Statins

Hi

My husband has A/F, he has no symptoms, it was detected by chance, when going for a pre op for a small operation, he’s 72, he’s on warfarin, bisoprolol, ramipril & a statin.

With all the bad press about statins, we were wondering if you guys out there with A/F, take statins.

His cholesterol level is 3.5, as most doctors seem to want to put us on statins, is it really necessary.

Just wondering how you feel about it.

55 Replies

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  • I have recently had a discussion with my GP about statins as he wants me to take them - my cholestorol level is 7.5 - but as we have a family history of high levels I was unsure. Also the result was after a routine blood test. I then spoke to my Cardiologist who wasn't keen on me taking statins, he suggested I have another blood test. On Tues I am booked in for a fasting blood test and will then find out what my true level is plus what it the good cholestorol in that result.

    I would question your husbands need for these tablets as his level is very low - so what is the thinking behind the GP's diagnosis.

    Hope that helps :)

  • Hi,

    That's curious, I was only last night reading an opinion of an EP specialist at the LGI who suggested there were benefits in some cases in prescribing Statins. That said, I personally have been on statins for a number of years together with the other drugs you mention (with the exception of an anticoagulant) despite which I developed AF. Since the AF started some 5 years now, Apixiban anticoagulant has been added and regrettably, my AF has gone from intermittent short episodes every 4 - 6 months to virtually every day with my most recent being for a straight 7 days. In conclusion, statins have received both good and bad press in almost equal measure. Personally, I think everyone has to make a judgement call with their health, drugs and advice given, which is not easy given so much of what your told is purely some "experts opinion" that varies from day to day, expert to expert.

  • The way I see it any of these pills are chemicals which try to mimic processes in our body but they are not natural - why would i want any more unnatural things in my body than necessary.

    My cholesterol was at around 4.5 which is perfectly healthy but my GP put me on stations which over 2 years have gotten me to 3.5..

    Having become more aggressive about managing my own health I asked him if there was any reason I could NOT go off them and he really could not give me one apart from being preventative but he could not tell me they were actually necessary.

    I told him I was going off them and agreed to a blood test every 3 months to check my cholesterol.

    Medications are not lollies they are serious chemicals. I only want what I absolutely MUST have in my body.

  • I was told that they have other 'protective' effects like decreasing 'inflammation' and decreasing the likelihood of a stroke. But I suspect their negative consequences are greater than these 'positives'. If I took them I would definitely take CoQ10 with them, as they deplete the body of this heart-essential nutrient. My cardiologist did not insist, so I stopped taking them.

  • We can decrease the inflammation in our bodies by avoiding foods that spike insulin levels, replacing them with food that doesn't.

  • There was a report from Harvard Medical Shcool a few years ago showing that Statins actually reduced the incidence of AF. They put it down to the anti inflammatory effect. I am sure that if you search online you will find it.

    Peter

  • Statins made my life a misery , tired , aching legs etc.

    I stopped taking them and got my life back.

    I know we are all different and they are probably fine for some , but I do think that they are dished out like sweets.

  • me to but am still taking them, the heavy cramping legs are a nuisance especially in the middle of the night.

    By levels are 6. something and diet didn't bring it down so I gave in to the statins.

  • I have been mulling over the statins question for a while as well. I recently saw my (excellent) EP to be discharged after successful ablation and he recommended I stay on them because of my age -68. His advice has been right for me so far and I trust his judgement so just on statins and warfarin now.

  • I think probably most of us. Bad press? Sometimes, but a month or so ago there was news that statins helped survival rates for some cancers such as breast and prostate so it isn't all bad. Not sure he needs it with a Ch level that low but doctors always seem to move the goal posts don't they.

    Bob

  • I also have been recommended to take statins as my cholesterol now exceeds 7.2. I made the decision to not take them as I also have an autoimmune disease which affects my muscles, my GP agreed it probably wouldn't be a good idea for me.

    My understanding is that inflammation IS the issue and statins would increase inflammation - because it is a chemical - the body doesn't recognise it as a nutrient and reacts against it, possibly ore so I some that others.

    I also hear the research which shows that statins are successful in reducing cholesterol so I think you have to make a personal decision as to the risk / benefit ratio - risk of MI & stroke v risk of serious side effects affecting QOL.

    It seems to suit some and not others so sometimes the only way to know is to try,

    I don't think there is any known Direct link between AF and statins? I may be wrong.

  • All sorts of folk will condemn statins, from tabloid newspaper columnists looking for something, anything, to fill the blank sheet in front of them, to tree-huggers, magnesium geeks and those who disapprove of any medicine they can't pick from their hedgerow. Doctors however, in the main, prescribe them for a purpose.

    So why would you go hunting for the best EP specialist to do your ablation but at the same time allow any old flower-child to advise you to stop taking your life-saving statins?

    For goodness sake, talk to your doctor before you withdraw these drugs from your husband. Ask about his Q-Risk. If he has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, self or family history of heart problems then he should probably be on them. But that should be for a doctor to tell you, not some publicity seeking, medically unqualified, media columnist!

    Relax, next month it will be something else that's bad for us all.....

  • Those medically qualified doctors that also disagree with cholesterol lowering must also be a real annoyance, especially to those that want to sell more not less.

  • Why on earth would a doctor not want you to have a lower cholesterol level?

    Unless he's a legal beneficiary of your estate.

  • Because they don't buy-into the hypothesis that cholesterol causes heart disease. It is an unproven theory.

    An alternative theory is that oxygenated cholesterol is found at the site of atherosclerotic plaques as a result of fighting infection - cholesterol being an important part of the immune system.

    This would also support that the slight benefit that is claimed for statins may be due to their anti-inflammatory properties. There are of course alternative, much more effective anti-inflammatory measures.

  • Like the doctor who thought MMR caused autism.

    The 'alternative theory' is even less proven but hey, if you really think the medical profession, in league with the pharmaceutical companies is out to get you, I can understand why you are 'Concerned'. - Stop taking the medicine!

    Try magnesium, that's seems to cure everything....or cowslips - they're pretty.

    Good luck....

  • You make a valid point.

    However, your condescending tone is unnecessary as I don't need any medication and to the best of my knowledge am completely healthy.

    I do believe we contribute to our own 'luck' and try to make my decisions based on logic and reason... Seems to be working; how about you?

  • Hear, Hear.

  • Doctors have also been known to be wrong. The word holistic comes to mind, which means exactly that, using the best of natural, qualatively researched and well tested remedies AND latest quantative research, it isn't an either or scenario.

    Many modern drugs are derived from plants, point is that when you eat the whole food your body recognises it and digests it whereas many manufactured drugs set up an internal reaction in many people producing side effects which mean the cure is worse than the disease.

    Please do not use dismissive language just because you disagree, present an argument by all means, otherwise I for one are likely to dismiss your comments.

  • I think once you hit 70, you get statins as a matter of course! My cholesterol levels are good, but I thinks that's BECAUSE I take a statin! Opinions are polarised by this debate. I prefer to think it's a good thing, but I have friends who refuse to take a statin on the grounds of bad reactions, not needed etc. I feel that if you get no adverse reactions, it's not a bad idea as a protective measure. JanR

  • My GP tested my cholesterol levels after I had had a bad go of AF (and was coming up to 70). I was not keen to take any more pills so I was pleased when she said my levels were so low she did not need to test me again for 4 years, nothing about protective measures.

  • Many thanks for all your input, I think a trip to the doc's see what he has to say.

    What is worrying is the fact we read that the doctors get paid, for every person they put on statins, how true this is, I don't know. Thanks again Brenda

  • It has to be a personal decision made in consultation with your doctors.

    When my cholesterol tested at 5.3 my GP asked me which statin I would prefer to take. I think he was surprised when I said I would control my 'bad' fat intake instead, as I didn't want to add to my drug load. Level dropped to 4.3 within 2 months.

  • My case study may be of interest to some folk out there. I had severe chest pains when I was 45. The doctor's tests showed no heart attack, but high blood pressure and very high cholestorol levels (later discovered to be familial). My treadmill test at the hospital ended with me going into AF for the first time - they kept me in till (2 hours later) it reverted to sinus rhythm spontaneously. The consultant wanted an angiogram at Harefield which showed that my arteries were furred up just short of needing an immediate bypass. My cholestorol level of 9 only reduced to 7.3 when I put myself through a very strict low-fat diet, so I was prescribed statins which were very new then. My high BP was successfully treated with betablockers.

    It is now 24 years later (I've just enjoyed my 69th birthday). I have had no side effects from the statins despite being on a high dose. My cholestorol level is 4 and it's been below 5 for many years. I have had no further chest pain which would imply that the statins have stopped the arterial blockage from worsening. I am also very happy to have reduced probablility of stroke and the major anti-cancer benefits which have recently been reported. In my case it is a no-brainer. However there will always be people out there who suffer side effects from statins like any other medication (whether given by the doctor or the natural remedy folk - I use both). If a drug with major potential benefits does cause any particular person side effects, then having tried it they need to move to something else - this is as true of statins as of any drug. But I would pay more attention to an assessment of general side effect risk from properly-conducted large sample studies, than what a few people say individually. But then I am a statistician!

    But I also enjoy a full and varied life style 24 years on, despite an unintentionally stressful life until very recently and despite continuing AF. I'll vote for that outcome given the starting point!

  • Do you not feel that after 24 years you should have another angiogram to see what it going on in there?

  • This did occur to me not long ago - the reply was that with no symptoms (not even angina) they advised leaving well alone. Calcification over the long period means that only an angiogram would see what the current state of affairs was. If you know of anyone who has gone this route I'd be interested in what the result was. Purely fortuitously I knew one of the biochemists who developed statins when I was prescribed them 24 years ago. (More interested in church music than the money made by drugs companies!) He told me that after 10 years the follow-up study would show that they were 'the best thing since sliced bread' and that they would undoubtedly stop the furring-up of arteries - but the debate was whether they would reverse the process at all. In my case I would love to know the answer to that. I've not heard of any further wisdom on this via post-mortems etc.

  • You could have a CT coronary angiogram. I would have thought with the long usage of statins that they must have studied PM reports. My father had early experimental brain surgery for Parkinsons. It was obviously prominent in his records as when he died several years later at a different hospital they asked if they could do an autopsy.

    Sliced bread? My GP talks of a local cardiologist who he jokingly says would like to add statins to the water supply.

  • About three years ago my wife was having 'soreness' in her chest that radiated to her jaw. She was repeatedly told to stop smoking, but there was no further investigation, even though she requested a scan. She was told the invasive procedure was too risky. So we paid a private company for a scan, which revealed calcification.

    She had two stents fitted, and the clopidogrel she takes as an anti-coagulant has hydrogenated oil in it, which is known to contribute to heart disease.

    Did anyone see the recent Horizon about binge drinking? They used a portable scanner, similar to that used for monitoring babies in the womb (but the size of a phone), to reveal the effect on the heart. In some cases I'm sure that would alert doctors to a problem; how invasive is that?

    Doctors are contracted with the NHS, but they run their own budget; this arm of the NHS has effectively been privatised.

    Drug companies provide the information that influence the decisions that doctors make. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusion.

  • Google , BAYCOL, statins, court cases.. etc this is one of the many billion $ court settlements for damage caused by statins.. I was lucky and had a doctor advise me to stop them 10 years ago.. they were ruining my life..

  • If he has a problem with cholesterol then a statin may be advisable but cholesterol is very important for brain function and also muscle function. I'd suggest you look into it more. I was put onto a statin, without a cholesterol problem, following a heart attack. It made me feel ill, affected my sleep due to muscle pain and so I came off it. My cardiologist, when reviewing my health,simply said, "not taking a statin?" "No" I replied. "Didn't agree with you?" "No" I replied again. "Ok' was his additional comment. I love my cardiologist. Not given to panic and over prescribing. I feel very well now as they've also taken me off my betablocker. Eat healthy and exercise seem to be good medicine. best wishes to you and your husband.

  • Hi

    It's not the immediate effects of statins that are of concern to me (they can always be discontinued if an immediate undesirable side effect becomes apparent).

    Their potential for long term irreversible damage is why I don't take them (increased risk of cataracts etcetera).

  • The last time I had a set of blood tests was a couple of years ago. At that time my cholesterol was creeping up from previous tests but still not high. He said I should probably take statins but he did not prescribe them. MY angiogram and ultrasound of arteries show them to be totally clear even with supposedly high cholesterol. Maybe because each year I get older is the reason it creeps up. I have no idea why it does since my lifestyle is pretty constant and one my GP says should be healthy. What was interesting to me was my doctor showed me the blood test results on the computer. Every other blood test had an expected range. Cholesterol did not, which he pointed out. He said doctors are told what is the desired range but it is not specified on the blood test chart. Legal reason maybe?? Or maybe no one really knows for sure what it should be for all people. I suggest that you ask your doctor if the range is stipulated where you live; and if not, why. Get your doctor to show you the range on the blood test result sheet.

    My GP's cardiologist said he should take statins. The GP said ok but does not take them and does not tell his cardiologist. I guess you call this a difference of medical opinion.

  • It's usually below 5, or below 4 if you have a chronic condition such as diabetes.

    However, our triglyceride to HDL ratio tends to be more important; it is also a marker for LDL particle size. VLDL are associated with (but not necessarily the cause of) atherosclerosis.

  • My GP takes Statins, runs marathons and prides himself on his low heart rate. He tells me that 40% of patients do not take the meds prescribed for them.

  • An extra consideration is that whilst we can not take statins if they don't agree with us and/or we don't have a problem with cholesterol (both in my case), if you haven't had that agreed with your GP or Cardiologist you still have to declare that you are taking a drug to reduce cholestrol on travel insurance applications and it still creates a higher premium. If you are prescribed and don't declare this your insurance may be invalidated!

  • The sad thing is we've been advised to lower our fat intake, which is actually a step in the wrong direction since the worst offender for VLDL is fructose. Narrowed arteries also result from too much insulin; high glycaemic foods (and some anomalies such as yoghurt or baked beans) over-stimulate insulin/IGF-1.

  • Where did you get the Yogurt/baked beans stats from? I have not heard it previously and was discussing yogurt benefits with the nurse at my annual T2 check-up yesterday.

  • An interesting table. With 'Yogurt' there are so many types and bakery products even more so.

  • To be fair, our local head diabetes nurse practitioner says the glycaemic index is too complicated for the general public, even though NICE guidelines cg87 state "1.2.1.3 Emphasise advice on healthy balanced eating that is applicable to the general population when providing advice to people with type 2 diabetes. Encourage high-fibre, low-glycaemic-index sources of carbohydrate in the diet, such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses; include low-fat dairy products and oily fish; and control the intake of foods containing saturated and trans fatty acids".

    I give people information to make their own mind up.

  • Perhaps that why I tend to ignore it:-)

  • I would not know I have it but for blood tests. My diet has been a bit lax recently and my HbA1c was 66 when tested last week.

  • I'm sorry to hear that.

  • It was much higher some years ago and has sometimes even been regarded as good. So many medications including statins can also affect it.

    When I had heart valve surgery three years ago it went haywire with extremely high and low readings for some time.

  • Yes, we aren't robots :-) Insulin is a hormone that affects and is affected by other hormones. When we have cortisol calling to arms our defences, glucose goes up.

  • Hi Kenda , 3.5 Cholesterol is good , what dose of statins is your husband taking .

    I really don't you need to have strong statins , I have a cholesterol of 3.8 and he has given me a 10mg daily as I refused to take any stronger .

    I am convinced that I got my level down from 6.1 to 3.8 with eating lots of Blueberries/ strawberries and Bananas.

    Cheers .....Kvntoday

  • Nurse told me that that I have been eating too many strawberries and dried fruits for my HbA1c reading.

    My cholesterol (without statins) was down a bit to

    Total 5.5

    LDl 3.3

    HDL 1.7

    Triglycerides 1

  • When I ate lots of blue berries and strawberries my LDL and HDL came back to normal ? As well as my cholesterol came down to 3.8

  • Hi he's on 20mg per day Simvastatin maybe the doc could put him down to 10mg

    Thanks

  • Do Doctors get paid a bonus to put people on statins?

  • I don't know that they directly receive a payment every time they prescribe but I think it depends upon their contract and being able to evidence that they were able to reduce heart disease by prescribing drugs with a very low cost base is obviously not going to harm their cause is it?

    I would be more concerned about how the drug companies market their drugs, having worked for one many moons ago.

  • I would not be surprised Blooto

  • Last week I had a check up with my cardiac nurse - I had had blood tests done the week before one of them was cholestrial (not the fasting one). My level was 5.6 and she said did I want to go on statins. My answer was no, I did not want to ad this to my cocktail of drugs she just said okay it's only just over normal, just cut down on the fatty stuff cream ect. The other reason is my husband is on statins for some time (he does not have AF but high blood pressure) and he tires very easily, has a lot on muscle pain which he never had before and I am sure that the statins are doing this. I am sure at the time he went on them his level was just under normal but the gp just said take them. I want to get him off them to see what his level actually is to see if he really needs them. Quite a few doctors seem to dish out blood pressure drugs and add statins as well. Also he as not been monitored since being on them and that must be 4 years ago. He just has his blood pressure taken by his GP every six months. I do despear at times with GPs , nothing to do with topic, but my dad is 93. Four years his GP prescibed blood pressure tablets, his blood pressure has never in his life been over 120/80 normall a little lower. He had a short visit in hospital (he had a TIA ) and heart rate was too low so he now has a pacemaker. Hospital said NOT to take of b/p tabs and informed GP.. Two months later GP wanted him back on them, even though bp was fine. This has happened again after another stay i hospital again hospital say no and doctor wants him back on them. We now ignore the doctor. His reason he thinks he should be on them is because of his age.

  • The MHRA quoted figures from .gov.uk last year that statins are effective for 450 heart, stroke and mortality incidents in 10,000. That's 4.5% to you and I. What a waste of public money, especially when it has been proven that following a Mediterranean diet improves the picture for a third of incidents.

    People are being lulled into a false sense of health-consciousness.

  • Can the Greeks still afford the Mediterranean diet now that they have run out of the green stuff?

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