In the city I get my hair cut in a hair salon. Up here, though, I go to a beauty parlor. I doubt they’d call it that, but there are important differences. In the beauty parlor, for example, no one wears black. Jeans are a favorite outfit, in fact. And the stations sport personal assemblages of family photos and other memorabilia. Not just one or two, either, but a great sprouting of them, almost a family tree of pictures, in fact. And finally, the prices are less than half. Not a small matter, these days.
The conversation in a hair salon tends to be one-on-one, your hair cutter and you. In the beauty parlor, conversation can involve everyone. This morning’s subject was cholesterol drugs.
Anyone who has looked up Lipitor or Crestor on the internet knows that horror stories abound. I always thought: well, you’re going to hear from the ones who are having trouble. You don’t hear from the millions who don’t have trouble.
In the salon, today, I had a somewhat different response.
There were approximately ten people in the room; three of them were having the active conversation. Each of the three, and one husband, had experienced very strange side effects from Lipitor as prescribed by their individual physicians. Severe joint and muscle pain for two; mental fogginess to the point of interfering with daily activities for the other two; all of this occurring rapidly after the medication was prescribed and not before.
The doctors in question seem to have difficulty believing that rapid physical deterioration in a patient after they have been prescribed a statin has anything much to do with the statin. They will, if asked, recommend a different statin, but that’s about it.
So, is the problem the patient's perception? A patient is prescribed a statin usually as a response to a high cholesterol count. This is a problem without symptoms, for the most part. Suddenly, following use of the drug for a time, problems arise, which the doctor often ascribes to “aging.” Blood tests are performed, and if there is no sign of a particular pernicious muscle wasting side effect, the doctor attributes the changes to “aging.”
But why would “aging” symptoms dramatically increase in a short amount of time after the drug is prescribed, when they weren’t present beforehand?
We are sure that statins lower cholesterol. They seem to decrease the incidence of stroke and heart attack. They seem to increase muscle weakness and joint and memory problems. Are we now placed in the position of naming our poison? And of doing so without candid or informed advice?
(The two charmers below, who were roaming around Treeland Garden Center this afternoon, don't have need of beauty parlors, do they?)