Statins and AF

Six months ago after a blood test my cholesterol was found to be 6. My Dr wanted to prescribe statins but as I didn't want to go on them I said I would try and get it down myself and he told me to come back in three months for another blood test. I had another test and it was down to 5.4 and he said that was ok. Now on listening to Dr Sanja Gupta's blog he said statins helped to prevent stroke in AF, should I have said yes to them. Are there many people with AF on statins and are they happy to be on them, as sometimes they don't get a good press, thanks, kind regards.

40 Replies

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  • I was put on statins (a low dose) when i was diagnosed with A.F. and told that it was because they were thought to have a good effect on inflamation. I am still on them and as they dont give me any problems i will continue. X

  • This is something that has concerned me. Googling statins shows numerous reports of side effects, mainly muscle pains. I stopped asking them recently but after 3 weeks restarted as it made no difference. My GP agreed.. There have been reports recently that statins help prevent dementia, and now Dr Gupta's video --------

    My cholesterol was about 6 and careful eating over 12 months made no difference so I may as well take them, all things considered.

  • I was the other way round i took statins for several years and got af later. Ive just had ablation a week later im feeling good

  • I hope that you continue to feel well. Get plenty of rest over the next 3 months.

  • Thanks a lot Jenny, you likewise.

  • G'day gemsmum,

    I know there is good and bad cholesterol, have no idea which is which, and frankly I'm too busy living a life to bother. I am tested annually for cholesterol and trust my GP to test the one that is potentially more damaging. I am on Simvastatin 40 mg daily and take it at night. I was on Simvastatin for over 2 years prior to AF however have never heard that one about helping to prevent a stroke in AF. Maybe it does I am and would prefer on an anticoagulant to do that. My current cholesterol is 3.3. and I have no problems.

    John

  • John, do you think that is your healthy diet which has resulted in your low cholesterol reading ?

    Sandra

  • Hi Sandra,

    Its interesting you ask that because as I wrote the post to gemsmum I wondered about saying something about my diet. To be honest I don't know but thinking more about it - when I was first put on Simvastatin 40mg my cholesterol was 5.3 (3 years before AF), a year later it came down to 4.9 (2 years before AF), and the thinking at the time was they were OK readings. Then came AF then came my diet you refer too and then came lower readings until I am down to 3.3. My Simvastatin dose remained the same throughout and is still the same.

    Interestingly my sister (a year and a half my junior) has a cholesterol of 7.6 has tried to be more diet conscious and is not on statins. Its stuck on 7.6. She has no cardiac problems but I doubt the skills of her GP as he is happy with her blood pressure of around 149/80 ish. My GP would have a 'pink fit' and 'chuck a wobbly' if my BP were that high, even before AF.

    I must say though, that if it is my diet largely responsible as you suggest then there would appear to be a problem with the concept - "eat 5 to 8 fruit and veg a day" Lol! At best I manage with 1 veg and 1 fruit!!! So you may have a point Sandra.

    John

  • Hi carneuny,

    HDL - good chol - LDL - lousy chol

    Cheers,

    Musetta :)

  • Thanks Musetta, I'll try and remember that :-)

  • Ah, from one Aussie to another - pleasure mate :)

  • I've been on low dose ,20mg simvaststin for few years and no problem. I had to stop taking when on dronedarone for a few months ( interaction ).

    Am now on second week of plant based diet per Dr Gregers How Not To Die book etc so am hoping for good things when I get my cholesterol checked in few weeks.

  • That's why I take them, because of AF, otherwise I'll stick just with diet to get it down. I did get it down with diet alone some years back, but not quite low enough. They want me below 4 if possible !!! Seems everyone has different figures???

    Koll

  • PS. I've had no problems except that on one statin I got muscle cramps, so they changed me over to another and now seem fine so far (2-3 years).

  • Been on artovastatin for longer than I can remember. At HRC last year Matt Fay said ignore all the bad press they are beneficial and I trust Matt.

  • Thanks for all the replies so far. When I have my next thyroid blood test, as it was not quite right either, not bad enough to put me on tablets but has to be tested again in June, I will ask for a cholesterol test again and then take advice of my EP as to whether to go on statins.

  • Statin drugs have newly mandated safety warnings (here in the US) to warn about brain related side effects such as memory loss and confusion. They also raise the risk of developing diabetes and in 2013 in a study of several thousand breast cancer patients reported that statin use more than doubles a woman's risk of invasive breast cancer.

    A plant based diet, without animal products is thought to work approximately 20 times better than a statin. In 2014 Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn published a case series of about two hundred people with significant heart disease showing that a healthy plant based diet prevents cardiac episodes in 99.4 percent of patients who follow it.

    I am passionate about reversing heart disease through diet. When I made these changes for myself I got off statins and brought my cholesterol down 80 points within 12 weeks.

  • Sorry to sound stupid....but I guess this means a strict vegetarian diet with no animal products meaning special cheeses (no animal rennet) etc?? Sounds hard to stick to???

  • Oh, you don't sound stupid at all. Yes, no dairy, no meat, and it was a little hard at first because I was such a meat lover, but one's taste buds quickly change and when I suddenly had no more heartburn or gastric reflux issues, no more irritable bowel, and no more borderline diabetes glucose, I did not miss these foods at all! I use almond milk, and rarely the tiniest grating of a hard cheese like Romano on my pasta, and maybe twice year now a bite of meat as it is un-American not to have a few bites of a grilled hamburger on the 4th of July ;-)

  • thank you, i have such an aversion to statins. there is a simple test to see if your cholesterol is even going to harm you, but there is no money to be made in that. so no one bothers. it is the test of how large your "bad cholesterol" particles are. if yours are deemed not harmful, then taking dangerous stains is of no use. how many of you on statins have elevated glucose levels??????? or borderline diabetes???? coinky dink??? NO!

    unless you are fond of pancreatic cancer and an early death. get off the statins. not to mention that they only falsely bring down your numbers, not eliminating the risk of death so much.

  • Yes, I totally agree with you. The statins often make people think they are 'off the hook' for eating properly and too late they realize the problems they have caused. In America people would rather take a pill to fix a problem than get to the root of the problem, unfortunately.

  • I too am on them but with mixed feelings. These were prescribed by my GP before my AF diagnosis and my EP advised me to stay on them. I have no obvious side effects but am suspicious of them. Not really sure what I should do so sitting on the fence. I was prescribed 40mgs simvastatin but recently reduced thus to 20mgs without asking doctors!

  • Hello gemsmum,

    I've been on statins (Crestor 20mg once a day) for the past eight years with no side effects. My cholesterol was 7-7.5 and no amount of dietary or lifestyles changes budged that number - it is now at acceptable levels of 4-4.5. In the past, various doctors have also told me it is important to keep triglycerides and LDL (lousy cholesterol) within normal range as well. If your levels went within normal range through dietary changes (lucky you :) ) why go on more medication than necessary? If down the track, your dietary changes stop working perhaps then go on statins. For my Afib I'm anti coagulated to prevent a stroke. I live in hope...

    All the best to you,

    Cheers,

    Musetta

  • Hi Gemsmum, my cholesterol level has been at 7 for 10+ years and have had no problems. My heart and carotid arteries were recently scanned re AF and all clear. My vote is "No statins".

  • Hi Gemsmum, statins brought my cholesterol level down to 2.4, but a raised liver function meant I had to stop taking them. Liver function is now normal again but I have managed to keep the number below 4 by dietary changes and pomegranate extract. It may be that the pomegranate does little but I'm certain that the placebo effect is working well!

  • Oh dear. I was prescribed statins recently and did get the prescription filled even though I'd always said If never take them. I took them for four days while doing lots of reading about them. Then I stopped. I am convinced they have affected my husbands cognitive function.

    nice.org.uk/guidance/cg181/...

    Found the above very good

  • I have been on a Statan for for the past 23yrs,no problem,I was low reading too,but family history and AF for 17yrs,I am very happy to take them and to know it helps protect the heart.A lot of them did not suit me,

    then in 2002 Rosuvastatin came on the market,

    I only take 10ml a day,does the trick for me.

    Keep well.

    Eleanor.

  • In answer to Biglegs question, it was Dr Gupta a York Cardiologist. It is still a big dilemma for me as I probably read too much on the Internet and remember the 'bad' things but not the good!! I will decide after my next blood test, thanks again.

  • We all have personal view from our world view bias so this is a personal opinion - I refused to take them as I don't think most people need them and the side effects are too devastating - if you want more info and debate go to the specific cholesterol forum here on HU.

    My GP practice does not blanket prescribe, as many GPs do, saying that unless you have specific indicators such as genetic familial high cholesterol, you should be able to reduce through diet and exercise.

    I am with Orchard Worker, no statins. 7 seems to be the magic number for blanket prescriptions, I reduced mine to 6.2 from 7.2 in 6 months.

    You might also like to watch the Trust me I'm a Doctor programme on Olive oil! Drinking just 20 mls of olive oil per day is as effective as a statin..........

  • Just noticed you have Thyroid problems too.

    I have an under active Thyroid,and when it goes over active this can bring on the AF.

    Did not know this until Doctor explained,when I started with AF in 1999,had Thyroid problems since

    1993.

    Just thought I would let you know.

    Eleanor.

  • Hi Eleanor

    Thanks for letting me know about thyroid problems, my Dr didn't connect my thyroid problem with my AF. He said my blood test came back with under active thyroid but it was border line so having another test in a few months time. I will discuss this along with cholesterol then.

  • I've been on atorvastatin since it was approved in 1996 with no problems after having a few issues with simvastatin. But other people do have muscle issues - as with any drug what works with one person doesn't with another and usage needs to be closely monitored. Patients need to be sensible and get to their GP if there are any suspected side effects.

  • Been on simvastatin for a few years now. Read about the muscle pains and I think I may have had a few minor ones in early days, but quite honestly have stopped worrying about minor side effects. I acknowledge I'm nowhere near as old as some on this forum, but have become used to something aching, creaking or otherwise not quite working right on any given day. As long as the 'somethings' don't all play up at once, I just get on with living.

  • It seems to be a known effect of statins that they block CoQ10 which is essential. If this is not replaced there is bound to be some side effect eventually.

  • Statins block CoQ10 which is essential in the body, so this is likely to produce some side effects eventually.

  • Statins are known to block CoQ10 in the body, which is essential, but can be replaced through supplements. Without it, side effects are likely sooner or later.

  • Sorry - It didn't seem to be working. I didn't mean to overstress the point!

  • I have been watching this cholesterol debate for some time, but cannot argue the details yet. I have been very impressed by Dr Malcolm Kendrick. You can read him for free on his blog: drmalcolmkendrick.org/2015/...

    Some basic facts to think about.

    1. Cholesterol is made by the body, so, if the liver is working properly, what is the point of reducing dietary intake? This fact alone I think is extremely significant.

    2. It seems that except for genuine extremes, cholesterol is actually good for you, and rising levels in old age are natural and helpful

    3. Statins may have a specific use in small specific areas, but their cholesterol lowering effect is not needed, so why take them?

  • Is it me being dumb but do those statistics also suggest that the more you smoke the less heart disease you have.....Japan have highest percent of smokers???!

  • I took Atorvystatin 40 mg for years it took my total cholesterol numbers from 220 down to 140 .... Um American numbers seem different here in this forum....I started taking half that ... 20 mg my cholesterol remained below 160.... I believe the use of this drug helped push me into higher glucose levels then I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes..... It took about 3 years using statins to do that.... I'm in the typical metabolic syndrome group. First hypertension....Lisinporil 40 mg helped that... About 2 years

    Then high cholesterol .... 40 mg Atorvystatin .... About 2 year....

    Then high glucose levels ... Type 2 diabetes....

    Metformin 2000mg, glimiperide 8 mg, victoza 1.8

    Now just within the last 6 month Afib with an RF ablation 3 months ago....Eliquis and metoprolol I'm in and out of Afib

    Horrible resume here but actually feel pretty good most of time and my blood work numbers are also for the most part are very good..... 3 months after ablation and I'm in NSR about 80% of the time...hopefully will get better...... Does it ever get better or will I need another ablation?????????

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