AF and Statins : So an interesting debate... - AF Association

AF Association

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AF and Statins

Slim2018 profile image

So an interesting debate over lunch with my youngest doctor daughter and her doctor boyfriend about to statin or not to statin. I don’t appear to have any plumbing problems just electrical with the heart. 66 in November and touch wood apart from migraine auras and the AFib, appear to be in good health. Combined cholesterol score of about 6.00 with a high “good cholesterol” figure. There seems to be some evidence they say that statins have other health benefits as well as cholesterol lowering. All views as always would be well received. Ablation sometime in the next few weeks so shall I speak to my GP and see about a prescription for statins?

47 Replies

It’s worth trying to get cholesterol down naturally first?

Slim2018 profile image
Slim2018 in reply to rosyG

Its not just about cholesterol levels because mine have barely changed over the last 30 years. Its apparently about other protections and help that statins can provide including in AF scenarios.

While I think it’s generally good to get a range of opinions Slim2018, I am a bit bemused about why, when you have access to a personal team of doctors, you’d seek opinions from non professionals. I think that with statins in particular non medical opinion often centres around personal prejudice and not medical facts. As you seem to be at least considering that a statin might be a good idea, why not at least see about a trial on a statin and see if you experience any untoward side effects? The only thing is (and this happened to me), is that it can lower good cholesterol too.

I think there is as much prejudice & lack of evidence from doctors as anywhere else & from my experience the medical viewpoint is often years or decades behind gold standard research. People are the experts on themselves, the medical profession are supposed to be experts on what is ‘known’ but as that seems to differ & is often controversial i have found consulting a wider audience with life experience is as if not more useful to me.

Not a believer in doctor knows best because if I had I’d have been dead by now.

Auriculaire profile image
Auriculaire in reply to CDreamer

I wish I could "like" this 100 times!

BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer

I stopped taking statins about five years ago having been on them for probably 20. I was aware (maybe you are not) that one of the doctors QOFs (quality outcome framework) on which their pay is based require them to have " the talk" with patients about statins but made my own mind up. I appologied to my GP if I caused her a pay cut but she assured me that having had "the talk" mattered more than the actual prescription and that I was old and ugly enough to make my own mind up.

Desanthony profile image
Desanthony in reply to BobD

LOL haven't heard that phrase "Old enough and ugly enough" for years. :)

I was on Statins for a few years when I think most people seemed to be put on them and they seemed to be flavour of the month but experienced dizziness and nearly fainted a few times and came off them. My wife - younger than me by 17 years, on the other hand has never had the conversation with a GP unless she isntigated it- she had the free cholesterol test at Boots chemists -which was on the high part of normal and again got one when she started her fight against another two lung diseases - she has always had asthma and thought to get a cholesterol test at that time - she was 55 would be wise so that if anything else was wrong we could start treating everything. Her GP wouldn't do it so she got one done privately and took the result to the GP as was recommended and he said no it was still just a little over what it had been a few years previously and these tests weren't worth the paper they were written on. Maybe at 62 she'll try again because both her her Gran and Mum died with and of heart problems and her Mum was only 34 and she is aware of the contrast between her care and that of her nieces step sons whose Mum died similarly at 42 and they get heart checks yearly until age 18 at a hospital in the capital city - makes you think? - Incidentally all have the same GP.

spinningjenny profile image
spinningjenny in reply to BobD

Interesting. I had also heard that GPS get paid for prescribing statins and that they also get extra for each diabetic they have on their books which is why they seem quick to diagnose pre-diabetes. Once thus diagnosed they consider the patient diabetic for life. I have consistently refused statins partly for this reason.

BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer in reply to spinningjenny

I was pre diabetic a couple of years ago but diet changed that and now I am not so listed. You can blame the Blair administration for all those QOFs. Strangely AF was also one I think

My maxim is you don't take another medication, particularly a lifetime one, unless there is an emergency need. Certainly not statins with the pros and cons. I don't consider all pills bad just that Big Pharma has a chequered history and I don't have the knowledge to pick out the winners. My cholesterol has been around 7 for many years with no issues as far as I am aware.

Bawdy profile image
Bawdy in reply to secondtry

Same, mine always higher than that, two angiograms showing arteries fine, stopped statins a few weeks into starting them. If my body doesn't like what I'm putting in I listen and stop what I'm doing especially when it comes to medication that may be un useful.

Do what your daughter and her boyfriend tells you.

Why would you want to lower your cholesterol?

rosyG profile image
rosyG in reply to localad

Because plaque forms and obstructs vessels in the heart and elsewhere - but not all doctors agree with statins

Auriculaire profile image
Auriculaire in reply to rosyG

There is no scientific proof that this process has anything to do with high levels of cholesterol. Even the manufacturers of statins admit that the ( very minimal in terms of life extension) effectiveness of statins is not due to cholesterol lowering but more likely due to anti inflammatory effects. There are a lot of things you can use for diminishing inflammation that do not hamper your liver in producing co Enzyme Q 10 and dolichols .

rosyG profile image
rosyG in reply to Auriculaire

difficult one as deposits in vessels will produce inflammation!I have borderline cholesterol levels and have refused statins but whether I am wise or not I don't know!

secondtry profile image
secondtry in reply to rosyG

As you say difficult Rosy, my belief is that provided you don't have any other issues causing problems e.g. high blood pressure the cholesterol has nothing to hang onto and therefore does not present as a problem. My BP is lowish & my arteries are clear (checked 5 yrs ago) on long term total 7 cholesterol, therefore I don't take statins.

Auriculaire profile image
Auriculaire in reply to rosyG

It's a bit chicken and egg as there are scientists who believe that it is damage to the epithelium and the inflammation that causes that provoques plaque formation.

rosyG profile image
rosyG in reply to Auriculaire

I think the fact that one cardiologist is in favour and another against shows problems with evidence.

Last time i had my cholesterol checked was 3 years ago ( because of covid) It was 7. Doctors were not concerned as I had very high good Cholesterol , much higher than the bad.

Its not all about the overall level

Maggimunro profile image
Maggimunro in reply to KMRobbo

Agreed. Apparently it is the ratio of good to bad cholesterol that counts. I scored 5.7 last time I was checked but because of my diet my good cholesterol levels was really high. Plus because I had had ‘the talk’ with the GP I agreed to try them but stopped within a week because of awful leg cramps.

I discussed all this with my EP and he was in full agreement.

Lots of information here bhf.org.uk/informationsuppo...

My EP cardiologist has convinced me that prevention is better than cure and that as well as measures to keep diabetes and hypertension at bay with diet and exercise, statins, an anticoagulant and a low dose of an antihypertensive can all help prevent the "remodelling" of the heart and other major arteries that age naturally brings in its wake for most of us.

Steve

I've been on statins for about 5 years, not solely because my cholesterol ticked up a bit. They are also prescribed to reduce and possibly reduce any atherosclerosis built up in arteries and reduce the risk of a heart attack. Since being on them, cholesterol has been kept in the normal range. Of course, as with any medical decision, each person's situation must be considered on an individual basis. That's why your plan to talk with your doctor about this is a wise one.

KMRobbo profile image
KMRobbo in reply to willec49

But how does the doctor know your atherosclerosis levels??

rosyG profile image
rosyG in reply to KMRobbo

Can see on angiogram etc

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to KMRobbo

There is also a special scan which looks at the calcium roaming in your arteries which could cause problems. There have been 2 posts about it titled calcium scans. Not sure you would get one unless there was concern but looks less invasive than angiogram.

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to CDreamer

healthunlocked.com/afassoci...

KMRobbo profile image
KMRobbo in reply to CDreamer

Thanks

willec49 profile image
willec49 in reply to KMRobbo

A CT scan showed mild atherosclerosis. This also added a point to my Chad Vas score which is used to assess the risk of plaque build-up and blood clots.

KMRobbo profile image
KMRobbo in reply to willec49

Thanks, I never heard of this . Maybe should be considering this myself?

willec49 profile image
willec49 in reply to KMRobbo

Yes. The Chad Vas score is used to determine the need for anti-coagulants (blood thinners) because the main serious health risk of Afib is stroke. Most people under care for Afib are on some form of blood thinner.

KMRobbo profile image
KMRobbo in reply to willec49

Sorry, not the chasds2 vasc score as I was treated as zero when I had afib, i was thinking the CT scan if that shows athleroscleris rather than assuming i am fine despite high cholesterol owing to the fact i have a lot more good cholesterol than bad.I would think giving me a CT scan would be cheaper than treating me for a heart attack??? Or am I being too simplistic ?

willec49 profile image
willec49 in reply to KMRobbo

Oh, Sorry. Well the atherosclerosis and blood clot potential are not in-related. But for methods of diagnosing atherosclerosis, imaging modalities like CT scans and MRI’s, etc are used. Cholesterol is measured via blood tests. If yours shows normal levels of cholesterol then you probably wouldn’t be prescribed statins. I’m sorry if I conflated cholesterol and atherosclerosis but both are apparently involved in blood clot potential.

KMRobbo profile image
KMRobbo in reply to willec49

My last blood test 3 yrs ago was just over 7, but 2/3 of it was the "Good " cholesterol from memory.

That's interesting Steve. Seems you have good conversations with your EP.

I’ll not take a statin but know they help reduce systemic inflammation which helps many heart & other conditions. But there are plenty of foods high in polyphenols which can do that just as well.

I think that the whole Cholesterol & heart disease is a con & from what I’ve read many others believe that as well. There is a lot more research being done now which is revealing other factors. The negative affects of statins far outweigh any benefit for me.

Each to their own.

Auriculaire profile image
Auriculaire in reply to CDreamer

Agree totally. Statins have just been a money spinner for Pharma. Now they are nearly all generic the next anti cholesterol scam is being wheeled out - very expensive ( natch ) injections.

😱😱

I agree with CDreamer, my experience with the medical profession is that they don’t necessarily know best. My last chat with a diabetic nurse was about a statin. She said she knows my views but had to say. I do not need a statin, my results were fine and yet they want to s shove me on a statin with all its side effects 😵‍💫 It’s about time they give us all the pros and cons rather that acting that they do know best, give people information they need to make choices.

Hi LaceyLady, you should never ever let anyone 'shove you' onto a dose of anything. All the advice that doctors give us is just that. You are under no obligation to anyone but yourself, after listening to the advice and evidence that's available. My sister had a struggle with summarily being prescribed medication for osteoporosis just because she's 'old and had broken her hip when she fell.' But she stuck to her guns until the doctor finally said, 'well of course, it's your decision'. Our doctors are simply informed advisors. Sometimes, particularly in UK because of the way in which our national health service operates, doctors believe they have more power over our lives than they really do, or should have.On the other hand, we maybe shouldn't always outright dismiss medications which are by popular opinion, unliked. Statins are one of those and viewed with deep suspicion by many. Happily there is another solution to not agreeing to take one and that's to work on your own lifestyle to remedy any need for one.

I didn’t have any option in hospital with diabetic drugs or anticoagulant.! One time. Was in hospital with my PAF the Dr over dosed me on one of the meds which resulted n my having a return visit as BP went Through the floor 😳 Trust ???? I question them and will challenge. Having been a Complementary Therapist of many years with qualifications and results of all patients on meds 🙄

Hi I've been taking polycosanol 20 mg per day along with 2x 1200mg of plant sterols per day my doctor said I had done really well in getting my cholesterol down my personal opinion is if something can be changed naturally it's the way to go ps my gp had never heard of policosanol or plant sterols so I don't expect too much advice in this department a gp is a gp an electrician is an electrician no offence to anyone

Just a note further to my earlier reply I'm 61 and since 50 gp has been trying to get me on statins i have bimonthly blood tests and each time I ring my clinic the reception always tells me my cholesterol is going up last time I was told it is sitting at 7 .5 so I made appointment with gp to discuss and she told me it was never that high and was sort of flummoxed that the receptionist had been giving me the wrong figures all along it pays to double check sometime I was overly worried for a good ten years

I'm surprised that the subject of cholesterol and statins has come up and no one has mentioned Dr Malcolm Kendrick as far as I can see. Visit drmalcolmkendrick.org/

Statins interfere with the proper functioning of the liver and have serious side effects for some people.

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to tcpace

I’ve mentioned him so many times I thought I’d give another the honour 👍

Yes I have also been told by various doctors / cardiologist that statins have an anti inflammatory effect on the the heart and that has to be a good thing. X

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