Statins

Hi everyone, I have always thought my diet was exceptionally healthy, but my Cholesterol numbers aren’t exactly where they should be and my cardiologist is thinking about Statins and a lot else if coronary artery disease is confirmed, but I will tell you about the rest another time when I know more and have had a range of tests. 

I may try to get these numbers down with lifestyle and diet alone.  Can you give me any advice about Statins?  Never tried them.  May I ask what has worked for you in getting those numbers down?  What lifestyle changes, diet changes did you have to make to improve your numbers?  Can I do this with diet alone or will I need a helping hand with a Statin?

Looking at my numbers, are they really so bad that they need treating?  Would be grateful for your experience dealing with slightly higher than normal reference range for cholesterol levels. 

My full Lipid Profile laboratory reference range is as follows:-

Cholesterol (Total) 5.2 mmol/L (more than 4.0 mmol/L is associated with increased cardiovascular risk)

Triglycerides 1.03 mmol/L (within normal range)

Total/HDL Cholesterol ratio value 3.1

HDL Cholesterol 1.67 mmol/L

Non-HDL Cholesterol 3.5 mmol/L

LDL Cholesterol 3.1 mmol/L (more than 2.00 mmol/L is associated with increased cardiovascular risk)

Thank you all and I hope you are doing okay.  

I attach a link about Cholesterol:-

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/blood-and-lymph/high-cholesterol/#:~:text=As%20a%20general%20guide%2C%20LDL,for%20those%20at%20high%20risk


34 Comments

Statins

by H van Dyk - 2024-03-22 16:10:12

When I compare your data to my latest blood test, I see that your results are just a fraction higher. I don't think you are in any real danger, but your medical team knows best. A complete diagnose also has to do with age, weight, blood pressure, drinking habits, other medication etc. This cannot be done online.

I am using Atorvastatine for many years now. Because of the cost it is not the preferred medication. I had to ask for it, after learning that this medication has the least side effects...

Risk profile

by atiras - 2024-03-22 16:29:14

You can't look at those numbers in isolation - IIRC AF combined with high cholesterol numbers magnifies the risks.

I've taken Simvastatin (gave me cramps in the legs), Rosuvastatin (very effective and side effect free for me but too expensive for my local NHS trust), Atorvastatin for years (did the job, cheap enough for the trust and very occasional leg cramps could be averted with tonic water.) Now on Pravatatin which isn’t generally recommended but observational studies show has incidental benefits for heart transplant patients in staving off the onset of the dreaded CAV. If it doesnt adequately control my cholesterol however they'll  swich me back to Atorvastin.

Diet?

by Repero - 2024-03-22 18:15:08

Like you Gemita, I always thought my diet was good. My total cholesterol level was 6.9 however, and all my other numbers are higher than yours. Now on Atorvastatin 20mg for just three months and due a second blood test to see the effect. No side effects experienced.

I have a friend who made large reductions in her cholesterol levels, but only by dint of drastic dietary changes - she gave up all cheese for example, plus all other sources of saturated fat. This was painful for her as it would be for me. So there is a question about quality of life to be considered.

Apparently, some people have intrinsically high cholesterol levels and diet doesn't really make much difference to them. I guess you can only find out by experimenting. It makes sense to see what diet can do for you first of all, and at what pain, then make your decision about statins.

high cholesterol

by new to pace.... - 2024-03-22 18:34:10

Diet is the key and reading the labels on what your purchase.  Of course  I took the  Red Yeast Rice Supplement 1 or 2 at night.  I only stopped because i started to have leg cramps, the same as the prescribed satins.

I also found out if my number was in range i got depressed.  Was happy when it was 225(US) number).

Here comes the hard part giving up the pleasures in life for at least 6 months.  Cows milk ice cream, cheese, egg yolks.  Also will help with weight loss.

You can get your much needed calcium from Vegetables.

Also what the others have said above.

new to pace

 

H van Dyk

by Gemita - 2024-03-22 20:17:21

Thank you for your help.  You are of course right to remind me that my medical team will know my condition best, but it is always good to get feedback from members too.  My weight is steady and has been for years, but of course I cannot hold back the years however hard I try.  My blood pressure has always been quite low.  No alcohol, although I used to enjoy a glass of wine with my meals until Atrial Fibrillation came along in 2016.   I am glad you find Atorvastatin side effect free.  That is really good to know and is my main concern about taking Statins.   

Atiras

by Gemita - 2024-03-22 20:20:34

Atiras, thank you for your comments.  I realise that I have other health difficulties like AF which can adversely affect the circulatory system and combine that with high cholesterol, it could be a recipe for trouble.  Good to know about the Rosuvastatin being side effect free for you.  They tried my husband on several different statins but he couldn’t tolerate them.  He should be on one because his Triglycerides are very high.  I hope you stay free from the dreaded cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) which I see affects around half of transplanted hearts within the first 10 years.  How are you doing otherwise?  I do hope your other organs are still giving good support and that you have a quality of life.  Hubby's kidney function is worsening because of his diabetes.  Stay safe Atiras

Repero

by Gemita - 2024-03-22 20:23:06

Repero, thank you for your contribution.  I have been through my diet after reading your comments and I can honestly say that there isn’t much I can cut out that would make a difference to my cholesterol levels.  I don’t eat hard cheese, although I eat Ricotta and Mozzarella occasionally and have full fat milk in my cereal, so I could cut those down or out.  We mainly bake rather than fry food and always use quality extra virgin olive oil.  I don’t eat cakes or biscuits.  We eat lots of pulses and fish, lots of vegetables and fruits, although have some red meat (with all traces of fat removed) occasionally.  Hope that sounds healthy enough for you, but as you say it may not be enough, but I would like at least to try with diet before going down the medication route.

New to Pace

by Gemita - 2024-03-22 20:29:42

New to Pace, thank you for your help.  Yes I love my green leafy vegs like spinach, kale and spring greens.  I am very disciplined and when I set out to achieve something, like firmer dietary control, I usually stick with it.  Yes I always read the labels for fat and sugar content but of course just by looking at the food item, we can usually assess whether it is healthy or not.  Hopefully low fat yoghurt is okay, and I might try skimmed milk or semi skimmed instead of full fat milk.  I love creamy milk though.  We used to have a Jersey cow which is how Mum got such high cholesterol levels.  We eat a lot of nuts and seeds and healthy fats like avocados though.

Gemita

by piglet22 - 2024-03-22 20:34:27

In my experience, diet has an inadequate effect if you have high cholesterol.

I did the Benecol stuff, cut out the eggs, the full fat milk etc., but nothing worked.

If you are predisposed to high levels of the "wrong" lipids then do try the diet, but keep the statins in reserve.

Atovastatin, Simvastatin had them both, no side effects.

In fact, on the rare occasions I get tested, it seems to have disappeared off the radar and never gets mentioned.

I can only assume it's all OK.

Piglet

by Gemita - 2024-03-23 03:56:04

Never assume that all is okay Piglet without following it up!  It is sometimes what they don’t tell us that can lead to a false sense of wellbeing as I am now beginning to discover from my recent clinic letter. 

I will certainly take your advice and keep the Statins in reserve if diet alone fails to make any difference although my doctors are clearly recommending Statins at this time.  Cutting out the full fat milk will be done immediately.  I will try to increase exercise which might also help. 

I see the plan now is for a stress echocardiogram to see whether any significant coronary artery disease is present.  If it is, they will need to optimise medical therapy first to see whether that will help, otherwise more invasive treatments might be necessary.  

By the way they want me to increase my Bisoprolol(!) to keep my resting heart rate (84 bpm) down in the context of coronary artery disease (if confirmed).  Since my resting heart rate seems to have increased after Rate Response was switched back ON, switching it off might be a better solution  

Interesting!

by Angry Sparrow - 2024-03-23 07:14:27

I have been lobbying my EP to remove the Statin from my drug Cocktail to no avail.  Since June of 2003 using a Statin has beena thorn in my side.  I have never had high Cholesterol only ONE high reading in 2003, while in hospital and not being allowed to eat in 4 days (Dr. kept ordering fasting blood work, until I demanded food!).  ONE Lipid Panel out of hundreds indicated slightly elevated Cholesterol. 

Dr. insist I will live longer with drug therapy.  I not being a scientist 🥼 do not see the point in using chemicals when I have and have always had lo we B.P.,  excellent Lipid Panel results for as long as I have been tested (maybe 1960's?). One test out of many (every two hours) while hospitalized for two weeks. I think the Lab. might have made a blooper. 

I am very cautious with substances, my allergies are becoming out of control, add I do not react to drugs within the normal range.  I've done the Anaphylactic Shock three times now (really scared 😨). 

I know enough to be very cautious about OTC remedies, often herbs potency varies from crop to crop, add in how and where herbs were gathered, lack of regulations on OTC products, I am very distrusting.  That being said , I do buy Propolis from a local source, Vit. B Complex and Magnesium, so far over 20 years I am okay.

I see Tonic Water mentioned, I was a Tonic Water user until I found it really interferes with my heart rhythm. Nope no Tonic Water when I want some bubbly.  

I read lots of comments on the positive results gained from Herbs and OTC products.  I keep thinking we do not know what we are really ingesting.  Reading labels you get a long list of chemicals usually before words we understand.  Put all the chemicals in our food and chemicals used to increase the yield, plus the drug therapy most of us use no wonder allergies, Cancer and Autoimmune diseases seem to be on the rise.

From my view lots to consider in this Era of "TAKE A PILL, FOR WHAT AILLS YOU". 

I try to eat fresh food, however fresh is becoming difficult to find. 

Enough of my rant. My point is I suspect many of us are unnecessary feeding the Pharmacutical Companies. Since I am not a scientist I will keep my drug Cocktail, refuse drugs I know for a fact cause damage to my Liver and Kidneys.

Angry Sparrow

by Gemita - 2024-03-23 10:29:17

Hello Angry Sparrow, thank you for your contribution.  I too hold many of your views and concerns for the safety of taking an ever increasing number of meds.  I think we can sometimes take too many which can be dangerous particularly for the elderly with multiple health problems and who are more susceptible to falls.  I also take magnesium and some other supplements that I have a confirmed deficiency in (Vitamin D, for example), otherwise I only take 3 prescribed meds.

Yes we might live longer with drug therapy but at what cost to quality of life?  I seek quality not quantity, although I wish to have both.

statins

by Capt Odyssea - 2024-03-23 12:25:49

At least 15 years ago my cholesterol seemed to spike, Heart Dr wanted to put me on Vytorin. As a habit I research all drugs and did not like the side effects reported. I told him I was fat married and happy, and perhaps we try diet and exercise first? He gave me 30 days worth free. One pill gave me leg cramps. never took another. Hit the gym, improved diet, Took DHEA, olive oil, B3, and brought it down within 6 months. Saw him a few years later socially, he asked who had been filling the perscript he put me on (possibly missing the residual income?) I told him what i'd done instead. Asked if he was on them, (quite portly) and he would not say. 

Down the rabbit hole I went, omega 6 vs 3, big pharma, the AMA story, AHA story, Seed oils vs animal fats etc. concurrent with the PM I did start Metropolol 25mg, Entresto 24/26, farxiga 10mg, no side effects aside a drop in blood sugar once or twice. never had sugar issues. I now eat regular meals especially breakfast. There is too much information out there to not make informed decisions. Trust but verify!

Capt Odyssea

by Gemita - 2024-03-23 14:07:12

Thank you for your comments.  They were very helpful.  I wish all doctors would first discuss any new medication they intend to prescribe.  Although Statins have been around a long time, I like to know what I am being asked to take and to do my research first before accepting a new prescription.  

I see you are on some powerful meds, Farxiga in particular that is often used for adults with kidney disease and heart failure, although it is a diabetic med.  Yes there is certainly a lot of information out there and that is part of the problem!  

Most of us need to increase our intake of Omega 3 since Omega 6  is more abundant in our diet. I am considering adding more Omega 3 foods to my diet to help improve circulation, protect the heart and blood vessels from disease, keep the rhythm of my heart steady.  Let us see if it works or whether I will need supplements of Omega 3 too, to make a difference.

By the way, welcome to the Club.  You seem to be managing your Fabry’s disease so well

Fabry's

by Capt Odyssea - 2024-03-23 14:45:20

HI Gemita, yep the Fabry's went after my heart, not my Kidneys thankfully although it can attack both. Took me 6 months to even figure out how to get the Fabry's med! Only one pharmacy in the U.S. represents the company, and only certain variants benefit from the drug which is a Chaperone drug so they have to vet you before they'll issue it. it attaches to the inactive enzyme and gets it working again.The alterative is infusions (enzyme replacement every two weeks. The emzyme is the garbage collector of the cells in the body, therefore the hypotropic cardio myopathy, in my case. Insofar as my AV block has gone away it must be working. As to the heart drugs yep, farxiga short circuits the sugar cycle in the body, hence with no blood sugar issues it did send me south a couple times. did not like that feeling at all. I do feel fine, perhaps a bit slowed down but I'd put that down to getting older! Certainly not old by any stretch. The interesting thing is, None of this has gotten me scared worried or aprehensive, I think I belong in the "play the hand youre delt" club. 

 

Gemita

by atiras - 2024-03-23 16:39:35

My renal consultant says I'm doing 'remarkably well' given the state of my kidneys.  I'll take that... 😀

Dr Michael Moseley - BBC2 Documentary on Cholesterol

by Penguin - 2024-03-23 18:40:12

This programme might be worth watching if you want to give diet a try. Dr Michael Moseley is a pretty reliable source of dietary advice being a GP and up on most diet related research.  I like the fact that he road tests the advice he gives out.  The write up on the programme details that he took a statin, but also used diet. 

His diets and books are pretty good too. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1gwkvHnPHRTlTQgzNrTrndx/the-big-cholesterol-busting-experiment

 

Numbers

by Old male - 2024-03-23 23:48:50

Seems I remember reading several years ago that chloresterol levels were 80% heredity and one could only alter maybe 20% with a perfect diet.  As for drugs I first took Lipitor then Atorvastatin which I think is a generic for same. Have taken for 26 years now.  Currently 40mg daily.  Annual numbers have always been in good range.

You'll have to convert my numbers

by Daedalus - 2024-03-24 02:13:56

Gemita.....

My pre statin numbers were cholesterol of 212 and LDL of 140.  Doc wanted the first below 200 and LDL in 70's. 

Started on 5 mg daily of Rosuvastatin and within three months the cholesterol was 143 and the LDL low 70's.  Zero side effects.  
Diet change alone seldom works, but with statin help, success will come.  

US >UK Cholesterol Conversion Table

by Penguin - 2024-03-24 05:30:01

Total Cholesterol

U.S. & some other countries                   Canada / Europe

200 mg/dL                                              Below 5.18 mmol/L           Desirable

200-239 mg/dL                                       5.18-6.18 mmol/L              Borderline high

240 mg/dL and above                            Above 6.18 mmol/L             High

Note: Reference Ranges and Chart are from a google search. => may not be current

LDL cholesterol: 140 mg/dL = 3.62 mmol/L

https://www.mdapp.co/cholesterol-conversion-calculator-600/

Gemita, 

I have used diet to reduce cholesterol from a starting point very similar to yours.  My results (approximate values to nearest whole number) were these:

5.0 -> 3.0 mmol/L           Very low fat diet. 1 tspn of butter or similar allowed p/day.

5.0 -> 4.0 mmol/L  *        Mediteranean diet including whole milk / yoghurt sources, oats, lots of                                    vegetables, reduced meat / fish portions, carbs to approx 50 g p/day. 

* After 6 weeks.

Note: Cholesterol went back up after 1st diet as no CVD risk was found and I stopped the diet.  Frankly it was difficult to manage and I was miserable. 

The Mediteranean diet (happy to forward it to you) is a delight in comparison and will be easy to continue with.          

Old Male

by Gemita - 2024-03-24 06:20:14

Thank you for your help.  Yes my Mum had high cholesterol levels and severe arteriosclerosis.  It may well run in the family.  My cardiologist asked me about family members with heart disease.  Mum had extensive heart disease due in part to bad diet and lifestyle (stress in particular).  My sister too has heart disease/heart failure.  I seem to be the healthy one, so far.  Atorvastatin is the Statin that they want to put me on, starting at 20 mg, although I see there is a lower dose of 10 mg

Daedalus

by Gemita - 2024-03-24 06:23:31

Daedalus, nice to hear from you.   Zero side effects on lowest dose 5 mg Rosuvastatin, now that sounds like a good plan for me too!  I know there are many Statins and when one doesn’t suit, another can be tried.  I see Rosuvastatin is one of the most expensive of the Statins and is usually reserved for patients who cannot tolerate the older Statins.  Did you have to fight for it?   Like with all meds, it might be trial and error until I find something that will suit but this is excellent information so thank you.

Penguin

by Gemita - 2024-03-24 06:35:55

Penguin, thank you for all your hard work in finding the cholesterol conversion table.  That is so helpful and I should have included it in my original message.  Thank you also for your link “the big cholesterol busting experiment”, Michael Moseley.   I have already started looking at this and will try to find out which Statin he chose?  I like him too.  At this stage I am not going to rule anything in or out and will take my time in choosing the best cholesterol lowering treatment for me.  I don’t think I have a major problem with cholesterol just yet. 

I love oatbran and almonds, so that is good news!   Must cut out full fat milk though and use semi or skimmed milk.  Not sure there is much more I can do with diet, so will have to look for other causes too, while planning how best to tackle rising cholesterol levels.  I will go back and look at my old blood Lipid levels and compare with my present ones.  

Thank you all for your time in answering my post

by Gemita - 2024-03-24 06:42:22

I have now got some great ideas as to how best to move forward if I choose the diet route, or the names of some Statins to try that have worked well for so many of you, if I need to go down the medication route.  Thank you also to those who have written privately with some excellent thoughts.  I had forgotten about loss of oestrogen at menopause and being a woman might make a difference too to cholesterol levels, or that having other illnesses like diabetes, kidney disease and other conditions could be secondary causes for higher cholesterol levels, so treatments need to be individualised for the patient for the best possible outcome. 

May I ask one important question, for those of you who have opted for Statin control to bring down your Cholesterol levels, have you also changed or improved your diet or lifestyle?  I do not wish to take a pill that will improve my numbers while allowing me to continue to eat foods or live a lifestyle that might be bad for me, that may have triggered my high cholesterol in the first place.  I would rather get to the heart of the problem!

taking a Statin to be able to eat what you want

by new to pace.... - 2024-03-24 08:30:14

I had a friend who did just that .  Did not want to give up her foods so took a statin so she could enjoy those foods. Oh yes, and she had a pacemaker.

new to pace

Hi Gemita

by benedeni - 2024-03-24 11:34:12

I am one of those frowned upon 81 (almost) year olds who take a statin, Atorvastatin 20mg and eat almost anything I choose.  Sigh.. Know I  well could stretch out my lifetime a year or two, possibly, if I chose a careful diet of all the foods that are good for me.  I do watch my weight carefully though and indulge in my favorite sin foods only enough to satisfy my cravings.  But take away my bacon (twice a week), chips, donuts and dark chocolate and you would most likely see an Old Gal fight!

My cholesterol numbers always seem to satisfy my doctors so if it's good with them, it's good with me and I will happily take my Atorvastatin routinely at bedtime.  Btw, I use almond milk instead of whole milk and though I don't like it as well, that is at least a contribution on my part towards a healthier lifestyle!

Good Luck, Gemita!  You, being you, can achieve any goal you set for yourself.  

 

 

Careful Consideration

by SeenBetterDays - 2024-03-24 13:39:18

Hi Gemita

I know that you are someone who will do a lot of research and thinking before adding in a new medication and I would take a very similar approach.  Doctors tend to demonise cholesterol and are very quick to prescribe statins even when levels are borderline.  My brother took statins after his heart attack and suffered considerable side effects which caused him to stop taking them.

Although it is often viewed as negative, cholesterol does have some important functions in the body including acting as a precursor to many essential hormones.  I tend to work on the basis that we are all individuals and therefore potentially have different levels of cholesterol which may be optimal for us.  I naturally have fairly high levels of cholesterol (higher than yours) which I believe has a genetic component but would not opt to take a statin.  My husband and I have decided to trial a plant based diet as I have read some research which suggests that this is helpful in reducing levels of inflammation within the body. As you will be aware, inflammation can be the at the root of a lot of chronic health conditions and I am experimenting with diet in an attempt to address ongoing autoimmune issues.  It sounds as though you have a very healthy diet and lifestyle already Gemita.  I also use almond milk in my morning porridge and really enjoy it so maybe there are palatable alternatives to the full fat milk! I know you will always make a well considered and informed decision as you take a very proactive and admirable approach to managing your health.  If I were in your shoes, unless there are compelling reasons to start taking a statin, I would just periodically monitor your levels for now and, as you said, continue with a healthy balanced diet and exercise.  I am never quite sure the basis used to calculate recommended normal ranges for particular substances in the body and am not convinced that driving cholesterol down to an extremely low level is necessarily the best course of action but that is only my opinion and I know that many medical professionals would disagree vehemently with me.  I hope that you are able to find a course of action which sits comfortably with you Gemita.

Sending you love and best wishes as always.

Rebecca x

Full Fat Dairy & Cholesterol

by Penguin - 2024-03-24 15:27:05

Rebecca, I agree! 

https://zoe.com/learn/what-is-cholesterol

https://zoe.com/learn/healthy-cholesterol-levels-by-age

Re: Full Fat Dairy 

SeenBetterDays / Gemita - I hear your concerns about full fat dairy.  These articles explain a bit about it. It is true that the research has not been adopted yet and that the BHF (British Heart Foundation) are on the fence about full fat dairy.  

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/dr-michael-mosleys-unusual-diet-27328095

https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/full-fat-dairy

Benedeni

by Gemita - 2024-03-24 22:27:41

Thank you for your support.  I certainly wouldn’t want to deprive you of your bacon, chips, dark chocolate and doughnuts.  Can Michael join you?   I would say at 81, your lifestyle has done you no harm but a lot of good.  I am pretty disciplined when it comes to diet because I actually feel better eating heathily but that is not to say that I don’t allow myself the occasional treat, like a fresh cream cake or fruit scone with Devonshire cream with my Earl Grey tea!

Never tried almond milk and that should improve my magnesium levels I think.  I have used soya milk in the past which I don’t dislike, but now I need more calcium in my diet for Osteoporosis.  After reading Penguin’s link on full fat milk, it doesn’t appear to be so harmful.   Take care Benedeni and please stay well.  Hope your rhythm disturbances are under control

SeenBetterDays

by Gemita - 2024-03-24 22:36:39

Thank you for your encouragement.  Yes I will probably drive my doctors crazy if they try to introduce additional medication unless it is absolutely essential, i.e. there is clear evidence of coronary artery disease that needs treating.  I held off for as long as I could before taking an anticoagulant for AF stroke protection until they found a lower dose anticoagulant suitable for my low body weight.  It took months I recall but was well worth all the effort, since I struggled to find a suitable anticoagulant which would protect me without causing gastric distress.  

My concern is that once I start a Statin, I will have to remain on it for life because stopping it might trigger an immediate surge in cholesterol levels far in excess of those I have at the moment.  Perhaps I am mistaken in thinking this way.  I know once I go down the road of medication, there is no turning back and in the current climate of cutbacks to our NHS, they will probably want to treat any arterial disease with ever increasing amounts of medication rather than invasive intervention.  Please let us know how your plant based diet progresses and hope your heart is behaving

Penguin

by Gemita - 2024-03-24 22:47:07

Those links provide so much information, thank you. Michael Moseley’s comment that a major study showed that to 'minimise our risk of a heart attack or stroke, our best bet is to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish — and full-fat milk’  is really reassuring and this is exactly what I am doing! 

It is good to know that full fat milk is a good source of good fats, like Omega 3 and that there have been a large number of recent studies demonstrating that full-fat milk drinkers not only tend to be slimmer than those on lower-fat varieties, but also have a lower risk of raised blood pressure, elevated blood sugars and raised levels of fats in the blood.  Sounds all very positive.  I cannot see any real reason to change anything in the absence of a confirmed diagnosis of CAD

Cholesterol - happy with what's working for me.

by Elisabet - 2024-03-26 22:07:23

My husband is a regular platelet donor, 30+ times a year, and one of the bonuses they give donors is cholesterol screening. He almost always has low numbers, of course he gets lots of exercise and we eat a vegetarian, mostly whole food diet. One thing that's obvious, though, is that his levels are very susceptible to diet. Cheese, whole milk, eggs, butter, things like that.

Recently I had a lipid panel done for the end of cardiac rehab, and it was amazingly low numbers! In fact I beat my husband by a mile, although he was still in normal range in the panel he had at about the same time. My diet isn't very different, very low on things like cheese and whole milk (much lower than his) and very high in beans, lentils, and whole grains, as it has been for decades. Exercise is what has made a huge difference for me. Seeing as, in spite of my diet, levels were high last year and two years ago, when my heart was preventing me from really exercising, I am happily relieved! Still taking a statin though; I've already had a CABG, and still have other plaques due to the radiation the chest that I received 37 years ago. It sort of roughens up all blood vessels in the field, and cholesterol loves rough endothelium. So I don't think my cardiologists will let me wiggle out of that one.

I don't believe in absolutes, by the way. I'll eat a slice of cake, if I think it's worth it. If it's e.g. a grocery store birthday cake or the like, I've pretty much lost the taste. Local bakeries are another matter, but I have to intentionally go there. I'll buy expensive cheese and just eat small quantities. And just keep olive oil in house; it's expensive enough that I don't want to overdo it when sauteeing veggies. Unless they're onions, lol. 

Statins (Atorva) - good or bad?

by vikrantrao - 2024-03-27 18:45:08

My father (84) was implanted with a dual chamber pacemaker (Advisa) in 2012 and last Dec we had it replaced (Attesta). In '21 he suffered a brain bleed in the right parietal lobe which was resolving itself when diagnosed. The bleed affected his speech and left him with Aphasia for which he currenty undegoes speech therapy. Since then he was also placed on Atorvastatin 10mg. The reason for the brain bleed was unclear possibly, hypertension or excess calcium or just age related stenosis. Either way, his HbA1c & lipids were within range- 5.7 to 5.9%; Total Cholestrol 145 mg/dl, Trig 141 mg/dl, LDL 91 mg/dl, HDL 43 mg/dl, LDL/HDL 2.1. His Trig/HDL is marginally high at 3.3 However, since mid-2022 he began showing singns of slowing down and in the last 6 months has deteriorated. From forgetfulness (leaving taps running, stoves burnng etc) to difficulty accomplishing daily tasks such as bathing, putting on his clothes, slippers, walking slowly, brain fog following long naps etc. We are in the middle of diagosing this as it indicates possible Parkinsonism.

The point being, I can't help feeling the statins have caused this. For the longest time he avoided the use of statins based on his extensive reading and self research on various topics and I can't help feeling he 'knew' something but today he is a shell of his former self although he still goes for slow walks, light breathing yoga exercises 3-4 times a week and swimming a few times a week.

In my own reading of statins I find side effects such as early onset of dementia and other age related neuro degeneration are well known in connection to statins. Most data tends to indicate the pain in the muscles or cramps like side effects while the silent ones that go on in the brain causing chemical imbalances are largely ignored. After speaking to his Drs they are firmly of the opinion the statin is safe however, its difficult to know for sure if this is just a culture in terms of administering the 'lowest hanging fruit' rather than the hard task of investigations, diet, supplements etc.

Just my two-bits.

Cheers!    

Elisabet and Vikrantrao

by Gemita - 2024-03-29 07:41:11

Thank you both for your contributions to my post. 

I see Elisabet that you are on a statin and have had a CABG, and still have other plaques due to the radiation to your chest received years ago. I know what you mean by “cholesterol loves rough surfaces”.  My husband’s cardiologist decided to place a stent in his right coronary artery for this very reason;  the artery was not significantly blocked, but he didn’t like the look of the surface of his artery.  

It was interesting to hear about the monitoring of your husband's cholesterol levels and to know how much they were affected by diet as well as from lack of exercise.  My diet is good but lately I have not been exercising much, so this is a clear area that I need to work on.

Vikrantrao, I was saddened to read about your father’s brain bleed in 2021.  That must have been frightening.  I see your father was given low dose Atorvastatin 10 mg.  It is so difficult to know what has caused his decline in cognitive function whether this has been caused by the brain bleed or other factors.  

I have not to my knowledge had a stroke, although I have Atrial Fibrillation which can adversely affect blood flow from the irregularity of heart rhythm.  I do have periods of complete brain fog and this does concern me but I try not to read too much into it because there are so many potential causes, including ageing itself. 

Thank you both again for your helpful responses.  They have both helped in different ways.  It is a difficult decision to know how best to proceed sometimes, isn’t it, but I will not do anything until I have confirmation of coronary artery disease.  In the meantime, I will work harder to improve my lifestyle with more exercise since this is the area that needs most attention.  During arrhythmias I do struggle to exercise and tend now to lead a sedentary lifestyle.

You know you're wired when...

You can feel your fingers and toes again.

Member Quotes

At age 20, I will be getting a pacemaker in few weeks along with an SA node ablation. This opportunity may change a five year prognosis into a normal life span! I look forward to being a little old lady with a wicked cane!