Statins: I have just had a fasting blood test... - AF Association

AF Association

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I have just had a fasting blood test and my cholesterol is 6.9. I have been offered Statins but thought I would try to lower it by diet first in case the statins affected the AF. Has anyone lowered their cholesterol by diet alone - and if so which foods helped please.

Also please does anyone know if 6.9 is really excessively high and do statins affect other meds. I am currently on diltiazem slow release and apart from a few palpitations each day and breathlessness, I am currently currently having a reasonable "run".

13 Replies

I am on Simvatatin which I think is the first one usually offered. I have no problems with it except that I can't eat grapefruit. Some friends have tried different types and are intolerant due to severe aches and pains.

There's good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. I think you need to be below 5 in total ( from memory)

I came in at 5.8 and being too clever by half I decided that I could reduce this by diet. I'd seen the adverts and if Gloria Hunniford could do it then I, with my scientific background, could do it too.

Well, I bought the disgusting and expensive drinks and the fancy and expensive spreads. I kept to a low fat diet and ate carefully. After many months I had another test and was totally gutted to find that the result was identical to what it was at the start.

So I started taking Simvastatin every evening. You need one daily as the effect is shortlived.

Good luck

My cholesterol was 6.9 and I tried diet only. My cholesterol is now 3.8; yes I now take statin. I did find out you can lower by up to 20% by diet but it has a lot to do with how bad your diet is before you change to cholesterol friendly foods. You also need to find a diet which you are happy to adopt as a life style for the rest of your life. I failed; but am very interested how you get on. Hope this help in some way.

Do you know the full count of your lipids? I thought it was the proportions between them that was important rather than just the total count? I think 6.9 is definately getting rather high but it isn't an exact science, just an indicator that you could do something to improve your long term health.

Apples are supposed to be as efficient as statins at reducing cholesterol and worked for me over about 6 month period. I also switched from orange to apple juice, just ensure no added sugar and is pressed apple juice. Also plenty of fresh veg, especially fibrous, eaten with every meal, get the proportions of meat to veg correct ie 80% fresh veg to 20% meat/fish etc should do it.

Cut down your carbs rather than your fat intake, sounds counter intuitive, but we need a small amount of fat in our diets. I just stopped eating bread or ceareals on a regular basis and of course I cut my fat I take, no butter!

Good luck


I think doctors like your count below 5 from my experience. When I was first diagnosed with high c years ago they gave me a diet sheet which was full of boiled fish, steamed everything, no cheese . no eggs (two a week including what was in anything etc) dry bread sandwich - no butter and was totally disgusting and didn't work. Well I think I fell two points. I have been on atorvastatin for years now and keep around 4.7 eating loads of cheese and fried eggs. I try to avoid bread and dripping these days and usually only have butter or spread on one piece of bread in a sandwich.

There are many doctors who think that statins are good for anybody with a heart condition regardless of C level but I'm not sure it is as fashionable a drug as it once was.


Thank you so much for your prompt replies. I must admit I have been having quite thick fat on my bread as it contains Plant sterols (Flora pro-active, thinking that was helping. I can definitely cut back on that. Also I didn't know about apples and apple juice, so will enjoy swapping Orange Juice for that.

Thank you again.

I also doubt the need for statins and the whole cholesterol issue. I take a statin but only because my ep said to take it for a while at least. I should do more research and have raised this issue here in the past. Let us know how you get on.


I've read or been told it's more important to get your cholesterol down if you have AF or presumably any heart condition?

Mine was 7 and I was put on Simvastatin. That didn't work too well for me, so I was changed over to Atorvastatin which has worked great. Now my c is 3.9.

I spent a few years trying to do it with diet with some success. Got down to 4.6 but that was me also taking just 3 Simvastatin pills a week. I ate loads of oily fish (never farmed I might add, which I reckon may worsen your cholesterol), 100% grass-fed beef, and loads of veg, all the usual stuff.

It was hard work so I've given in to the pills.


Hi Enjoy, Yes, I dropped my cholesterol by diet from 5.23 to 3.26 in 6 months. I thought we ate fairly healthily and was surprised and rather piqued. I didn't do anything except cut out butter, cream, pastry and cheese. And no chips. When I say cut out, I mean almost completely cut out. I was very determined unless it was rude to refuse something. I lost a few kilos as well - potatoes and bread ceased to be interesting. Needless to say my levels went up again a bit the next time I was tested. I now eat much less cheese than I used to though.

Enjoy in reply to Rellim296

I have really appreciated all the responses and at the moment have great enthusiasm to give the diet a go. I am hoping that as I have to go down quite a bit, it will respond to the changes in diet quickly. Thanks again everyone.


I am no medic but at 61 with cholesterol of around 7 for 15 years (when my records began) and no other health issues except AF, I have done a bit of basic research as the medics tut tutted and offered statins.

My research summary (I hope I remember this correctly) would be as follows: only 20% or so is due to diet, the total is split between HDL, LDL and Tryglicerides and it is the ratio of HDL (the good) to the others that is more important than the total. Cholesterol is believed to be the body's reaction to a requirement (e.g. goes up with stress) and is important for various functions; we are all different and require different levels. One medic said blaming hi cholesterol when someone has a heart attack is like blaming the ambulance for always being present at accidents!

Part of my AF checks last year was an MRI scan on the heart and an ultrasound scan on my carotid artery - I was fearing the worst - both were completely clear.

I don't wish to scare / upset you in any way, I have AF for a number of years and have refused both ablation and a "jump start" as I refer to it. Reality is our EP's don't know how CArdio Version works and Ablation has its own potential risks. The heart is a wonderful piece of kit like every other organ in our body and during ablation if it's carried out correctly the heart tissues correct (heal) themselves over a period of time and the recipient can be back to square one, once the points where the high resistance spots have been created. It's simply no different than burning ones hand on an electrical cooker where the skin becomes hard for a period and then gets back to normal. If I was to have ablation carried out I would need to be in a very serious state where my life was unliveable without it. stations have other impacts on the system, not would I have them. If you have a method of reducing pressure I would certainly try it first. Don't worry and stay safe.

I have the impression that eating oats helps to decrease the 'bad' cholesterol, and increase the good. Try eating porridge or oat-based muesli for breakfast, instead of wheat. I pour boiling water over the muesli and let it soften for a few minutes, or one can put it to soak overnight.

Thanks for the link Bigleg - makes fascinating reading. My experience supports all the contentions contained therein.


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