The Nation



Bloody highs and lows

Democracy and cholesterol are both hot topics for debate and disagreement, even among politicians and medics.

Regarding the latter, my understanding is that only 15-20 per cent of cholesterol in the blood comes from what we eat. The majority is naturally manufactured by the body, meaning that a tendency to higher or lower levels is at least in part genetic.

At 56, I follow a pretty healthy diet and exercise regime but my "bad" cholesterol has recently become too high. At the same time my "good" cholesterol is and always has been at an extremely high level. Everyone on my mother's side of the family died of stroke. For better or worse I am now trying out statins. We are rarely offered the complete story largely because even the experts often fail to agree. The causes of high cholesterol and the harmlessness of statins are cases in point. So who and what are we to believe?

Fads and theories come and go so I fully expect to be instructed soon that high "bad" cholesterol levels are the result of noise and air pollution, political strife, extreme corruption and Thaksin Shinawatra. For once, that would explain everything and I would then rest easy.

John Shepherd


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