Is there agreement that Cholesterol s... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Is there agreement that Cholesterol should be low?

SkiMonday
SkiMonday
101 Replies

I've seen some discussions on here regarding the pros and cons of statins, Mediterranean diet, going vegan etc. Think I need to learn more before I can make any decision.

However, as a starting point, is there general agreement that having a low total cholesterol level is good for preventing a heart attack and remaining healthy?

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101 Replies
oldestnewest
Thatwasunexpected

Among the vast majority of the medical profession - practicing and research - yes.

Among a VERY small minority of doctors (about the same proportion who held out on "smoking isn't that bad" through the 80s) and some members of the public who chose to listen to those rather than the massive majority, no.

3 likes
series1

A low cholesterol level is not a guaranteed way to avoid heart problems. My levels have been low for many years ( with the help of Simvastatin) but I have still got HF. However, a low cholesterol level is a lot better than a high one, so if yours is high then statins are a good way to control it. Your doctor will advise which of the many types of statin would suit best. The way I look at it is statins give you much better odds of avoiding some cardiovascular problems but, of course, nothing is certain in life!

4 likes
Adaboo

There is a forum on cholesterol support on Health unlocked, you might get more info on there 🙂

4 likes
Slimforsummer

British Heart Foundation give all the up to date info on cholesterol levels and how to keep those levels at a healthy level in their free email course and also on their website. Hope this helps.

4 likes
Mac-beats

Hi, had a HA in 2015 and prior to that had high cholesterol so I’m sure it was a contributory factor, among others. Now follow a very low fat vegan diet which has enabled me to quarter my statin dose! Have been to many heart conferences and without fail have heard numerous eminent experts say statins are effective and safe drugs which can., in addition to cholesterol lowering, prevent arterial plaques from rupturing and causing heart attacks. So for me taking a statin and having a low fat vegan diet gives me confidence.

3 likes
StillConcerned

For me, it's not eating too much food that spikes my insulin that has helped me avoid heart disease.

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MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to StillConcerned

How do you know it prevented you developing heart disease. Not everybody develops it!

StillConcerned

I suppose the inference is that it is audacious to contemplate that I know what has kept me well by not following conventional advice, whilst being at high risk in terms of both my parents had heart disease (my Dad had two heart attacks by the age of 58, and Mam had type 2), half my siblings developed prediabetes, and my cousin died of a stroke at just 54?

Yet, when other people do go on to develop atherosclerosis, it's down to genes or they were just unlucky?

My bad.

2 likes
Lezzers

My dad had 2 heart attacks by age 59, the 2nd one being a major HA resulting in CA 3 times. My mum was also type 2 diabetes and had angina. My grandfather died of a HA in his 60's, my sister was born with a heart condition. I follow a healthy low fat, everything in moderation diet mostly, I don't have any heart issues. There is no evidence of any heart conditions in my husbands family but he had a major HA at 42 and his brother had a mild stroke aged 26 both of their diets & lifestyle were appalling. Luck of the draw? are we just all different?

3 likes
StillConcerned

Dear Lezzers, I was baptised last month, and it is evident that I still have lessons of humility to be learned; please forgive me.

I am genuinely glad you are well.

God bless you!

Lezzers

Thank you for your kind comment's. However, please don't feel you were lacking humility in any way, I was really only pointing out the parallels in our lifes and how our different diets have worked for each of us. I understand you lost your daughter recently, I'm very sorry for your loss. I hope you can find peace & acceptance in time.

2 likes
MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to StillConcerned

Thank you for the clarification. My father, his brother and their father all died prematurely of heart attacks. From what others told me years ago I suspect my grandfather was an undiagnosed Type II diabetic. I have Type I from my mother's side - a double whammy!

1 like
Ianc2
Ianc2
in reply to MichaelJH

Sugar and diabetes more than anything else?

1 like
Bicyclist

I think the data shows that of all the people who have heart attacks, more than half have normal levels of cholesterol. Your body needs and makes cholesterol, especially the brain. I wonder why station use and dementia has increased dramatically . SC is right it's the insulin that is the problem.

6 likes
JonathanH

It may depend on your age. There is evidence that, in the elderly, the higher your level of "bad" LDL, the longer you live. bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/6...

Of course, an association does not prove cause.

6 likes
JonathanH

By the way, statins have effects other than lowering cholesterol, including lowering inflammation and, I believe, improving endothelial function.

6 likes
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to JonathanH

Good points well made Jonathan.

There is research to suggest that statins reduce your risk of a stroke.

The endothelium is the inner lining of all our bloods vessels, the Cardio vascular system.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/2...

1 like
Henry20

Hi SkiMonday

I am not medically trained, but I'd like to point you to a thread at healthunlocked.com/bhf/post... which will take you to an article about questions on statins at

inews.co.uk/news/health/sta...

Norman Lamb has had side effects from statins and is raising their efficacy as an issue.

My own experience:-

Statins do seem to stabilise plaque from the reading I have made so far. But why has the original research data on the efficacy of statins been withheld from general scrutiny?

The body needs LDL and HDL - without them, we die, but what is the 'correct' level?

Talking to friends at rehab classes, phase4, some have had side effects, just as I have. I have stopped taking statins for a trial period, which I agreed with my doctor. Also, why does my doctor say that he has had similar conversations to the one he has had with me many times?

I also know a retired pharmacist who was told to take statins and this was totally refused?

I could go on, but I don't believe that would help you as the decision about drugs you take must be for you and your medical advisors.

I would like to suggest that taking/not taking statins is a decision that can be revisited.

You might like to read up on the subject as many have done (whilst taking statins) and make your own mind up.

A thought (or two)- I am wary of taking drugs for life because there can be cumulative effects. Also, as I now count as elderly, there are so many life threatening issues, it can be next to impossible to really understand cause and effect.

I take drugs to prolong my life, but where statins are concerned, this fundamental point seems to sometimes get lost.

Good luck

Henry

9 likes
benjijen
benjijen
in reply to Henry20

I hope that the investigation into peer reviewing of statins doesn't take long. For pharmaceutical companies to do the research is fine but we have no idea of what the raw data actually showed. It will be very interesting but I bet there will still be those that refuse to believe any outcome and blindly follow current guidelines - that's entirely up to them. I halved my statins due to muscle pain and feel much better for that as I can exercise properly now.

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autumnsonnet

It has already been clear that some people i.e. mostly "elderly "people, who never needed the drug were prescribed unnecessarily.

Statin as anti-inflammatory. If it was, why would that cause muscle pain, a contradictory side effect in some men/women? OK, "it is anti-inflammatory, but you'll get other issues in return".

Statin is probably a lifesaver for a certain group of people, who "Need" it.

But it should not be "Mass Prescribed" with financial incentives to GPs, who are already getting paid well.

7 likes
Henry20

From your post:

"Statin is probably a lifesaver for a certain group of people, who "Need" it. "

I totally agree, but I cannot get anyone to define that group who do "Need" it.

It seems easier to see who may not need it - eg the elderly, as mentioned above in another post by JonathanH. The link is worth reading.

Henry

1 like
Henry20
Henry20
in reply to benjijen

Sadly, I doubt it will be quick; I also wonder how clear cut an answers/information will be. I suspect that we all need to do our own research and form our own opinion.

The answers almost certainly be based on the statistics of the outcome for all those taking any particular pill. Given that there are a number of different statins (different chemical formulas) in use, there could be variation just because of that fact.

We, too, are all very different in our response to drugs. The trial regimes don't seem, in general, to try to identify the difference in performance due to differences in all of us.

So there are no guarantees.

Hope that makes sense ....

2 likes
Speakeazi
Speakeazi
in reply to Henry20

Am I being old fashioned to expect that consultants who have trained for over 10 years might have a better understanding of research and how valid any given study is?

That’s not to say I shouldn’t raise research items with her, but I do think they know more than me.

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Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Speakeazi

It's about shared discision making.

Which is how the younger generation are now encouraged to practice along with respecting the role of the expert patient.

Even the GMC's guide to good medical practice expects doctors to practice this way.

I always email my Cardiologist of 7 years before an appointment and include any recent research articles which he reads.

I take my list of questions which he frequently tries to pinch off me as he is so keen to look at them.

When I am in hospital at least once a year it is quite often the younger doctors who know more about my condition than the older more mature Consultants.

They may have taken time out to become research fellows to complete a PhD which involves them carrying out research themselves and being published. Their research is hot off the press.

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benjijen
benjijen
in reply to Milkfairy

I agree. It must be very difficult to keep up with the latest research but I would have hoped they would listen. My GP doesn't like me anymore as he was adamant it wasn't statins causing my muscle problems - I'm now satisfied it was.

1 like
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to benjijen

The art of actively listening much undervalued I agree.

All care is offered it is not a compulsory. You need to able to have the opportunity to discuss it with an engaged doctor so you can truly make an informed choice.

A challenge with a 10 min appointment a bit like speed dating😂

3 likes
seasider18
seasider18
in reply to benjijen

An orthopaedic consultant I saw said that practically any drug can cause muscle pain.

Henry20
Henry20
in reply to Speakeazi

I see that Milkfairy has given an answer, but I would like to expand on what he has written from a slightly different perspective. Sorry it's so long, but you make an excellent point which I feel deserves a serious answer; (this sentence added when I had finished typing).

Most importantly, the medical profession and those involved with the professionals, like consultants, have to follow accept medical practice and ideas although they have a degree of latitude. To do otherwise causes problems. We all post here on a BHF website and I am very grateful to be able to do that. I therefore have to take care not to abuse that privilege. I am only prepared to go so far in expressing my views. I am also conscious that I have no control over who reads any of my posts and the conclusions they draw and their subsequent actions. Therefore I must take care to do no harm.

But, consider the role of experts. In the late 19th century physicists believed they knew pretty well all there was to know and were wondering where their research could go. Everything looked as if it was wrapped up. Then, along came Einstein. All the ideas that were taught suddenly were shown to be incomplete, partially true; the experts were caught flat-footed.

Consider also the history of stomach ulcers. When I was young, ulcers needed an operation and it was thought they were caused by stress. But one man thought differently - that they were caused by a bacterium and he was right, the experts were wrong, totally wrong.

I have a researchy, non-medical background. I was taught to question pretty well everything (it makes me hell to live with sometimes, I'm sure). So, I continue to question even though I am retired.

At the start of my heart problems, I did what I was told by the doctors, but I also started reading. I now have questions about my treatment, that's all. Yes, the experts undoubtedly know more than I do and have a vast amount of experience, but that surely means that any queries I have should be answered easily by them. My queries, however, did not elicit the firm answers I expected.

Research needs transparency to work; everyone needs to be able to read ALL the relevant information and see all the associated data. And that is what worries me so much about statins - it apparently seems from what I have read that one of the pieces of work done in the past is not freely available to other experts. I have no way of knowing if this is true, but it worries me.

So that now leaves me glad that I could take statins when I first had problems and with the knowledge I currently have, I would do the same again. But, now about a year on, I am thinking about the rest of my life. Will I be taking statins for the next 20-30 years (being hopelessly optimistic) and could statin use over such a time scale cause me other health issues.

CAD may be controlled, but what effect does having low cholesterol for so long have on my body? My cholesterol went from about 6.4 down to less than 2 where it seemed to have settled. What I read made me think that, being over 70, I might be opening the door to other medical issues in a few years time.

And that is the question to which I have had no really convincing answer. It is a topic on which it seems there is research on-going. So what to do? Statins were giving me side effects that were getting worse. I had to choose. I chose to stop for a time in the firm knowledge that I could always go back on them should the need arise. Others might have acted differently.

Just a thought though, to end this rather long piece, it is me swallowing the pills, not the consultant.

5 likes
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Henry20

Excellent points eloquently made.

It's your body and you are best placed to make decisions about your quality of life nobody else.

I wish researchers were compeled to produce plain English summaries of their research articles to help us meer mortals understand the research more fully.

1 like
Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Henry20

I question it all too, very regularly. I wish I had the confidence to just take whatever pills I’ve been given. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately. . I don’t. I do hope it will become clearer soon for everyone as it’s such a worry.

2 likes
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Adaboo

I agree, it would be very helpful if MP Norman Lamb's request for a review into statins takes place to help us all make an informed choice

I suggest everyone makes their wish for transparency in research known to the

Health Research Authority which is holding a public consultation . You need to be quick only 4 days left!

hra.nhs.uk/about-us/news-up...

2 likes
Henry20
Henry20
in reply to Milkfairy

Sorry Milkfairy, just followed your link and the survey is closed.

Just wish I had known about it earlier.

Henry

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Henry20

Thanks for telling me .

I am sorry that the closing date has passed

I did complete the survey and said that I thought that all data etc from research should be made available to the public.

2 likes
autumnsonnet

Maybe, "they" saw your post. . .

(and closed it sooner)?

Paranoid?

Not sure. . . :)

Henry20
Henry20
in reply to Adaboo

Adaboo

Yes, I worry too about the decisions I have made. I also know it would be all too easy to flip-flop; taking pills / not taking pills as the mood takes me. I suspect that would be the worst of all worlds.

Now I am not taking statins, every twinge is sensed, memorized and effectively digested to the extent that I have a sort of emotional indigestion about the whole affair. At night, the doubts seem to breed, but somehow each morning I leave the atorvostatin on the medicine shelf, growing older and I am hoping they may reach their sell by date. But I still don't know if it is the right decision

There is some logic behind it. I re-read the articles, and the chapters in the books I have bought and then the referenced papers that I have been able to download. It helps, but it doesn't remove that nagging doubt, but it does keep me on m chosen path. I hope I will keep to it but that GTN spray is still there in my pocket waiting to be called up, like an Army reservist, called into action when things get desperate.

But there is also this website. I don't know what happens, but when I am here, reading or writing (it doesn't matter which), I feel calmer. It helps, it helps straighten out my thoughts writing this and reading about other people's experiences, thoughts and ideas.

Thanks to all of you

Henry

4 likes
Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Henry20

I don't know if it helps you to know but my husband has been on statins for 15+ years & he has no side effects. He also has regular blood tests which show that he has no damage or issues with his liver.

2 likes
Henry20
Henry20
in reply to Lezzers

Yes, it all helps - thanks for your post. I'm delighted to hear about people that its all working for.

Good luck to you both for the future

Henry

1 like
Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Henry20

Henry,

I don’t think anything removes that nagging doubt, whether you’re taking the pills or letting them sit on the shelf untouched. I too choose to leave mine on the shelf. I’ve changed my lifestyle to get all my blood results optimal but of course we can never truly know how healthy we really are inside.

There are always shadows following us around once we have health issues. No one pill will destroy that shadow for me.

2 likes
Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Adaboo

With all due respect, I don't think anything will remove nagging doubts if those doubts are constantly being fed.

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Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Lezzers

The doubts re the pills will only go once full independent reviews are done.

1 like
Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Adaboo

I really do hope so

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Adaboo

Hi Adaboo

Would you be willing to share why you were advised to take statins?

How did you come to the decision that you didn't feel they were right for you?

Did you discuss this with the healthcare professional responsible for your Cardiology care.?

Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Milkfairy

I am not comfortable sharing personal stuff here, if anyone says anything against the norm they get made fun of, ridiculed and even reported!! So I’d rather not.

I have discussed cholesterol with 2 of my surgeons and they both told me that changing my lifestyle is more effective than statins , as cholesterol ( by itself) isn’t the cause of our diseases. One said. .

Firefighters are at every fire, but they don’t cause them

1 like
Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Adaboo

I completely understand why you want to keep your personal stuff private, but pleased be assured I don't think there's anyone on this site who would ridicule or make fun of your medical condition. I think most people post their medical condition as they're looking for advice & support. If ever you feel you you would like to take advantage of that help & support then I am certain you would get that.

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Lezzers

I agree with Lezzers,

I would hope the forum is a safe place to share our experiences and support each other without judgement.

We all have different approaches to how to live well with the challenges we face. I am often blown away by the dignity, generosity, kindness and resilience of everyone who contributes to the forum.

However I am not sure how I would feel if an individual without the shared experience of living with or being a carer of some one with a heart condition decided to post their particular beliefs about heart disease.

Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Milkfairy

I’ve seen too much judgement on here though! Too much “ ganging” up on folk who dare to express their opinion if it’s different. I’m sorry but it doesn’t feel safe to me.

I doubt anyone would have joined this forum if they weren’t as you say “ living with or caring for someone with a heart condition “ that would kind of strange, and I’m not sure why it would enter your head.

1 like
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Adaboo

Sadly Adaboo we have had occasions when this has happened.

I am sorry you feel the way you do.

Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Lezzers

Me and my medical condition are one though and now trust has been completely lost. I’m a counsellor by trade, I never expected support but I didn’t expect the judgements I’ve seen either. Not all aimed at me, but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

Now it’s a lovely day so I’m going for my usual 2/3 mile walk. Enjoy the sunshine everyone 🔆

2 likes
Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Adaboo

Enjoy your walk

1 like
Henry20
Henry20
in reply to Adaboo

Adaboo

Thanks for your comments.

This thread is, for me, emphasising the effects of CAD on the mind more than anything. It is a much ignored aspect, I think.

Henry

1 like
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Henry20

The BHF recently carried out a survey of Heart patients and they found half lived with anxiety or depression.

Living with a heart condition is challenging and sadly not all heart patients have access to a Cardiac psychologist to help them.

Our mental well being has parity with our physical well being.

Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Henry20

Henry, have you ever had or considered having counselling? Having a heart condition is very difficult to come to terms with & to accept. You are right the Dr's look after our hearts but don't take into account the effect it has on our minds & how vulnerable it makes us.

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Henry20

" Consider also the history of stomach ulcers. When I was young, ulcers needed an operation and it was thought they were caused by stress. But one man thought differently - that they were caused by a bacterium and he was right, the experts were wrong, totally wrong "

I've twice had a duodenal ulcer without having had H. Pylori. One time my doctor prescribed triple therapy just in case it had been missed. The cure actually gave me more problems than the actual ulcer.

My wife has had a long history of ulcers going back as far as 1961 that all have been caused by prescribed medications including an overnight stay in hospital this weekend. None of her several endoscopies found H. Pylori

2 likes
benjijen
benjijen
in reply to Henry20

Yes it does. I suspect that any other meds we are taking for extra ailments would also need to be taken into account.

1 like
ticking-ticker

I understand why we are prescribed medicine after a heart problem, what I find difficult is the next thing the patient does is to question the validity of this treatment in a forum and not directly with their doctor, especially when everyone is so different. If one cared to do their own research on Cholesterol and Statins their position would become clearer since there is a clear path between elevated levels of Cholesterol and artery blockage and that blockage going on to cause other devastating outcomes.

Yes diet is important however there is no quick fix since we are all different and I for one am not a fan of a Mediterranean diet. Surely the watchword is to eat sensibly and if you don't know how to, do your research and find a range of foods you like to eat.

Exercise is so emotive here, Some advocate the gymnasium, some running, some walking, some swimming but again the watchword is preferred choice. Do what you enjoy doing but don't think you have to kill yourself. A little exercise is also very good for you, if done regularly.

We all came to "our" heart condition through different paths, probably with a smattering of abuse (for ones health!) along the way. Our bodies are different, as is our weight, BMI, incentive and outlook on life. There are a "generalisation" of drugs given to treat heart matters, but some don't work, some work badly and some are extremely good.

Take your medicine, if you get side effects, talk to your doctor and/or your pharmacist and do some research or read the paper that comes with the drugs and see if there are any associated areas of concern, so that whoever you choose to see will see you have valid concerns.

Good luck and enjoy your new found health.

3 likes
autumnsonnet

You are basically saying, this is called, "Individuality".

"We all need to listen to what our body says."

Our body is far more intricate than "medicine" made out to look like.

Eventually, NHS will have to provide certain testing methods that are available abroad for a much closer analysis/evaluation that current ones fall flat.

Genetics, too. There's been a concept for personalised medicine: some commercial DNA testing has been available for years, not that I am saying these would be totally "valid".

There are people who had high "bad" cholesterol and lived up to 102/105. No heart disease, no statin.

So how do we account these people?

1 like
ticking-ticker

Well then, let me leave you with this conundrum: - For many many years, and certainly when my wife was a child she used to love bread and dripping, sugar sandwiches, treacle sponge, never anything grilled, jam on Yorkshire puddings or even blackberry vinegar. Then there was full fat milk, cod liver oil and all the other sorts of things that people had in the 1940s 50s. They used to get a bottle of pop on a Friday as a treat and pocket money if they wanted any sweets. We now live in a world of blame - however the reality of this blame is a bit closer to home than one might think. ADHD and a whole raft of childhood illnesses are now the accepted way of life, however hyper activity could be due to the amount of pop children drink, certainly something is rotting their teeth prematurely. It used to be said that Granny knew best - children are lucky today to have a Granny, let alone a mum and dad. Then along comes weight and then obesity and then all the illnesses that entails. Just have a look at the figures of the public in general when you see people on the news - its really quite sobering to think what we will be like as a race in 100 years.

Most of the problems of today are because we are too rich, have more to spend on food and take away that ever before where children and young adults cannot cook for themselves, unless of course the sound ding is in the recipe. Where has common sense gone, being advised on ones diet by the doctor or high cholesterol and come away with - I don't believe it and those pills I only had them for a few days, made me so ill, so went to McDonalds to cheer myself up.

If I go to the doctor and he tells me to jump, I would never dare to ask why but rather "How High" and do what they told me to do. They have spend a good portion of their lives dedicated to learning and to help make people better. HectorsDad in the next post got it spot on with his view of the situation and that most drugs will probably make one feel different, after all they are trying to make us well and may well make us feel queezy.

So much illness could be avoided if people just stood back and evaluated their lives and how things might pan out for them if they don't. We are all in charge of our own destiny to a great extent and to be fair, I do believe there is a great deal of truth when someone says that God helps those that help themselves! End of rant - sorry.

2 likes
autumnsonnet

We are lucky to have this hub. . . please do rant away! :D

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StillConcerned

The caveat to this is that the poly-pill is intended for developing nations. They don't usually have the problem of 'being too rich' as you describe, though they do get the diseases of modern commerce from adopting cheap flour, sugar and refined oils.

Is this ethical? Slavery has been abolished; should poorer nations be exploited for what amounts to pharmaceutical experimentation, in the guise that it is in their own best interests for their own health?

4 likes
autumnsonnet

As for DNA test, it's now used at the main research centres attached to NHS hospitals up and down the country. I have had a few. We're no longer living in 1980s.

It's no longer "expensive".

I had my own commercial DNA testing kit several years ago, not so reliable, they say.

But the medication profile was useful.

However, I must add that my family has several members of having "rare conditions".

If you are constitutionally robust and well all your life, then

I do see that there was no need for extra worries.

It's interesting to read your post, thank you, ticking-ticker.

Hydra

From your post 'children are lucky today to have a Granny, let alone two parents of the opposite sex'.

I do not feel this homophobic comment is acceptable and needs to be challenged. Please don't waste precious time trying to justify your view.

3 likes
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Hydra

I agree

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ticking-ticker

And you as a "Heart Star" should know better than to be dragged into pointless criticism of another, where there is obviously no malice what so ever intended. But again, it is not the first time you have had a nasty word towards me. Are you really so anti new people that contribute - or is it something else perhaps?

ticking-ticker

Homophobia. : irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.

You have read something into that statement that has nothing to do with homophobia and perhaps it is yourself that has the problem and have noticed that a small group of people will try and pick holes in anything to make trouble for someone. Instead of your attempts to antagonise and disrespect another, if you have a genuine gripe, then perhaps the thing to do is to make your feelings known to the Administration.

I am also a member of other groups and I can say without hesitation, this group has a very bitter and twisted core that does wear thin occasionally - especially when I am only trying to do my best for others.

Hydra

I am new here and not in any way out to put anyone down. But I fail to see what your comment on the gender of a child's parents has to do with the likelihood that that child will grow up to have heart disease?

I'm tired of people becoming defensive when they are called out.

3 likes
ticking-ticker

Actually I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is that everyone is different and therefore will have different reactions to some medication where a discussion with the doctor is appropriate to discuss alternatives. I totally accept your comments that we are all different, however there is no economical way of testing someones DNA and run tests to decide what drugs might be appropriate for say, statins. Prior to my HA and because I am diabetic I was on 40mg Atorvastin for cholesterol and after the HA the hospital upped the dose to 60mg. Not long afterwards I became aware of pain in my hip joints that appeared to get worse. I went to the doctor where we discussed this unjustified pain. I was told Atorvastin can cause joint pain and suggested we try lowering the dose to the pre HA amount. Hey presto - pain goes. Medication really is trial and error and with the best will in the world, sometimes needs tweaking to get just right.

2 likes
HectorsDad

There has been a lot of sensationalist reporting on statins, which is really not helpful. Almost all the ‘anti’ opinions relate to, or draw data from, the effects of ‘blanket prescribing’, and very little to treating people with heart disease etc, so upsetting and irrelevant to most of us on here.

The ‘gain-sayers’ are probably tilting at windmills, but let them tilt- if they find giants the medical profession will respond very quickly.

All drugs have side effects for some, so ‘don’t take it because uncle Fred started limping’ is ignorable advice (sorry if I offend- just being rational). If it hurts you, and you are SURE it is the statins, then ask questions- otherwise keep taking the pills.

The most important thing, imho, is to work with what your consultant says (that might be via your G.P.). His advice on statins will be part of a strategy that you must follow and have faith in. You are far more likely to be among the thousands that this works for, than the 5 who it doesn’t ( even if they shout louder).

3 likes
NorthantsSteve

I thought this was an interesting read. health.harvard.edu/heart-he...

1 like
Jack2019
Jack2019
in reply to HectorsDad

If the Statin Pharmaceutical Company's are legally and willfully holding back trial data, one should be skeptical, you can't make an informed decision if the information available to everyone, including Doctor's and Educators , is incomplete. Release all the data obtained from inception to the present, to unaffiliated peer review. We live in a age of information, gone are the days of innocence, in reality we must be our own advocates.

3 likes
shwills

I have read all the replies and they are very interesting. I have refused to take statins. I have SVT and AF. Heart block and suspected heart failure, echo in a few weeks to know either way

My GP surgery said I should take statins. I asked my Heart consultant and he said no need, therefore 2 different opinions!!

I have low BMI and good cholesterol 4.1 which most is good Cholesterol.

Look at the drug companies how much they are making out of statins, all drugs in fact.!!

I chose not to take statins as I don’t want the side effects

My main think is that no one knows the long term damage they may do to you, look at other drugs that are forced on us and later on the health professionals then tell us they have now decided that the side effects are worse or more

We are in an age of some much information but so much that is kept from us as well

This is my thoughts on statins

2 likes
HectorsDad
HectorsDad
in reply to shwills

Your individual circumstances and personal choice are important and should be recognised and respected. Given your details, I can’t see why you would have been prescribed them, he says, speaking as an ex-musician turned theologian. Doesn’t sound like your surgery’s finestbhpir

However, not all your logic stands up. There has been quite a lot of research into long term use: agreed that some has not yet been released, which might be suspicious or might be protecting reputation because it showed bad testing procedure, rather than anything about the drug. Either way, it would be comforting to know.

As for the money side, there is a lot of old and false information being repeated. Atorvastatin, for example, came out of patent in 2011 and the NHS aims to pay £1.67 for a month course, regardless of strength. There is very little money made on this. (It’s different in the US, where companies can push branded versions, and there is no price cap).

2 likes
Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to HectorsDad

Atorvastatin and simvastatin were out of patent I thought and are a lot cheaper now. . But there are over 8 million people on statins in the UK so still a lot of money.

They are now talking about a 6 monthly injection? And a polypill? Both even more confusing.

2 likes
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Adaboo

Why confusing'?

How do you feel those with Familial hypercholesterolemia should be helped to reduce their higher than normal cholesterol levels?

Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Milkfairy

It’s confusing who they are aiming these at and what exactly is in them.

My aunt had FH and was given drugs to control it, I can’t remember the name though, it was only discovered when she was 85 she died last very suddenly of cancer so I can’t ask her.

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Adaboo

Sorry to hear that.

As Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) runs in families have you and other close family members considered asking to be checked too?

bhf.org.uk/informationsuppo...

1 like
Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Milkfairy

I don’t have it thankfully

Londinium
Londinium
in reply to Adaboo

Going by that link, I'd be diagnosed with FH. And then I'd be prescribed statins. But there's little point in me being diagnosed with FH if I choose not to take statins

1 like
Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Adaboo

I believe the poly pill is targeted at developing countries where medical care and a healthy lifestyle is minimal, the belief being something is better than nothing at all. I don't believe it's intended for the UK etc. It will be interesting to see how a 6 monthly injection will work & who will be the intended targets...maybe it'll only be rolled out to those who already tolerate statins well.

1 like
seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Lezzers

Imperial College (Professor Thom )were developing a poly pill when I was attending there some years ago.

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/...

2 likes
Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to seasider18

Interesting read, thank you

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Lezzers

In my case he prescribed Atorvastatin and my GP immediately commented that it was an expensive drug :-)

Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to seasider18

Yes my husband is on that and I thought it was an expensive drug, but previous comments say not, so I don't really know

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Lezzers

It was back then but like many others the patent may have run out if so there will be generic versions.

I used to take Securon S.R. a slow release version of Verapamil. Eventually my GP just prescribed Verapamil Modified Release and every month a different makers version from remote parts of Europe.

1 like
seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Lezzers

Had I not applied to get on to Professor Thom's new BP trials for renal denervation in 2011 my Aortic Stenosis would probably have continued unnoticed. When found my valve was already 76% closed and I was still not symptomatic.

Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to seasider18

Wow, sometimes luck is on our side. I worked with someone who applied to participate in all types of trials regardless of what they would be for. We asked if she never worried that she could be harming herself and her reply was no because while she was taking part she was getting the best medical care and all the most up to date health checks and she got paid for it, not that that was her motivation.

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Lezzers

I did not get on his trial as he said that my blood pressure was not consistently high enough. I once applied for a trial of a new BP drug but did not proceed as you had to stop your other medications for two months to get them out of your system.

I had my prostate surgery done during trials of the Green Light laser procedure for BPH at The Freeman in Newcastle in 2004.

Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to seasider18

The only trial my husband has been asked to participate in was for people who were on medication to stop fluid from entering their lungs. The hospital put his name forward but because it would involve MRI scans anyone with an ICD couldn't take part. My husband has an ICD so was slightly worried the hospital put his name forward!! He's currently taking part in research regarding tiredness in those who have a chronic medical condition but that's just paper based

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Lezzers

I was told that I needed an MRI the week before my pacemaker was fitted but could not fit it in. I did get an MRI compatible one but many hospitals did not have a protocol for doing my one. It was actually three years before they did and I had long since had one privately elsewhere.

1 like
Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Lezzers

I’ve not read anywhere that the pill is not intended for UK use. I think it’s very much intended for global use to prescribe to over 55’s.

Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Adaboo

Hope this helps put your mind at rest bbc.co.uk/news/amp/health-4...

1 like
Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Lezzers

Thanks, Yes I’d read that, I do wonder why it would be difficult to get licensed in the UK though 🤔

1 like
Lezzers
Lezzers
in reply to Adaboo

I think it's simply because it's not something that would benefit the UK who are more advanced in preventative measures and healthy lifestyles.

Prada47

This thread is quite interesting not about Statins per sae but about how we approach/attitude to Medication we have been prescribed. I am starting a thread/discussion on what Medication anyone has been prescribed and then changed or stopped and why, with or without any reaction.

Medication Changes is just trying to see what's going on with Heart Meds

1 like
Goldfish7

There would appear to be a request for an enquiry into cholesterols effects on the heart and statin use going to parliament backed by a number of reputable medics including BMJ editor (I think). Unfortunately I have not noted down references.

There also appears to be a growing online library of heart specialists/public health specialists questioning both the use of statins and the link between high cholesterol levels and heart attacks. There are YouTube videos of reputable discussions that have taken place between 'experts' that are easily accessible - one of the videos is - 'Big Food and Big Pharma: Killing for Profit?' which is a European parliament discussion of this issue involving heart specialists, public health specialists and data analysers - very interesting re why we are still pursuing cholesterol as a main driver to heart health when much research discounts it, Again diabetes, pre diabetes and sugar appear to be being seen as a likely contributor to cardiovascular problems.

It appears that there are a number of major issues with how research is conducted, open access to drug research findings and how research is often wrongly interpreted. The video makes a good case for putting more transparent frameworks on these areas, teaching medics how to interpret data more effectively and how to ensure that those with vested financial interests don't get to take part in supposedly neutral bodies tasked with making public health decisions.

3 likes
Adaboo
Adaboo
in reply to Goldfish7

I find it worrying that it has to be a government directive to get transparency on the studies of statins. Don’t they realise that’s why so many people won’t take them.

If they are such a lifesaver why not let everyone see that and kill the conspiracy 🤔

2 likes
Londinium
Londinium
in reply to Adaboo

We demand transparency.

1 like
Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Londinium

Then perhaps maybe make your views known to the Health Research Authority?

That is their role to ensure medical research and the dissemination of the results is transparent.

hra.nhs.uk/

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