Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Red Rice Yeast

My visit to the internist did not go well. After a few years of watching my total cholesterol elevate (it should come with a bumper sticker that says, This Cholesterol Level Has Climbed Mount Washington), it was time to "do" something about it. Since I am pretty much against any medication that does not include chocolate, I was resistant to my doctor's gentle (verbal) prodding. Seeing how I had dug in my heels, he suggested I start off with something called Red Rice Yeast. I work in a health care environment and I see patients with cholesterol problems who complain about the side effects of statins. And as an alternative, some have switched to this Chinese wonder drug. So, I enlisted the aid of my vitamin-guru husband to research my options.

After wandering the aisles of Vitamin Shoppe, we were directed to the "You're going to keel over from a heart attack if you don't buy something from these shelves" section, where my husband zeroed in on the brand he wanted. After pulling the bottle off the shelf, he handed it to me so I could read the warnings  (I hand it right back because I don't have my reading glasses). And they are pretty much the same as the statins, so why do I feel safer taking these as opposed to a tightly controlled, doctor prescribed FDA regulated drug? I have no idea. After a comment from the husband that "this product may cause death" the purchase is made, and we head home.

Now, some possible side-effects of Red Rice Yeast are body aches and pains and possible liver malfunction.  Being the classic Type A, anxiety-prone personality I am, it only took about 5 minutes after my first pill to start feeling "things." Bear in mind that when you get to the age I am, EVERYTHING feels like "something"  at some point or another. Just the act of getting out of bed hurts. It's called "getting old and decrepit." There is a silver lining to this, however.  While waiting the six months to have blood work done to see if this stuff really works, we are busy using it as our new go-to excuse. Now when one of us feels a new or old twinge of pain, we say, "Red Rice Yeast" and get on with our day.  It's all what you make of it.

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