Dr. Oz Questions Whether High Heels Can Decrease Your Lifespan
Dr. Oz special guest David Agus, MD and author of a book titled “The End of Illness” is a cancer specialist who believes that conventional medicine has been headed in the wrong direction by treating components of disease piecemeal rather than looking at health as a whole-body system. As such, Dr. Agus has raised eyebrows with views such as his belief that multivitamins and supplements are actually increasing the risk of diseases like cancer. One of his more controversial claims is that it is possible to increase your longevity by taking a common cholesterol lowering drug - even though you do not have high cholesterol.
“How close is conventional medicine to discovering the fountain of youth?” Dr. Oz asks Dr. Agus.
“I don’t think that we are that far away. I think that right now we are good at prevention. But things like within the next decade—I bet you—Alzheimer’s becomes a disease of the past,” says Dr. Agus.
“In a decade?”
“In a decade. I mean that experiments are happening now that are wild. For the first time ever, we’ve reversed it [Alzheimer’s] in mice.”
Dr. Oz tells viewers that one of Dr. Agus’s beliefs is that many of us can increase our longevity like a fountain of youth by taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. In fact, Dr. Agus states that almost everyone should be started on statin drugs by age 40—even if they are not diagnosed having high cholesterol.
“Look at the data,” says Dr. Agus. “I mean it all goes back to the randomized [study] data. They took people with normal cholesterol, and higher inflammation, and they put them on these statins, and they delayed heart attack and stroke by many years in these people. This drug blocks inflammation—it seems to be the root of heart disease and cancer and other diseases. And they work! They make people live longer. So, the data are there,” says Dr. Agus.
Dr. Oz explains that the basis of Dr. Agus’s belief in statins is that it all has to do with Dr. Agus’s idea that inflammation in the body is the cause of many diseases; and therefore, a shortened lifespan. To help people decide whether statin drugs may be right for them in promoting longevity, Dr. Agus offers 5 questions that people should ask themselves to determine whether they are at risk of having inflammation.
1. Do you have a family history of heart disease?
2. Do you have a family history of cancer?
3. Are you overweight?
4. Do you smoke?
5. Do you have a history of diabetes/high blood sugar?
To make Dr. Agus’s point that most people need to be on statins, a viewer guest is asked to answer the 5 questions onstage. Of the 5 questions, the viewer answered yes to only one of the 5 questions admitting that she is considered overweight. Dr. Agus states that his opinion is that even though the viewer has just 1 of the 5 conditions listed, that statins may be right for her because being overweight leads to heart disease and cancer, which he believes can be avoided by taking statins.
Dr. Oz counters Dr. Agus’s recommendation stating that since 2/3 of all Americans are obese or overweight, then according to Dr. Agus’s recommendation—they should all be put on statins?
“Two-thirds of the country will die of heart disease and cancer. So yeah, we need to prevent these diseases,” says Dr. Agus.
Dr. Oz presses Dr. Agus further by asking him that since inflammation can result from joint pain or even pain in your heel from wearing high heels, whether these people too should be taking statins.
“The inflammation I am talking about is a blood test called “C-reactive protein. What we know is that it puts you at a slightly higher risk. The heel pain can certainly lead to that, but right now we use the blood test as the metric,” says Dr. Agus.
“So if that blood test was high, and someone had heel pain from wearing high heel shoes, would they go on a statin drug if they were in your practice?” asks Dr. Oz.
“No question about it…because a large study shows that people do better when they did that” says Dr. Agus.
When Dr. Oz asks him if he really believes that statins are a fountain of youth drug, Dr. Agus strongly replies yes to the question.
“Absolutely…this is the only class of drug that makes people live longer, so it definitely works in regards to longevity. So I am a believer.”
Dr. Oz points out that taking statins can lead to experiencing side effects such as muscle pain and damage, memory loss, liver toxicity and kidney failure and asks Dr. Agus if he worries that they may be doing more harm than good by putting everyone over 40 on statins.
“These side effects are very, very, very rare,” says Dr. Agus. “And they do happen, and they are real, and I want education to make people realize that they happen—but the benefits are there. If you talk to someone with advanced heart disease or cancer, and you say that “These are the two biggest killers in our country, do you wish you were on a drug that could have prevented it?” Uniformly the answer is “yes.”
In spite of Dr. Agus’s fervor that when changes in lifestyle do not remove a person from any of the five risk factors listed earlier, that a person should go on statins, Dr. Oz maintains that he disagrees with Dr. Agus’s recommendation of statins for everyone over the age 40 when they may have only one of the 5 aforementioned risk factors.
“I really think that lifestyle dwarfs the value of any pill…I don’t think that you don’t need them [statins] after the age of 40 if you have only one of those risk factors,” says Dr. Oz to his viewers reiterating that his message is health through change rather than through prescription drugs unless needed and recommended by your physician.
For an informative article about the health risks of taking statins, follow this link to an Emaxhealth article titled “Statin Side Effects and Risks, Can You Name Them?”
Image Courtesy of MorgueFile
Reference: The Dr. Oz Show—“One Doctor's Controversial Anti-Aging Prescription”