Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a four-part series chronicling the medical history of Hazel’s father and the complications of his prescribed choleserol treatment. To properly orient yourself within the story you may read Part One Here.
MALIBU—My beloved, once-healthy father was withering away. It broke my heart. I channeled my despair into determination. Fueled by a desire to see him healthy again, I spent my time after work researching the effects of statins and alternative remedies for high cholesterol.
The diagnosis of statin-induced myopathy necessitated a series of visits to a neurologist. Following months of tests, my dad was told he’d developed Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a form of Parkinson’s disease.
Like Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), there is no cure. We were told that he would die within five years. He would retain brain function while his body deteriorated. I couldn’t believe it. The side effects from Lovastatin were so obvious from day one, but ignored for two years.
By this time, my dad’s condition was terrible. Stopping the statin treatment helped, but he didn’t return to his former health. He couldn’t exercise any more, he coughed incessantly, his speech and vision progressively deteriorated, and he kept falling without reason. Swallowing water without adding thickener was impossible.
It was easy for the doctors to blame it on an incurable brain disease and give up, but I believed something had to be done. I continued my research, discovering that statins break down the myelin sheath, an electrically insulating material that forms around the axon of a neuron. Though statins make one’s cholesterol look good on paper, the destruction of the myelin sheath hampers essential functions of the nervous system.
Imagine if your dog chewed through the cord of your vacuum. What happens when you try to use it? The vacuum won’t work because there is no longer a proper means of transmitting the electric current from the electricity source to the vacuum’s motor. In this scenario, the plastic casing of the cord is analogous to the myelin sheath, protecting the wiring, or axons that transmit electricity within the cord.
Cholesterol is an essential component of myelin. So when statins break down cholesterol, essential functions of the nervous system, and by consequence, the body, begin to severely fail.
Through research, I discovered thousands of cases of people who shared my dad’s symptoms. Almost universally, doctors will blame genetics, not statins, leaving the patient ignorant as to what is causing their ailing health.
They believe that they are a medical anomaly, not knowing that the medicine they’re taking is destroying their brain. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are making billions, rewarding doctors handsomely for selling their drugs.
Gold watches, paid vacations, and office staff lunches all serve as great distractions from the damage done by improperly prescribed medication.
If these drugs are so good for people, why invest so much time and money pushing them? Beautiful girls in short-skirts and handsome men in pressed suits aren’t necessary to sell drugs that are universally beneficial for patients.
If statins were truly good, they would sell themselves. We see the beautiful, happy people who take these drugs smiling at us through the television. But why the rush to rapidly list the side effects at the end of the commercial?