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Disastrous lifestyle choices lead people to inevitable dependence on pharmaceuticals
Many doctors and health research are publicly stating something that desperately needs to be said: that lifestyle choices are the primary cause of out-of-control cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. And when people make disastrous choices in terms of diet, nutrition and physical exercise, the result is inevitable: a lifetime of chronic illness and dependence on prescription drugs. If you enjoy this article, you may also be interested in an article entitled ''If prescription drugs are so good, where are all the healthy drug takers?.''
- A new, grim chapter in the American health story emerged last week: Eat poorly and avoid exercise, and you might become one of nearly 40 million Americans who needs a pill to lower your "bad" cholesterol.
- An expert panel lowered the target for bad cholesterol to 70 or lower for those at very high risk of heart attack.
- The target had been less than 100.
- The panel also said that more aggressive treatment --- that is, higher dosage of statins, or maybe even a combination, in addition to lifestyle changes --- should be a consideration for those at high risk.
- Guidelines for bad cholesterol for those at low to moderate risk remained the same, although the National Cholesterol Education Program says an optimal level of bad cholesterol is 100 or lower for all adults.
- Yet others questioned the report''s deeper implications --- that Americans are harming themselves so badly through poor diet and lack of exercise that their only hope of healthy living is through drugs.
- Statins are the largest prescribed class of drugs in the United States, and they contribute mightily toward the health of many an American --- and the health of many of the big pharmaceutical firms'' bottom line.
- They also have become as essential to millions as air to lower cholesterol, the fatty molecule that builds up in the blood.
- Patients often can achieve that by eliminating saturated fats, adding soluble fiber, exercising regularly and losing weight.
- Healthy arteries are smooth, slick and flexible and can expand to let more blood through when necessary.
- Staff writers