Cholesterol and Statins: I thought I... - British Heart Fou...

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Cholesterol and Statins

I thought I would share my experience so far and hopefully get some feedback to help me understand things. Please note, I am of course going to discuss the following with my GP but it may be a few weeks before I can get to see the only one I trust! So, a brief background: I am slim build and have always exercised regularly, running and cycling mainly, although I did very much cut this back about 5 years ago. Diet has been pretty good particularly in latter years. I have a proud history of CVD in my family, I might add. Last October (then aged 60) I had a sudden bout of Angina and was admitted, LAD was 96% blocked in one place, I had 2 stents fitted, RCA is also 50% blocked, no stent fitted, cardiologist said I was a lucky boy not to have a HA. Came out of Hospital with the usual raft of medication, and fairly soon after Rehab came off most of the medication with doctors approval due to them affecting my ability to get back into exercise, so only on Asprin, Clopidogrel and Atorvastatin (80mg). Also, I insisted the GP did a blood test very soon after my getting back home, at which point I would have been on Statins for probably 2 weeks as I have been told in cases like mine they would give you them as soon as you walked in the door. Since then I have radically changed my lifestyle (not that it was bad anyway). I have almost retired, and have been observing a pretty strict plant based diet - and I do mean strict. I also eat all the oily fish and basically follow the guidelines to the letter. Now, the next bit will sound foolish to some reading this, but I have never been happy with the Statins. A woman I met on the Rehab course had awful trouble with them and to be honest I think I talked myself into thinking they were (or would) cause me problems, blaming every little ache and pain on them. By now I was back into my running big time, doing Park runs in 25 mins. So, I decided to stop taking them, about 5 months ago now. I was convinced I could manage things by diet and exercise, running 2 to 3 times a week, going to the gym, and sticking to that diet. I must say I have lost weight and feel great, no problems apart from like I say, those a 60 year old guy would get when undertaking daft things like 5K park runs. This week I had another blood test done, and I have to say I am a bit confused but mainly, pretty disappointed with the results, which are as follows:

Total Cholesterol from test undertaken when I was 55 was 4.9. (I don't have further information on that).

Results from Lipids done 2 weeks after admission:

LDL = 1.7, HDL=1.1, Triglyceride=0.6, Cholesterol/HDL ratio=2.8, nonHDL=2.0. Total Cholesterol = 3.1

Results from Blood test this week after no Statins for 5 months:

LDL=2.59, HDL=1.81, Triglycerides=1.12, Cholesterol/HDL ratio=2.71, nonHDL=3.1. Total Cholesterol=4.91

So, as a previous sceptic of Statins, it looks to me like stopping them has had quite a dramatic effect on my total Cholesterol, despite the exercise, diet and relaxed lifestyle, my total Cholesterol has returned to its former value along with a sharp rise in Triglycerides. For anyone doubting it, please believe that I am totally serious about the exercise and diet bit!

I would welcome any comments or deductions more experienced people on here might be able to offer, and to those thinking I have been a bit stupid, well you might be right. I am, I have to add, back on them as from last night, due to my "experiment" failing dramatically by the looks of it.

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Looking on the bright side, your total cholesterol to HDL has remained almost unchanged, and that's the single metric that my GP seems to put most store in.

Having said that, personally I would restart taking statins.

It's not just about cholesterol, research shows statins can stabilise plaque and reduce inflammation. These are two really significant benefits, possibly even more significant than cholesterol.

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Thanks Chappy. I know there is evidence regarding the stabilising effect effect, I have been a bit sceptical to be honest, but given the results, even as you say the cholesterol to HDL ratio being virtually unchanged, I think they have tipped the balance for me and I am going to restart them. I am not particularly worried about the period of time that has passed when I haven't taken them, to be honest, maybe I should be, but it's immaterial now.

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If you really want to dig into the science regarded statins reducing inflammation and stabilising plaques then this is a good place to start,

academic.oup.com/eurheartj/...

One interesting point is that, when it comes to combatting inflammation, it seems not all statins are born equal. This piece of research shows that rosuvastatin (ie Crestor) is slightly more effective at reducing inflammation than atorvastatin (ie Lipitor).

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

As a Lipitor user I'm currently trying to dig deeper into this research before deciding if I should approach my GP and request a change to Crestor.

Finally, here's a fairly radical idea. It could be that you and I, having reached our 60's with severe atherosclerosis but without ever having a heart attack, are part of a group that is genetically disposed to growing big fat plaques in our arteries, but that we tend to grow particularly stable types of plaque with very solid fibrous caps and/or plaques that are less inflamed?

At the other end of the spectrum, according to this theory, are those people who don't have particularly advanced arterial blockage, but none the less they have suffered one or more heart attacks. In other words their plaques are far smaller than ours, but far less stable?

I'm not persuaded one way or another by this view, but if it's true then it's actually this other group than most needs the stabilising, anti-inflammatory benefits of statins. Interesting thought, but personally if there's a benefit going then I'd rather have it even if it's possibly less relevant!

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Good points, and I have thought along the same lines. I believe it is not the big plaques that are the problem (once stented), but that, in some people, the other much smaller plaques are constantly rupturing and healing, and that they are responsible for at least 75% of HA's, so it makes you think that maybe we would have had a HA by now considering the rather large build up we have experienced. The trouble is, I met another Lady in Rehab who had to come off Statin's because they were causing big problems with her Liver and Kidneys, even though her cholesterol was very high and she was in real danger of having a HA, and I just don't like the idea of putting other organs at risk, especially if there might not be a reason to. I guess, really, you can't win. I will have my annual review in a few months, where I hope (???) that they undertake blood tests to check liver function and so on, although I guess now that it won't give a true picture in my case, and I might have to get one done privately a few months after it.

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Good luck xxx

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Ah, just looked at that report, it is one I had previously read, but thanks for the link. That's where I got the 75% figure from obviously.

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That makes sense for me . My total cholestrol level is 6.0 but with a good ratio of 1.7. I'm age 66 and in quite good shape, good BMI, careful diet, reasonably active. Even with a total cholestrol of 6, I turned down a statin and my GP agreed.

However this winter, after a few incidents of chest pain and breathlessness, I had an angiogram. This confirmed tiny erratic plaque in lower LAD but no significant obstruction (less than 25%) .

My father and grandfather both died of heart disease in their 50s and I was a smoker in my twenties. My cardiologist recommends I take a statin to reduce inflammation.

On balance I've now agreed to do so, with a review in 3 months.

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Really interesting Chappychap.

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I forgot to ask Chappy - it's just occurred to me that I don't know exactly how your "total" cholesterol is calculated, or relates to the bad and good levels? There more I look at my results the more confused I become. Does anyone know how it is done?

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As far as I can see the "standard" NHS blood test for lipids (or at least mine and most of the ones referenced on this web site) either excludes triglycerides, or parks them separately from the cholesterol calculations.

Consequently cholesterol seems to be measured as the aggregate of HDL and LDL, and the critical measure of "plasma cholesterol/HDL ratio" is simply total cholesterol excluding triglycerides over HDL. You really want this measurement to be below 4.0, my GP says achieving that is more important than getting total cholesterol below some specific level. In other words his view (and this increasingly appears to be the new orthodoxy) is that it doesn't matter if your "bad" LDL levels are increasing, as long as your "good" HDL levels are increasing faster!

Another feature of the "standard" NHS tests (again, as far as my limited experience shows) is that LDL is given as one figure rather than splitting out the small, dense LDL. I've seen this metric on private blood tests but never on NHS blood tests, this applies to both my own and others that have been printed on this forum.

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OK, but, I can't see how my total level can be derived from the others? On my last set of results total cholesterol was 4.9, LDL was 2.59 and HDL was 1.81 which gives 4.4 so where has the other.51 come from?? I cant make anything add up!

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What was and is the actual lab result WITH the lab reference range of each of these? It'll be on your lab printout.

Triglycerides

HDL

Hba1c

CRP

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The only reference range was for the Triglycerides, 0.4 - 1.8 (in brackets after the result figure)

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Was your diet any different in the years leading up to your diagnosis of LAD blockage?

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I had, I guess, the same relatively bad diet when I was a young lad and in the early years of my life. Roast dinners a plenty, dripping instead of butter on the Monday lunch beef sandwiches and then the rest of the beef with chips for tea, cooked in you know what of course. Plenty of saturated fats and dairy stuff, as I say like most folks back in the sixties.

Once I got myself a decent woman in my late twenties my diet improved a lot, and continued to over the past 30 years. My wonderful wife (without whom I would possibly be brown bread now) has always cooked our meals from scratch, no processed food, plenty of fruit and vegetables, although I have to say I was a bit of a sucker for cheese and did like my butter, but along with that I ate a lot of fish. For the last 2 years my wife has been vegetarian, and since my event I have done likewise, apart from oily fish and the very occasional chicken, like I said pretty much following the guidelines to the letter. I have not found it as hard as I expected, it is quite an encouragement when something like this happens to you, I never expected to go the same way as my Dad who died at 55 bless him, luckily for me medical science has advanced a lot since then.

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I think the tabloid press have a lot of answer for in relation to grabbing headlines without sticking to what the medicine actually says. It does sometimes feel like people are primed around side effects instead of focusing on the positives. ‘Big pharma’ would soon go in another direction if the amount of reported side effects from statins is to be believed. I was petrified of going on statins from the horror stories, but so far, so good. Obviously some people do experience side effects but I think the media sets us up to expect them as the norm rather than the exception.

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Since being off them, I have had quite a few minor, mainly age and exercise related creaks and niggles, plus some unexplained "tingling" feelings in my hands, which the GP has no real explanation for, other than he's happy its not my ticker. Personally I think it might be something to do with the Asprin/Clopidogrel combo, as that is all I have been taking for the past 5 months and I never had it before. If I had been taking the Statin's I would have been blaming them for everything. At least my "trial" has shown me that it is easy to convince yourself that, as you say, press related myths may be just that. At the end of the day I believe they are the most researched drugs ever. I started on them again last evening and I didn't have any visitations by monsters in the night.........

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Has your vitamin B12 been checked? As you have changed to a mainly vegetarian diet you could be lacking in b12 which can cause pins and needles and other symptoms!

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My GP suggested this, so yes I have been taking a B12 supplement every day for 2 months now. No difference I am afraid!

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Do you take anything like omeprazole or another PPI as these will prevent your body from extracting and absorbing B12. Did your doctor do a blood test to check your levels? The Pernicious Anemia forum here on healthunlocked has some good information regarding symptoms etc. It may be that you need larger doses than you are getting at present.

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I do take Omeprazole yes. He didn't do a blood test for B12, I am going back to see him soon so I will mention that. The B12 I take at the moment is one you spray under your tongue like the GTN sprays.

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Ask for an active b12 test (I think that’s the correct one) as any supplement will skew a serum b12 test. Your folate and D3 should be checked too.

My hubby had 2HA’s and a quadruple bypass a year ago, he also had a stroke two months after the surgery. He now has a diagnosis of b12 deficiency but looking back he has had it for a long while but we didn’t realise!

Hope you find the cause and solution.

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I’ve been through very similar experiences but I’m 69. Same drugs. I’m a big fan of this site. However if at our sort of age one becomes hyper aware of the body after say a HA then lo and behold you have aches and pains! I was convinced that the statins were causing pains in my shoulders when really the lost muscle tone resulted in activity causing soreness. I am not going to be a wide eyed innocent about my treatment and drug regime but neither will I play doctor with the support of Dr Google.

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The press just like a good headline! They seem to have created the myth that "Freddie Starr Ate A Hamster Sandwich" and "The Richardsons Tortured People". The one that annoys me is the endless "Cure For Type II Diabetes". Yes, if people lose weight, adopt a healthy lifestyle and exercise their medication may be reduced or stopped all together. However, if they return to their bad ways the diabetes returns. Hardly a cure!!!

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Sorry I'm struggling to see the relevance of your reply here? I have done everything that is recommended and, basically, it has not prevented me from having to take Statins???

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I was responding to Sillyfroggy's comments about the tabloid press. Apologies for any confusion caused!

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ah OK yeah, no problem!!

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I'm a bit bemused by this. Controlling carb intake can alleviate type 2 diabetes, and eating high glycaemic-loads can provoke it, especially when eaten frequently. By 'curing' type 2, it doesn't prevent anyone developing it again, you're right, but it's something to celebrate not be frustrated about when you're no longer a slave to medication and complications.

If people (not just 'diabetics') were advised to reduce their GL to 60 per day (120g low Gi carbohydrate) nice.org.uk/guidance/ng28/r... instead of focussing on lowering cholesterol, there would be far less chronic heart disease. Now that is frustrating!

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"If people (not just 'diabetics') were advised to reduce their GL to 60 per day (120g low Gi carbohydrate) nice.org.uk/guidance/ng28/r... instead of focussing on lowering cholesterol, there would be far less chronic heart disease."

I agree, there would be less heart disease.

But there wouldn't be zero heart disease. I don't buy any highly prescriptive, catch-all remedies. People are just too diverse, and live lives that are too varied, to make any single sentence solution universally applicable.

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I hope this reply does not upset anyone, but why should there be a "cure" for something that, in a lot of cases is caused purely by people not having the responsibility to adopt a healthy lifestyle? If there was such a cure surely it would make these sort of people just be even less responsible. During my stay in hospital I was astounded at the number of people who were grossly overweight and in terrible conditions for their age. One of the difficult things about what has happened to me is that both of my brothers in law have smoked all their lives, one drinks at least a bottle of wine a day, and they are both fine, yet I am the one with heart disease despite regularly exercising all my life and maintaining a healthy weight!

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Oh dear. I can feel the response of “that’s life mate”. My parents very rarely drank. My dad didn’t smoke and died of HA at 49. My mum smoked but died of asbestosis at 61. My family don’t live long I’m afraid but can’t see anything genetic. My husband’s family are all long lived (well into their 80s). They’ve all been quite heavy drinkers and most smoke. That’s just the way it is I’m afraid. Still nurse said if I hadn’t had a good diet and exercise regime I wouldn’t still be here. Keep positive. It’s the only way to be. 🙂

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I can relate to that lateguitarist! None smoker with lung cancer!!! Hope you get the right balance soon. xx

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I'm in the same position as you. 54 years old, single stent to LAD and 30% narrowing in the RCA.

I was originally on 80mg atorvastatin but couldn't tolerate them due to raised muscle enzymes. Ive since been on 40mg for 2 years with no problems and believe that for people like us with heart disease they are a must, more so for there anti inflammatory properties than the cholestrol lowering though.

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I have

“Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH for short) is an inherited condition which can lead to extremely high cholesterol levels”

..and have been on statins for 14 years.

FH doesn’t respond to oily fish, exercise and fibre although of course neither does harm.

The statins reduce my cholesterol in a way that muesli and plants cannot.

Despite the statins etc I had a heart attack 2 years ago following a period of extreme stress.

I think that obsessing about lifestyle, diet, meds et al doesn’t help at all.

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You're right; obsessing about lowering cholesterol doesn't help, but keeping insulin levels normal does.

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Yes indeed, I agree completely. My husband has diabetes and we have good evidence about insulin levels, testing, diet and meds for that. The results of ignoring advice or treatment become very obvious very quickly.

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Same here. I was going to ask lateguitarist if he'd had a diagnosis for FH.

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I don't know much about FH other than I would not have thought my total level (4.9) when not on Statins would indicate that I have it? I am sure they would have picked it up while I was undergoing all the tests and so on when I was having the stents fitted.

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I’d look more to your carb level, being plant based you might now be eating loads of carbs which will spike your insulin levels and cause inflammation. It’s already proven Cholesterol isn’t the demon causing heart disease, USA cardiologists are even apologising for telling people this now 🤔. We need cholesterol to function, that’s why our bodies make it.

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Hi. My cholesterol has always been slightly high in my adult life (I am now 66). When I had my triple bypass a year ago, my total cholesterol was 5.9. I had a blood test taken at the end of January my Cholesterol was down to 2.9. My GP said he hasn't seen one that low for years, so the statins are doing their job, he said.

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Lateguitarist

May I add a couple of comments to this interesting thread?

I seem to have just missed a HA too; have two stents inserted about 10 months ago now and been on atorvostatin for over a year.

I also like to understand what I am taking so read around the literature, much of which I don't understand fully.

However, one point has come over to me. We all need to remember that all meds benefits are measured statistically. All meds can do harm if they are taken by an individual whose make-up is 'wrong', if you get what I mean. So, it must be my own reaction to any particular med that is important. Just be cause Mrs A had a bad experience actually is irrelevant unless you are following a similar path with your body's reaction.

Trouble is that I am not sure the docs now have the time to spend pursuing this line of approach of their own accord, so I have concluded that I need to just go back to discuss side effects with the docs should I need to/notice anything unusual.

The other thing is, I've come across the term insulin resistance and it seems to be something that is important in the cardio area. I admit I don't fully understand it yet but it seems to be at the start of the event chain in the changes that our body goes through from perfect functioning to the build up of cardio problems and also diabetes. However, when I have time, I try to read about it to learn. It seems important. I can point you at this link

articles.mercola.com/sites/... I'd welcome comments from anyone, as I am stuck at the moment.

For me, I find it difficult to distinguish between new worthwhile approaches and those that might actually be dangerous to act upon - I just don't know enough. Peer-reviewed papers in the area are almost totally incomprehensible, the written sentences are too full of jargon for me with no background.

Good luck

Henry

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Hi Henry,

There are scores of clinicians, scientists and researchers that you can turn to regarding insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, etc. You've already started that very interesting journey with your Mercola link and the info, links and videos provided in that article.

There are conferences and seminars that you can attend in person or watch (online) from home. If you have access to Netflix, Amazon, etc, I recommend watching the documentary 'Sugar Coated', which was released in 2015 (90 mins). As you're familiar with the Mercola site, i've looked and found it mentioned there too.

articles.mercola.com/sites/...

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Londinium

Many thanks, I'll get searching again. Very helpful advice

Henry

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You're welcome. 🖖🏻

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Hi Lateguitarist,

Firstly, thank you for this post. It’s not easy for some to accept the evidence if it goes against their beliefs, it’s hard to fight the bias and you should be congratulated for doing so. Secondly, it’s great that you’ve shared this, I know that to most it’s anecdotal but it’s a great story that shows how you’ve changed your thoughts based on actual evidence.

I too have changed my diet, I’m almost completely plant based and I’ve upped my exercise to 4 days a week in the gym. I have my annual blood test next week, the first one since the stents 14 months ago and I’m excited to get the results. Can I ask if you too were excited? I’m assuming you were expecting good news as you were “doing all the right things”.

Did you notice any physical differences while not taking the statins then while taking them? Many people complain about muscle loss or aches and pains, also memory loss etc, I personally don’t believe most of the claims but I’m interested to hear your thoughts as you seem capable of logic and reason. I have lost weight but I think that’s down to diet and exercise.

Lastly, why “lateguitarist” ? I’m hoping you’ve found a love for the 6 string later in life, it’s a beautiful thing to discover.

Thank you for your well thought out and honest post,

Steve.

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Hi Steve. Thanks for one of the many great replies I have had to this post. I was slightly nervous in posting it as I guess some people might think I am trying to be my own doctor, but I have always been the type of person to question things and not just accept them. I am totally convinced that we are all just prescribed a raft of "cure all" medication without any real subjective evaluation, which has been proven by the fact I came off the beta blockers and blood pressure meds along with isosorbide mononitrate, with only positive results. I never had high blood pressure and the BB's were making me feel awful, as well as inhibiting my capacity to exercise properly, however I do understand why these drugs are prescribed for others. Given this I have done a lot of research into Statins because I really really don't want to be on any medication that I don't absolutely have to be. I think that the experience of some of the other people I met on Rehab coloured my thoughts on Statins to be honest, and it is probably too easy to blame them for aches and pains that one would get anyway. Unfortunately I have been suffering from some knee problems (which I think is down to kick starting an old motorbike I have rebuilt), but if I had been on the Statins I would no doubt have blamed them.

I was quite excited about the latest blood test, but then had the wind taken out of my sails to be honest. I was very disappointed to see the total cholesterol level had risen. I had thought that being on the initial Statins I was given in Hospital may not have had time to affect the test I had done shortly after discharge, it could only have been 2 weeks at the most, but obviously it was long enough for them to have an effect. I was cherred by the suggestion that my Total/HDL ration had stayed virtually the same though, which is obviously a very good advert for my diet helping to raise my HDL level, as I believe the Statins will not do this. For this reason I have no intention of changing my diet now.

I did not feel any difference when off them to be honest. I have suffered from tingling in my hands, lower arm and occasionally feet ever since the "event", but this comes and goes and I have just got used to it, it is obviously nothing to do with Statins, but I could have easily blamed them. I am hoping it might be something to do with the anti platelet drugs - I have also had sore fingers just above the nail and I think this might be a side effect of the Asprin. I have also lost weight, I am now 11st from an all time high of over 12.5, and feel much better for it, although I never looked bad on it anyway as I am 5'11".

I have come to terms with everything and feel lucky to have a "second chance". I was told in Rehab that for every one of us who were attending there were probably 3 people who are not around any more - a sobering thought. It is hard though, when you know others who have smoked all their lives and seem to sail though with no problems.

Anyway I must be running out of characters here, so regarding the nick yes I came to the 6 string late in life. Having spent decades thinking "I wish I had learnt to play the guitar when I was younger" I finally decided to do it aged 58. I must say I absolutely love it and never a day goes by when I don't pick one up, although it is very hard to begin with and I can understand why so many people give it up after a few weeks.

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Your story really resonates with me.

I am fit (a runner for 15 years, cyclist for 20 and latterly a walker) not overweight and plagued with Cholesterol issues. My latest tests;

Serum Cholesterol Level - 7.3

HDL - 1.0

LDL - 4.8

Tryglyceride - 3.4

Ratio - 7.3

Serum non high density - 6.3

I also eat a pescetarian diet, with very little dairy product.

Following two HA’s almost 4 years ago I have tried everything I can to get my cholesterol levels down. I have taken all of the Statins and more recently a PCSK9_inhibitor. I react badly to all of them and have had to stop them.

I have been diagnosed with Famillial hypercholesterolemia, but genetic testing (as part of a nationwide study being undertaken at Gt Ormond Street) has failed to find any genetic defect.

I have done masses of research in relation to Cholesterol and have been interested in discussions around the role of Carbohydrates / Sugars in the metabolic process, particularly Fructose.

My latest experiment is to stop eating all added sugar, reduce higher fructose level fruits and remove all white carbs from my diet. I essentially eat Vegetables, Fish, low fructose fruits and occasional eggs, cheese and butter.

I am three weeks into that now and have already seen a dramatic reduction in my FBS (5.2 down to 4.5), and a reduction in my morning blood pressure 120 / 80 down to 97 / 49 ( which has necessitated the halving of my Amlodopine dose). I am hoping my Cholesterol will be moving in the same direction.

Do you eat a lot of white carbohydrates in your diet? If so it would be well worth googling to see what the latest thoughts are in relation to the role of Carbohydrates in raising Cholesterol levels.

I expect to retest my own levels in 9 weeks and will happily share the results of my experiment once they are in.

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Carokai

Your post is very interesting and I wonder if I may ask about something.

I have posted above about insulin resistance that I am trying to find out about. I've hit a bit of a brick wall.

If you have any thoughts/information about the subject, I would welcome guidance. I suspect other readers of this thread would too

Thanks for anything you can add

(I have absolutely no medical background or knowledge in this area, so the dreaded TLA [three letter acronyms] will mean little to me; please help retiree by spelling things out in full on first use, thanks)

Henry

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Hi Henry,

I am surprised you are struggling to research Insulin resistance.

There is a lot of information on the Internet. Have you tried searching under pre-diabetes ?

I have been reading articles for the last couple of years on this subject and have been intrigued by how often a link with high Cholesterol levels is mentioned.

Where are you searching for information? Have you looked at the Diabetes Uk site ?

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Hi Carokai

Looking around, I am asking myself the same question. Part of the problem is certainly that I have no medical background and can just get lost in the terminology and some things I found were thus pretty meaningless. Perhaps I used the wrong search terms, I don't remember the exact things I put into Dr Google. I know I didn't use pre-diabetes - However, using it a lot has come up that I now need to go through - thanks for the suggestion.

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Good luck Henry.

I firmly believe that research allows us to make more informed choices and take control of our wellness.

I hope you find answers !!

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Congratulations on finding a better path that works for you. Please see my reply to Henry20 above.

Ps. A few things are of importance, one of which is to always maintain optimal Vit D3 levels.

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One issue about this site. I am a patient not a doctor and certainly sensitive to not giving advice that sounds like it comes from a doctor. If a participant is a doctor/nurse/researcher then can we have a declaration. Unless everyone is by definition a patient or relative/friend.

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Not sure what you're asserting? Everyone has a right to their own opinion and the right to express it. Some of us do an awful lot of research.

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No probs or criticism at all. Sorry if I gave that impression. I expect many of us do research particularly on our own condition (I do) and yes people are free to say what they want. It would just be good to know (in a positive sense) when someone is a professional expert. But maybe this is not the place.

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On a forum, no one is anyone's personal clinician. We express our viewpoint, and each individual can then research those differing views and draw their own conclusions.

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OK

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I think it is important for participants who are giving advice which goes against current medical guidelines to make that clear.

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Very interesting post, and not the first time this idea has been discussed. I do not eat much white carbs, however I do like my spuds. All the bread I eat is wholegrain, nothing white. I don't think I can cope with the thought of cholesterol not being relevant in all this, given the weight of evidence there seems to be? I have spent so much time looking into things now that I am beginning to think it will consume me and that my possibly reduced life would be better spent doing other things like trying to master this blooming 6 string!!

Argghhhhhhh.......

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Drop or reduce sugars, bread, grains, rice, spuds, corn, etc, and you'll see a change for the better.

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Sorry lateguitarist, but I am afraid that in this respect your brown bread counts as a white carb. That is as opposed to those carbs coming from vegetables / fruit.

The idea is to remove all processed carbs / sugars from the diet and reduce higher carb veg / fruit consumption.

I think Cholesterol remains the issue, but there are some that argue that in terms of tackling high cholesterol levels, reducing dietry fat has little or no effect but reducing carbs / sugars may.

The jury is out for me, until I complete this three month experiment but I am intrigued by how often I have read about the potential carb / sugar link and am prepared to try anything.

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Well, to be honest, I think it is a step too far for me at this moment. I find it hard to accept that all the "current" thinking is wrong, frankly. I was (am?) prepared to accept that maybe Statins are not the wonder cure they are made out to be, but then again perhaps they are. My little "experiment" has demonstrated that maybe diet alone will not have the effect that is needed. I think in reality that there is a lot that is still not understood and that some of these new ideas that get bandied about will probably be disproved in time. As a layman I get the cholesterol theory, I don't get a lot of the others though. For me to give up things like bread, grains, spuds and so on, on an unproven theory, would be too much at the moment.

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I totally get that.

It might be that I am a little more desperate for a solution, having been through so many Statin / PCSK9 Inhibitor routes and with very high and still climbing Cholesterol levels.

My Endocrinologist and GP have no idea where to turn next, so I am prepared to give this a chance.

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Yes of course I totally understand that, it must be incredibly frustrating, especially given your previous lifestyle. Life a'int fair.

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Carokai, and LateGuitarist,

Watch the documentary 'Sugar Coated' (released in 2015) and about 90 mins long.

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The BHF recommend a Mediterranean diet with wholegrains. They have excellent dietary advice on their website.

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When I saw my cardiologist, Dr Aseem Malhotra (google him!) and said I was on statins, he said”How old are you?” so I said 83 and he said “Why are you on statins? They are of no use for you or anyone over 65 whatsoever. I’ll tell you what they are doing to you. You feel tired all the time, your limbs have aches and pains and you sometimes find it hard to concentrate with a muzzy head. Stop taking them immediately - you are being over- medicated.” So I stopped taking them and can’t say I notice a big difference!

I’m having a 24 hour blood pressure monitor fitted next week to track my high blood pressure so maybe that will help to identify the cause of my problems.

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Your reply is for LateGuitarist, but you clicked on the Reply to me.

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Apologies !!

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I think you should persevere with the 6 strings!! What a buzz you’ll get once mastered.

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Yes I am, however, it's never been mastered. We are all on a journey. Even Eric Clapton and Joe Bonamassa have not yet mastered it, but hey ho, I'm tryin. Not sure if I will be doing the O2 arena for a bit yet.

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Have a look at some evidence based reasoning :-

Look up the Hunt 2 study based on a ten year research exercise, involving fifty thousand people in Norway . Findings :

Low cholesterol was significantly associated with all cause mortality, showing significant associations with death through cancer. Liver disease and mental disease.

Then have a look at the Vorarlberg study of 67413 men and 82,237 women over a 15 year period.

Findings: -

The role of high cholesterol in predicting death from coronary heart disease could be confirmed in men of all ages and women under 50. However for women over 50 LOW cholesterol was significantly associated with all cause mortality, particularly death through cancer, Liver disease and mental disease.

So a lower level of 5 and a higher level of 7 seems to be the order of the day, but I bet your GP has not heard of either of the two studies

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Heck, now I (retired male) am confused even more; I hadn't heard of either study. My cholesterol used to be above 6. Now with statins and diet changes its 2.9; HDL 1.3 LDL 1.6 with congrats from consultant

So where now? A cup of tea, I think ..... (decaff, of course)

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Hi lateguitarist I had a stent fitted in my LAD in 2016, and I'm on many medications including Atorvastatin, Clopidogrel, Lansoprazole, Felodipine and also my Levothyroxine for Hypothroidism lol, my Atorvastatin that I have taken for 3 years now is only 10mg but over the last year it has been troublesome but Cholesterol level has been round 4.0, now I only take them every other day and last reading was 3.4, just think 80mg is high actually, just my opinion... Oh and I am 71 years of age... All the best

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I expect some of you are already familiar with the name Ivor Cummins.

His research and podcast presentations are (IMO ) easy to understand and quite enlightening. This one clarifies some of the confusion over cholestrol .

He also has several other podcasts about heart disease / statins / diet etc

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If you don't want to take statins, take Brazil buts. Brazil nuts work as well as statins with no side effects.

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Cholesterol is produced by your liver not by what you eat. The statins are life saving drugs . Better to have a few aches than blocked arteries !

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