fine print reveals that a serving of the cereal also delivers the added sugar equivalent of three cookies. Any positive health effect of the fiber is completely negated. But how is the average consumer supposed to know this? They’re not. They’re just supposed to like the taste and feel good about buying that cereal. My patients may have been trying to “eat better,” but they were getting duped.Two decades ago, the National Institutes of Health cholesterol guidelines mandated that changing diet should be tried for three months as the first step in treating high cholesterol, before putting anyone on drugs. But today, many of my peers expressed skepticism that a food-based solution could work. It took more than 80,000 hours of training for me to become a cardiologist. How much of that time was spent on nutrition? Zero. Treatment guidelines, representing the standard of care, only pay lip service to nutrition. For example, the American Heart Association’s latest cholesterol management guideline is 120 pages long. How much of that i

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