High cholesterol...yet again! - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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High cholesterol...yet again!

Wightbaby profile image
26 Replies

My cholesterol has stuck stubbornly around 5...despite me trying everything to get it lower! Diet/exercise etc etc.

My latest attempt is, since June I have

1) had my morning porridge made with water only. 2) cut out pm smoothie coz of sugar content 3) just have a cuppa or skinny soup for lunch, with a chunk of Bread spread with Benecol.

I volunteer at a charity warehouse 2 days a week, so have quite an active lifestyle (not a couch potato). I have now lost nearly half a stone in weight, so I am barely 8 and a half stone. At 5' 7" that is not good.....I am always hungry and a diet of deprivation and abstinence is making me miserable

My total chol today was 5.48 (HDL 1.49/LDL 3.5) I really don't want to take statins because of the side effects, but.........!

I am 66, have AF which has been permanent for 4 years. I realise there are a lot of folk a lot worse off than me!

26 Replies
Gail1967 profile image

I have no side effects with statins - I know that’s not everyone’s experience but may be worth a go if it helps

NorthantsSteve profile image

I have taken statins since my heart attack 3 years ago with no side effects. Research shows that side effects are over reported and in the cases where they are experienced can be rapidly reduced by stopping or changing the type of statin.

Lezzers profile image

My husband has been on statins for 15+ years & he's never had any side effects. It is really only a very small number of people who do have side effects but it makes for better media to only acknowledge the few! Why not try them, you may well find you're one of the very many who doesn't have any issues with them

Ader42 profile image
Ader42 in reply to Lezzers

Many people are quick to shout when they have a negative experience but relatively few leave good reviews of anything. So there’s often a negative bias to everything from TVs to medicines. But yes, the media love a good story, one week product X is good for you, a week later it’s deemed bad. Or vice versa.

I reluctantly started statins 2 yr ago, no problems yet. I have a hereditary high cholesterol issue, cannot remember name of it but was told that was why I couldnt get it down on my own

MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star in reply to

I imagine you are referring to Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. FH is an inherited condition which can lead to very high cholesterol levels. It's passed down through families.

in reply to MichaelJH

Yes thats it. Thanks!

Heythrop51 profile image

I started the Mediterranean diet (with limited carbs as pre-diabetic) with a statin. No side effects and everything (weight, BP, cholesterol and HbA1c) all going the right way. Don't believe the internet expurts!

Ader42 profile image

Statins will reduce your cholesterol for sure. My total cholesterol went from 7 down to 3.7 in 10 days with Atorvastatin. You could always go on a statin for a month to get it down and then come off the statin and see if your cholesterol stays down?

If you want to avoid statins, it’s known that it’s carbs that increase Triglycerides which in turn increases sdLDL (one bad kind of LDL). So kick the bread habit and eat smoked salmon, avocado and nuts.

Ader42 profile image
Ader42 in reply to Ader42

I just want to add, your TC:HDL ratio is below 3.7 (that is close to the optimum level of 3.5) and your HDL is nice and high so I would not be worried about my cholesterol if I was you.

Wightbaby profile image
Wightbaby in reply to Ader42

Wow!......thats the one I have here! 10mg per day

Read the bumpf included in the packet and it went straight back in the box!!!........but I ought to give it a try and it doesn't agree with me...stop!

Ader42 profile image
Ader42 in reply to Wightbaby

For what it’s worth, my dose is 80mg a day

Wightbaby profile image
Wightbaby in reply to Ader42


GracieOS profile image

My cholesterol is very similar to yours and I was told not to worry about it as the balance between 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol was OK. No advice to alter diet or go on statins. My BP is in the elevated range but not 'high'. Maybe I've been wrongly advised?

Calliope153 profile image

Add some walnut halves, a couple of Brazil nuts, a spoonful of ground flaxseed and a sliced banana to your morning porridge. Make said porridge with skimmed milk. It will make you feel full for longer and those ingredients are good for keeping arteries clear.I can send you a recipe for guilt free muffins if you would like one. I have taken statins since my heart attack (two years ago) and not had any side effects from them. 3.75 cholesterol for me since I altered diet and took statins.

Wightbaby profile image
Wightbaby in reply to Calliope153

Yes please to the muffin recipe.....we all need treats!

Rayros21 profile image

I have been on statins for just over six weeks now following a heart attack and heart surgery and no ill effects so far. I've also made some drastic changes to my diet, cutting out sugar and fatty food as far as possible and am sticking to more fruit, vegetables, wholemeal bread etc. I'm gradually building up on the exercise front but on the whole I have adapted well to all the changes I have been through. Maybe speak to a nutritionist about your diet and also give statins a try. Wishing you all the best.

Hi Wightbaby,

You have done an excellent experiment on your body which confirms that homeostasis is up and running for you.

Your liver is producing much of your cholesterol (about 75%) and your excellent feedback mechanisms are maintaining this level at around 5. You have ingested less cholesterol so your liver sprang into action and made more. Your brain makes its own cholesterol.

If you and your medical practitioner(s) are concerned that a level of 5 is too high then it is highly unlikely that you will do much to lower this by trying to fool your liver through dietary changes.

But what do I know?

Best wishes and good health,


Wightbaby profile image
Wightbaby in reply to

Thanks for your reply......I worked for the NHS for 9 years but didn't have a clue what "homeostatis" meant...so I had to look it up. Most interesting!

marypw profile image

Not everyone has side effects on statins - I don't and my husband doesn't. If one doesn't agree with you, there are several different ones to try. Good luck!

jimmyq profile image

Brazil nuts can lower cholesterol: healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

NYA2019 profile image

I've been on Atorvastatin 80mg for almost a year with no side effects. I suggest you speak to your doctor about the options and try the statin, if you have side effects you can always change to another one off the statin. Remember some side effects will dissipate after a few weeks.

Don't be too aggressive with your diet your BMI (nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-we... looks to be at the bottom end of healthy. Eat what you want but just take smaller portions. Eat more pulses, lentils, chickpeas, etc. Less red meat more fish and lots of fresh fruit. I was told to avoid fat that is solid at room temperature.

Good luck with the Statin and the diet

Wightbaby profile image
Wightbaby in reply to NYA2019

Thanks, and you are definitely right about the BMI, I was told that, BEFORE I lost the half stone!

Incidentally, have not eaten red meat for over 30 years.......I eat lots of chicken and oily fish and a banana, apple and pear EVERY day...

probably too partial to biscuits, but a max of 3 a day!! ; )

Rhinet34 profile image

I don’t class your level as high , I take 80 mg statins after a HA last year and mines only just below yours 4.9 , I watch what I eat also but that’s where it stays . I’ve had no problems on statins , but I did resist them for years till I had no choice , I think your doing great , that’s a good number ..

Spetses profile image

Other things you can do is make sure your getting enough healthy cats ,enough fibre in your diet ,if you smoke stop & cut back on alcohol all of these can effect your cholesterol but I honestly think your levels are pretty good ,also hereditary factors can come into play this may be your body's normal range not everyone is textbook

mistymolly profile image

You should try the statins. You can always stop! My mother is 91. Her cholesterol has always been dangerously high - around 8. She can't take most medication without feeling very ill so shes taking no statins. She eats well but has at least two treats every day. Makes me wonder.

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