To statin or not to statin : I’ve had af and... - AF Association

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To statin or not to statin


I’ve had af and an ablation and recently my cholesterol was 5.7 and my bad ratio cholesterol ratio 3.7. I’m 69, fit, and happy. Any views on the advice to go on statins?

17 Replies

Well my personal view is I wouldn't go on them, but what I'd try to do is decrease the bad ratio cholesterol. A friend who's a nurse once told me that what you eat a few days before having your blood test can have an affect on cholesterol results.


Hi Lacolyn, an eminent Cardiologist was asked a similar question at one of our support group meetings. My cholesterol had always been well below 4 thanks to my wife’s passion for healthy eating due to her cholesterol problems inherited from her father. I got a call from my GP to say mine had crept up to 4 and he was obliged to offer statins for me!! The Cardiologists response was interesting and was along the lines of if it was going to help prevent a stroke, why wouldn’t you. He did qualify it when the question of potential side effects was raised. In the event, toast and marmalade was exchanged for porridge and my cholesterol retuned to 3.6.

My wife does take statins and has had difficult issues with muscle pains in the legs, but we try, with the GP to work on ways to reduce the effects.

I have heard it said that unless diet is really bad, controls only have a marginal effect on cholesterol, but that’s the route I would take first.....

Hidden in reply to FlapJack

Hi Flapjack. It's not for me to say what anyone should take re meds except myself. But I personally have chosen not to take them. I have been successful getting my cholesterol and other labs into line with diet. It might be interesting to research statins (pros and cons) and see what some studies are beginning to learn about long-term statin side effects. Also be aware of who funded the study! No drugs are completely safe and I won't take something I don't really need or can't fix with diet. Re your docs advice, I saw it as a little cavalier." Try a piece of pizza. If you don't like it don't eat anymore." Trying drugs because they are there isn't the same, in my opinion. Take care. irina1975

Hidden in reply to Hidden

Me again. Re statins helping with the inflammation problem, might also be interesting find out how statins may or may not help inflammation in the gut (SIBO, IBS, etc). Which is where much inflammation originates. Just a thought.

Hidden in reply to FlapJack

Oatmeal(porridge) and 1-2 apples daily. Preferably 2.

The advice I was given was that Statin treatment was intended to reduce the inflammation that causes cardiovascular disease. In this scenario, cholesterol levels have limited relevance.

The link above gives an explanation about current guidelines on prescribing Statins.

Not easy this one. My cholesterol has tended to be around 6.5. I resisted statins for 20 years as my risk factors were low. However, since diagnosed with AF, and a long conversation with my GP, I decided to see how I got on with them. So far so good. His argument was that your risk factors, coupled with my age, have taken me in to a sizeable risk. I know there are arguments either way and it would appear some views that we don’t actually know the mechanism that causes cholesterol to block coronary vessels and cause heart attack’s. I’ll see how things go and if I experience problems with statins I’ll stop. At the moment my cholesterol level is 3.7 and I feel well. Although just recovering from an ablation. My relative has similar readings to me before and after statins and has had no issues over 10 years.

lacolyn in reply to Mac33

Much appreciated thanks

I would vote no statins if you are otherwise healthy plus do some more research e.g.

My understanding is that cholesterol gets blamed because it is the' ambulance found at the scene of the accident'. The debate over clean unprocessed food, fats & cholesterol is raging and would take too long here but my money is on fats winning - the brain & main other body parts need them. Suffice it to say since my personal records began 20 years ago, my CL has been constant at 7 despite going onto a full fat grass fed organic diet 10 years ago and due to AF my heart and carotid arteries were recently scanned and were completely clear. So I don't see any advantage.

lacolyn in reply to secondtry

Thank you. I’ll do more research. I know lots of folk are on them and wonder why I worry about doing the same. Partly a revolt against admitting I might need them, partly about taking yet more tablets, partly extra risks I guess. I feel I’ll stay as I am for the moment and mulling over more. Thanks again, good feedback.

As mine was 11.5 after a blood test,despite eating healthily for years..truthfully...I ws almost given no option by my GP.Strong family history of CVD,stroke,etc.

After 3 weeks,diwn to 4.5,awaiting latest blood test to see.

My friend told me in Holland,they are giving all over 65s statins!

Oh,and I have no side effects,although on high intensity type Atorvastatin 80mg highest dose.

Compared to Flecanide and bisiporolol,a piece of cake!

Interesting! Thanks. I’m not sure I had reactions to flecanaide and bisoprolol but difficult to tell really after the ablation.

Hi lacolyn

Take my advice, be very very cautious with statins. Some people are fine with them, but if you are not it can go wrong big time. My wife was put on statins when her cholesterol was just over 6. After a few weeks she started getting joint stiffness and struggled to walk and eventually was admitted to hospital. After two weeks in hospital having had a water infection and myself having a strong disagreement with the consultant who was adamant that it had nothing to do with the statins, she was discharged with the discharge papers saying," cause of problem, statins". Some doctors are blind to the problems they can cause. You may be fine on statins, but firstly try eating a handful of walnuts and almands daily. They have been proved to reduce bad cholesterol. Also a Mediterranean diet. Anything is better than statins. Try googling reducing cholesterol, there are a minefield of answers out there.

Hope this helps.

Regards Flyer.

lacolyn in reply to Flyer2820

You are not wrong! Yet another tricky decision. I feel my diet's ok and the doc said "it's about more than diet"... anyway, no rush. Hope all's well now.

I calculated my 10 year risk of having a heart attack using a fictitious value for total cholesterol/hdl cholesterol ratio of 3, and I then changed it to 1.0, which is better.

The risk dropped from 27% to 22%. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but perhaps it means that cholesterol level is not very important in deciding whether to take a statin. I have read that many heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels.

Statins seem to cause side effects for a tiny percentage of people. For the rest, it may be they will prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths annually from cardiovascular disease worldwide, and reduce the incidence of and rate of progression of dementia. Apparently because they act as anti-inflammatories and nothing to do with cholesterol levels.

Please don't shoot the messenger 🙂

Edit: if you do calculate your risk using the tool linked above, then I think the link in my earlier post will explain how NICE advise using the score

Hi Lacolyn,

I have been on a Statin for the past 10 years.I am taking Lipitor (Atorvastatin 80 mg daily.

My TCL is now 2.9 .Originally in the 7 to 8 range.

I have had 2 MI's ,one 29 year ago ,then another about a year and a half ago.

Without the statins they would have been catastrophic.

I would begin Statin therapy mainly as a preventative therapy.

I also have a high incident of CVD due to my genetic disposition.

Good luck.


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