Dr. Andrew Weil respects the benefits of conventional medicine, but understands the value of integrative medicine too. He acknowledges any value that comes from statin drugs but he is also aware of their limitations and drawbacks. He is open to other means of dealing with cardiovascular disease, including cholesterol both LDL and HDL, triglycerides and blood fat.
Dr. Weil is Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Arizona.
(Transcribed from video interview)
Statin drugs are the most powerful drugs that we have found to lower LDL cholesterol, which is commonly called bad cholesterol, and I think there are definitely indications for them, but a woman’s cardiovascular risk is determined by many factors of which elevated LDL cholesterol is only one.
A coronary heart disease risk is a result of inflammatory pressure in the body so, you also want to do everything you can to reduce inflammation. Stress plays a role in cardiovascular disease, so it’s important to learn and practice methods of stress reduction.
Physical activity is strongly preventive of cardiovascular disease. So it’s important that women maintain physical activity throughout life. The problem with statins is that they have very focused action. They are doing one thing, which is lowering this one aspect of cholesterol. We’d also like to raise good cholesterol -- HDL cholesterol. Statins don’t do that. We’d also like to lower triglycerides, blood fat; statins don’t do that.
So, while statins have their place, I don’t think they are enough, and our problem today is that doctors are so enthusiastic about statins that they often feel that once they have put a patient on them that they don’t have to pay attention to these other risk factors.
About Dr. Weil, M.D.:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., was born in Philadelphia in 1942, received an A.B. degree in biology (botany) from Harvard in 1964 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. After completing a medical internship at Mt.