According to a startling new study, 11 million people may be taking inaccurately prescribed medications for their heart health.
These findings are based on an updated set of calculations — called pooled cohort equations (PCEs) — that are used to determine heart attack and stroke risk. These equations also help doctors decide if their patients should receive a prescription for aspirin, blood pressure drugs or statins. But if the data is improperly calculated or outdated, it could place patients at risk for over- or under-medication. (Over-medication, in particular, has become an enormous health concern in recent years.)
When a team of Stanford University Medical researchers took a hard look at the current PCEs for cardiovascular disease, they discovered that the equations were not as accurate as we would all like believe. “We found that there are probably at least two major ways to improve the 2013 equations,” said senior study author Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD.
Are You One of the Many Who Were Incorrectly Diagnosed?
One of the main data sets used to calculate the original PCE is based on information from people who were 30 to 62 years old in 1948. In other words, the data is 70 years old! Due to the age of the data, the study authors found that the equation was estimating people’s risks at about 20% too high. “A lot has changed in terms of diets, environments and medical treatment since the 1940s,” Basu said. “So, relying on our grandparents’ data to make our treatment choices is probably not the best idea.”
At the same time, the researchers found that it was pretty likely the older data did not have a sufficient sample of African-Americans. As a result, estimates for the risk of heart attack and stroke may be too low among these individuals. “While many Americans were being recommended aggressive treatments that they may not have needed according to current guidelines, some Americans — particularly African-Americans — may have been given false reassurance and probably need to start treatment given our findings,” Basu said. For the purposes of their study, the researchers updated the PCEs with newer data in an effort to substantially improve the accuracy of the cardiovascular risk estimates.
Will New Data and Statistical Methods Improve Accuracy of Diagnosis?
The authors also updated the statistical methods used to derive the equations. “We found that by revising the PCEs with new data and statistical methods, we could substantially improve the accuracy of cardiovascular disease risk estimates,” the authors wrote. Since PCEs provide a roadmap to physicians when it comes to prescribing common heart medications, these new revisions have the potential to alter the type, dosage and number of meds recommended to patients with cardiovascular issues.
In order to stay on the safe side when it comes to risky medications, Live in the Now recommends opting natural. CoQ10 supplementation has been found to effectively promote a healthy heart. Learn more here: How Much CoQ10 Do You Really Need (Plus What Else You Need to Know).
Millions could have incorrect statin, aspirin and blood pressure prescriptions. News Release. Stanford University Medical School. June 2018.
Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”