A recent blood test (for something other than my AF) shows I have a high cholesterol of 7.5. I explained to the GP that I have always been high as other members of my family are too. He explained the risks if I don't take statins and prescribed 'simvastatin' ........... just looked at the more common side effects which state fast or irregular heart rate!! Now I don't want to take them.

I have cardiologist appt next week and may wait to ask someone who knows!!

Any thoughts?

24 Replies

  • Oh no, I wouldn't want to take them either! I was prescribed some sleeping tablets once, took them for months before I noticed that the side effect was also fast heart rate.

    There are so many different types of statins that I'm sure they'll be able to find one that doesn't have that effect. I believe they always prescribe simvastatin first as it's the cheapest! It might be an idea to do a bit of research on statins and heart rate before you go to see your cardiologist.

    Hope you find a solution.


  • Very contentious area.

    You could point out that NICE themselves say that statins are effective for preventing 450 heart, stroke or mortality incidents out of 10,000. That's only 4.5%.

    Health professionals that support the use of statins are unlikely to be welcoming to this fact of course.

  • How about the report this week that statins can halve the death rate from some cancers?

  • Was it a randomly controlled clinical study of lots of people, or an observational study of relative risk?

  • Daily Mail report. I just noticed it in passing. Check it out of you are interested. I was waiting for a haircut and didn't have time to read it all.

  • Hi shirljo,

    It's called Familial Hyperlipideamia. My family have it as well. All the statins they tried with me did absolutely nothing apart from adverse reactions. A recent angiogram showed that my coronary arteries are normal. Statins also suppress the body's production of Coenzyme Q10 that is essential for muscle function. That's why a lot of statins cause muscle pain. There was a report recently that one of the statin manufacturers was producing a statin with CoQ10 added to alleviate the problem. I can't remember which one.

    It remains a very controversial subject even among cardiologists, where a lot say they are over prescribed.

    Hope you get it resolved with your cardio visit.


  • I was on Simvastatin for years and it worked. Eventually though I got muscle pains and my GP swapped me over to Atorvastatin. That has worked a lot better with no muscle pains (yet!!!!).

    I'm not saying we should ignore side-effects on labels, but to be honest with most drugs, the list is long and scary. Most of the rhythm control drugs I have had, have a side effect of heart arrhythmia. Flecainide for example works on probably most people, but it makes my arrhythmia worse, so I don't take it.


  • When you say it worked, I think you mean it lowered your cholesterol? However, the ENHANCE trial established that lowering cholesterol didn't have a significant impact on the thickness of arteries.

    Too much insulin does cause growth of the endothelial linings of arteries though.

  • Yes Concerned, I mean it lowered my cholesterol. I am aware of the problems surrounding statins and am trying to keep up to date with the latest thinking. I will ask my EP next time I see him about statins. I'm only on low dose I'm happy to say.

    I can't do much more diet-wise than I already am.


  • How much could you alter your diet? According to some Healthy Heart leaflet I picked up, you should eat no more cheese per day than would fit in a matchbox. I assume they mean one of the tiny ones. It's quite stingy and I used to eat much more than that.

    When it was suggested that my cholesterol needed attention and statins were offered I refused and got cholesterol right down by not eating butter, cream, pastry and full fat yoghurt and cutting cheese down too. Taking half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day may have beneficial effects as well - on toast (but you need butter) or on porridge. There's cinnamon and cinnamon though and some is a bit rough. You need to be choosy.

  • Did your HDL go down too? I've been keeping to low Gi carbs for years, and keeping my carbs down to <50g per meal for a number of years now. More recently I've been keeping my protein to less than a palm-size at each meal too, with regular consumption of butter, cheese, cream cheese, double cream, avocado, nuts or coconut.

    It would be interesting to see what my cholesterol levels are these days; high cholesterol was supposed to run in our family, but I didn't used to have it.

  • Yes. HDL went from 1.27 to 1.23. LDL was 3.52 and dropped to 1.79 and total cholesterol dropped from 5.23 to 3.26. Ratio changed from 4.1 to 2.7. Does all of that actually add up?

  • That's not a significant change in HDL because of variance in measuring.

    Some doctors think the triglyceride:HDL ratio is the most significant. Do you have your TG level?

  • It went from 0.96 to 0.53 in six months

  • The ideal ratio is thought to be below 0.87; you were probably okay before, and your ratio is definitely okay now, however how healthy is it to suppress your liver function?

  • I appreciate your replies and will take all the relevant questions with me - the trouble with GP's is that they are rushed and you can't always get to say what you need to!

  • Thanks for that Concerned. Appreciated and very interesting. A complex and fascinating subject, like so many.

    All the best, Shirljo. Look forward to hearing how you got on.

  • Well this is all very interesting and has given me lots to think about. I have the most healthiest of diets and have more than my 5 a day, rarely eat cheese/cream/butter or processed food etc. I mainly eat fish and lots of veg and my exercise of choice is walking. So when my doctor tells me I need to change my life style I want to know to what!! Most of my adult life my cholesterol level has been above 7 but I am not listened to when the GP panics and calls me in to discuss it!!

    I will however take advice at my consultants appt on Tues.

    Thank you all for your replies and I will let you know how I get on.

  • I have just a report that Tumeric and Blackpepper in a capsule form will lower cholesterol. Any thoughts on that?

  • Blimey that's a new one ...... wonder if I can get it at Holland & Barratts? Worth a go as I'm still not going to take the Statins! thank you, I will let you know what it's like!!

  • It depends on the amount,have taken slimvastatin for years no problems, as colestrol increased as did the dose, at 40 mg, could no longer tolerate, tried other types at 40 mg have problems, none appear as problem in side effect leaflet,Off to see consultant early Dec, so will post then, ON my 4th type of tablet for this all present a strange problem at 40 mg.

  • Make sure you have blood tests 3 then 6 months after starting any statist and annually. In my case tested 5 months after starting simavastatin because of advice from pharmacist (who was doing a medicine review) and tests showed liver function was four times maximum (ie out of range and not working properly) and about six times what I started with.

  • My cholesterol has always been high, as in all my family. I have spoken to my cardiologist and he said as long as my life style and diet remain healthy then I won't need to take them. There is so much bad press on statins and are handed out too readily. I feel fine, my AF is under control ( fingers crossed) and I I take my tablets, life if ok!

  • i was on simvastatin before i was changed to pravastatin it might sound similar and do similar effect but i am ok with the change for 2 yrs now

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