Interviewer: Let's talk about cholesterol. That's long been known as a bad guy, for lack of a better term. Uh, is it, is that the case, and are those numbers we're told to hit or be below, something that we should honestly try to hit?
Dr. Wright: If we're going to pay attention to cholesterol at all, the thing that's been proven long ago, to pay attention to is the ratios between the types of cholesterol and not the absolute number itself. If a person's total cholesterol, let's say, is 300, oh my gosh, that's too high. But, their good cholesterol, the HDL happens to be 85 or 90, the ratio is 3.2, 3.3 to 1, that's well within an average risk, I should say lower than average risk range for men, five to one gets you from average to too high for the ratio, risk ratio. For women it's a 4.5. But, if we just judge that 300 and we don't take into account the 85 or 90, which, by the way, is not uncommon for women, women have better ratios, um, if we don't take into account, then somebody is going to be feeding us a statin drug or trying to feed us a statin drug, um and we really don't need it because we haven't gotten the extra risk even from the cholesterol point of view. There's another ratio between the so called, um, bad cholesterol, the LDL, and the HDL and one, if one really wants to get fancy, one can send the blood test off to a lab that breaks it down into all kinds of, not just HDL and LDL and total cholesterol but, into all kinds of cholesterol fractions and this is the bad one and this is the good one and one can figure out the ratios from there. So, one never accepts it, ever, please folks, on the basis of the single number itself. First, look at your ratios to see if you've really got risk.
But then, let's look at something very fundamental. What is the point of paying attention to cholesterol? The point is said to be, prevention of heart attack and stroke, isn't it? All right. Do you know what will your risk and my risk, her risk everybody's risk of heart attack and stoke by 75 to 80 percent, and you don't have to follow a thing? Do you know what that might be? It's called donating blood. There is research on that, from the 1990s, late 1990s, whole bunch of guys, followed for an average of eight years each, the guys who donated blood once or twice a year had 75 percent less heart attack and stroke during that time. No kidding. And then there's more research from Scandinavia, which a much larger bunch of men, same deal. The guys, who donated blood once or twice a year, had 75 to 80 percent less risk of heart attack and stroke. Now, if word ever got out about that, what would happen to the sales of anti-cholesterol medications? Because anti-cholesterol medications cannot drop the heart attack and stroke risk by 75 to 80 percent.
What the problem is, it's very simple. It's called blood being thicker than it should be. When blood is too thick, it abrades the walls of the arteries. This is not original with me. Everyone get the book by Dr. Ken Kensey, Kensey and Young Choe, it's called the origins of atherosclerosis. You'll find it online, used books, it's inexpensive. Please get that book.
What these Drs. explain is that blood is abrasive. It abrades the walls at the branch points of the arteries. If it's just flowing down a tube [inaudible 00:03:43] but, if it has to branch, it's going to abrade, it sets up [whorls], it sets up eddies and that abrasion causes inflammation and the inflammation, you've all heard about cardiovascular inflammation, if it gets bad enough, it has to be, what shall I say, covered over. What covers it over? Cholesterol containing plaque. The cholesterol is partially, not completely, but, it's partially a response to cardiovascular inflammation. So, yes, it is somewhat of a predictor because, if it means you're more inflamed but, it's not the cause of the inflammation. It's something that's trying to get in there and help.
All right. So, do you know what the second function of the uterus is? Tell me the first function.
Interviewer: Ah, to support a newborn.
Dr. Wright: There you go. Now, what's the second function of the uterus?
Dr. Wright: Nothing to do with supporting a newborn.
Interviewer: Okay. Releasing blood.
Dr. Wright: You got it. And, what it does there, when it does that, it's to protect the mother against heart attack and stroke until her kids are old enough that they can take care of themselves and, given the long human history, most women were having their babies in their late teens and early 20s and 20 years later, when they were still pre-menopausal, they were still having their periods and they were keeping their blood less thick. How many women, prior to menopause have heart attacks or strokes? If they don't smoke and they don't take birth control pills, how many? It's almost zero. The ones who have strokes have taken a birth control pill or they've been heavy smokers. Women just don't have them.
Now ask any regular physician, what's the normal blood viscosity? What's that? Ok, let's talk in terms of the hematocrit. That's just the [concentration] of red blood cells in total blood volume. What's the average for women? Its five points less than men. Men don't have bleeding periods once a month. Men don't lose blood once a month and so their blood remains thicker. Its five points thicker, on a hematocrit scale than a woman's, on the average. What happens to women after menopause? Well, look at that. Her hematocrit starts to go up. She's not losing blood every month anymore. By the time she's 60, she's just as much at risk as a man for heart attack and stroke and, it's not entirely because her estrogen went down. Now, it is true, it's partially due to that but, if a woman, would just have her body do what it did when she was younger, meaning get rid of some blood from time to time, whoo, risk of heart attack and stroke will go down by 75 to 80 percent too and, you know, and they can't patent that and they can't put it on TV and tell you how bad it is at the end, and, you know, there's all these possible side effects and complications and, not only that folks, we're doing ourselves some good and that person down the road who gets that unit of blood, in an emergency, we're doing them some good too. And, I'm not a paid spokesman for the American Association of Blood Banks. This is for the person themselves. So, what I think about cholesterol, is it's interesting and we need to look at the ratios but, in response to cardiovascular inflammation, what we really need to do is stop the inflammation.
What we want to do with anything in healthcare, if we can, if we ever get bright enough, is to look at the cost and the cost of that inflammation is mostly, I won't say entirely but, mostly the abrasion. Dr. Kenneth Kensey and Dr. Young Chow, The Origin of atherosclerosis. That's the book. Um, donate some blood. You'll cut your risk of heart attack and stroke dramatically. You know what? You won't have to be in pain either because the blood bank will do it for free.