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Letters: Statins aren't for everyone

November 22, 2013

Re "A second opinion on statins," Editorial, Nov. 19

When it comes to reducing heart attacks, decreasing inflammation in blood vessels trumps reducing cholesterol. Diet and exercise can be just as effective as statins in this area, but many dismiss these efforts.

Maybe that's because most of the unimpressive research used a high-carb, low-fat diet. Individuals at risk for heart disease are often insulin resistant. Of course the high-carb approach was ineffective.

Second, dietitians and other qualified nutritionists should be reimbursed by Medicare and other insurance plans for doing what they do best.

Medicare does not cover medical nutrition therapy for patients with cardiovascular risk. Most private health insurance routinely denies coverage.

When treating obesity, regulations are in place to reimburse only doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. How are they supposed to effectively counsel patients in office visits that average a few minutes, especially when many doctors report they are not prepared to do this work?

Patients deserve better.

Bonnie Modugno

Venice

The writer is a registered dietitian.

Earlier this year, my doctor reviewed the blood work required for my last physical. He stated that with the new curve on LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) limits, at my age, I was one point above the recommended safe level.

He said that "if you were my grandfather, I'd recommend we prescribe a statin for you."

I told him that if I were his grandfather, I'd tell him, "No way."

A dedicated blood test for cholesterol placed me back in the recommended safe level without taking anything — even red yeast rice, a natural statin.

Is it OK for me to just shake my head when I read that it's recommended we take another pill in this pill-pusher society?

Reggie Kenner

Manhattan Beach

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