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Amp up your health benefits -- get smart about statins

Jan. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

When Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) in the quirky movie "Silver Linings Playbook" refuses to take his meds, it's a setup for a manic comedy. OK for humor, not good for your health. No matter what medication you're prescribed, if you decide not to take it, you may miss profound benefits -- benefits you amplify if you adopt a lifestyle upgrade, too.

That's why it's big news that statins -- meds to lower lousy, LDL cholesterol -- do double, triple, even quadruple duty. And we want you to listen up because 66 percent of people with statin prescriptions either don't take them or stop taking them.

Statins help millions of North Americans reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. And statins can do even more: If you have radiation for prostate cancer, they boost the eight-year "all-clear" rate from 74 percent to 80 percent. They reduce complications after hip-replacement surgery; help people with COPD breathe better; and improve outcomes of inflammatory breast cancer.

We don't know all the whys, but bet some of these benefits come from statins' overall inflammation-reducing powers. And we have even better news. You can slash inflammation by losing excess body fat, managing stress (everyone has it, just don't let it manage you), being physically active every day (10,000 steps a day works) and eliminating the five food felons (trans and most saturated fats, any grain that's not 100 percent whole, and added sugars and sugar syrups). Then, you may not need a statin -- and you'll save money, feel better, look younger and have a much younger RealAge!

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.

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