Statins: Symptom Masking and Medicine Stacking
Western medicine has migrated toward specialization and prescriptions drugs—this leads us to missing the forest for the trees. Women’s medicine is full of “symptom masking and medicine stacking.” Statin use to lower cholesterol is just one more example of this less-than-ideal approach to women’s healthcare.
The question needs to be “what is the root cause of a particular woman’s elevated cholesterol?” What are her other symptoms? Does she have fatigue, easy weight gain, frequent infections, food intolerances, or feel cold all the time? Low thyroid function and chronic stress could be the underlying causes. Does she struggle with cyclical headaches, depression, irritability, insomnia, and painful periods? An imbalance between estrogen and progesterone in the last half of her cycle could be the culprit. Most women are not aware of how estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid function have direct effects on how the liver processes cholesterol.
Educating women on how hormone balance and thyroid function affect whole body health is important so that they can be their own advocates in the doctor’s office and can implement healthy lifestyle changes to promote better hormone balance. We need to shift the tide in women’s healthcare towards a more positive and holistic approach—statin use is just one manifestation of an underlying problem in women’s medicine today.
Laurie Heap, MD has been speaking with women in small group settings about hormonal health, happiness, stress management, and relationships for the last 15 years. To learn more, visit RUhealthyRUhappyMD.com, her Facebook page, or follow her on twitter at @LaurieHeap.