Preventing heart disease has very little to do with simply lowering cholesterol with statin drugs. Our current thinking about how to treat and prevent heart disease is at best misguided, and at worst harmful. We believe we are treating the causes of heart disease by lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar with medication. But the real question is what causes high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar in the first place. (i) It is certainly not a medication deficiency!

If you say your genes are responsible, you are mostly wrong. It is the environment working on your genes that determines your risk. In other words, it is the way you eat, how much you exercise, how you deal with stress and the effects of environmental toxins (ii) that are the underlying causes of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. That is what determines your risk of heart disease, not a lack of medication.

The research clearly shows that changing how we live is a much more powerful intervention for preventing heart disease than any medication. The “EPIC” study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine studied 23,000 people’s adherence to 4 simple behaviors (not smoking, exercising 3.5 hours a week, eating a healthy diet [fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and limited amounts of meat], and maintaining a healthy weight [BMI <30]). In those adhering to these behaviors, 93% of diabetes, 81% of heart attacks, 50% of strokes, and 36% of all cancers were prevented. (iii)

And the INTERHEART study, published in the Lancet in 2004, followed 30 000 people and found that changing lifestyle could prevent at least 90% of all heart disease. (iv)

These studies are among a large evidence base documenting how lifestyle intervention is often more effective in reducing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and deaths from all causes than almost any other medical intervention. (v) It is because lifestyle doesn’t only reduce risk factors such as high blood pressure, blood sugar, or cholesterol. Our lifestyle and environment influence the fundamental causes and biological mechanisms leading to disease: changes in gene expression, which modulate inflammation, oxidative stress, and metabolic dysfunction. Those are the real reasons we are sick.

The good news is that by fixing the problem at its root results creates benefit for most chronic disease and it makes you feel more alive, healthy and has no side effects.

Exercise is a necessity, not a luxury, in preventing almost all chronic disease, from heart disease to cancer, from dementia to diabetes, from osteoporosis to osteoarthritis.

Disregarding the underlying causes and treating only risk factors is somewhat like mopping up the floor around an overflowing sink instead of turning off the faucet, which is why medications usually have to be taken for a lifetime. When the underlying lifestyle causes are addressed, patients often are able to stop taking medication and avoid surgery (under their doctor’s supervision, of course).
source -Dr Mark Hyman