The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1053: How to Have a Healthy Heart

Our experts agree that lifestyle is a critical way to have a healthy heart. Exercise and a good diet are as important as taking a statin drug.
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How to Have a Healthy Heart

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There is considerable confusion over cholesterol and its connection to heart health and longevity. Should cholesterol be lowered at all costs? We’ll discuss the evidence for and against focusing on cholesterol. We also get good advice on the best lifestyle practices for maintaining a healthy heart.

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Statin Drugs?

One of the principal methods for getting cholesterol under control is to take a statin drug. Why are statins so popular? What are their benefits and risks? Both our expert guests recommend that patients and doctors discuss their pros and cons if a statin is prescribed. You’ll be better prepared for that discussion after listening to their thoughtful opinions.

This Week’s Guests:

Sidney C. Smith, Jr., MD, is Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina. He is a past president of the American Heart Association and he chaired the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association committee that drew up Guidelines on Secondary Prevention. He has also served on or chaired numerous other guideline committees and task forces. For example, he was Chair of the Executive Committee for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Integrated Guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Robert DuBroff, MD, recently retired from his position as associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. He is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiology and has a specialty in lipidology. The article Dr. DuBroff published with Dr. Michel de Lorgeril, “Cholesterol Confusion and Statin Controversy,” was in the World Journal of Cardiology, July 26, 2015.

 Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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Download the mp3

To hear our extended interview with Dr. Dubroff – including bonus material not heard in our show – click the play button below:

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Liked your response to Diane. Publishing and research has its cost in time and money and cost to download an MP3 is a cup of coffee at McDonald’s, so keep up the good work.

I’m a 79 year old guy on 40 mg Pravastatin and have had no problems. I don’t know why but it seems there are statins and there are statins. I hear of more muscle problems from people on Zocor.

For me it’s a no brainer because I have PAD in both legs so I’m upping my exercise to build up collateral arteries, watching my diet and taking statins. I was an avid runner until age 65 and started to have joint problems. My advice to runners is don’t run everyday, i.e., cross train mixing running with swimming or elliptical machine or just walking. Not many of us have a perfect skeletal system so years of pounding the pavement can take it’s toll.

Anyone considering statins should read, “The Great Cholesterol Myth”. Also, try to eat more Whole Food Plant Based diet, less processed foods (less sugar, flour), exercise more and connect socially. Take your vitamin D, omega-3, and see Dr Ornish or Michael Gregor ( for more (free) information.
Take care,

We have so many differing opinions now about Statins and heart health, is there any chance of clarity ? I am 90% certain that Lipitor caused me TGA and Rosuvastatin in turn caused peripheral neuropathy but feel that carefully ” muddied water” by interested parties camouflages the truth. I understand that one of the main tenets of the Hippocratic oath is “do no harm”. Clarity would be a good step forward in that direction.

I have no idea whether my recent message which I posted to you this last weekend had any effect or not, however, miraculously for the first time, I was able to scroll down on your website and see an option to listen to the most recent podcast. I am so pleased and grateful. Thank you, thank you,
Keith Brubaker, Ph.D.

I refused to take statins and I am glad I did. That was ten years ago and I am still walking around. I eat right and exercise. I DO NOT NEED STATINS!!!

I had quadruple open heart surgery in 2002 and have taken by prescription ZOCOR (Simvastatin) 40 mg 1 a day since and my cholesterol is measured 1 x month .

What is your opinion. Continue or not ?

We are only one of millions of families whose lives have been destroyed by drug-oriented medics force-feeding Statin prescriptions. I would refer readers to Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s comment that the use of statin drugs comes something very close to “a crime against humanity”.

I am very disappointed that this website is such a money-making enterprise. I have bought all of your home remedy book, faithfully read your column and have subscribed to this website. Over the years I have touted your advice to my relatives and friends. Lately it seems that more and more studies you bring us have to be bought. Very discouraging. I am older and without the means to buy all that I would like to read about. So I will be googling the study and read it at the source. I also do not expect this comment to be published. In fact, it is just for your information.

We really encourage you to look up the original studies at the source. That is why we now provide links to the study whenever we can. Often, all that is available to the public is the abstract, or summary, of what the study showed.

We are sorry you feel that the website has become too commercial. Websites require money to run them; without funds we would have to shut it down. We strive to keep providing plenty of info that people can get to and use without paying.

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