High Cholesterol : Hi, anyone else... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

29,444 members19,290 posts

High Cholesterol

Knic profile image

Hi, anyone else experience high cholesterol despite having a healthy weight/diet? I’m 35 and do not smoke.

Currently feeling so anxious, my cholesterol is high 5.7 😢 the nurse further scared me by saying how this increases my risk of heart attack and stroke. I do experience chest heaviness and palpitations and I am worried it’s connected.

I have an appointment next week for a blood pressure test, however I’m really worrying now 😞 after the BP then they’ll decide what to do.

Any advice/experience greatly appreciated.

76 Replies

Hi

Yea I do , like me you eat heathy and we think we will be fine by doing so but as I learnt after high cholesterol due to too many chicken salads, there’s certain foods that bring your levels down .

Just google best foods to lower cholesterol and just tweak your food

You will be fine I promise you

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to Dauris

Chicken salads?

It's the mayo

5.7 I would not say is dangerously high. But probably needs advice from your GP it may be hereditary. And not sure where you are but a nurse should not be diagnosing or scaring you he or she should have referred you to GP.

Ignore google and speak to professional

Gil

I wonder why the nurse couldn't take it then and there?

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to lateguitarist

They rang with results, and can’t fit me in for a BP appt until next week.

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to gilreid1

Thank you, she said that they’ll decide after my appointment next week if statins are needed or not - I would rather try other ways to bring it down before having to take tablets, but will see what they say.

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to Knic

Could I just ask, why do you say "having to take tablets"? They are keeping probably millions of people alive, or preventing them from becoming worse. It is not a weakness.

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to lateguitarist

I understand that, but if there are other ways to try and remedy this - then I would prefer to try those first.

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to Knic

Fair enough but I am tempted to say good luck with that! On the blood pressure front, have you considered buying yourself an upper arm band type monitor? They are not expensive and loads of people use them on a regular basis. When you go for your appointment you will no doubt be nervous and maybe have a higher than normal reading? If you do it at home you will be able to let them have your own results if you take it along with you, that's what I do (you get a free calibration service as well 👍)

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to lateguitarist

That’s a very good point, thank you.

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to Knic

I think Boots were doing an Omron one for 20 quid, they are a good make. Don't use a wristband type watch, they are not accurate enough.

Good advice…mine has been very useful in self monitoring.

… but statins have serious side effects so it needs a balanced decision. All meds have side effects and so caution is wise.

You can't make general statements like that about them. Compared to the number of people who take them, serious side effects are very rare. Admittedly they are dished out like smarties to pots of people who don't need them, but for those that do they are life savers.

Well before my bypass all my bloods and ecg’s came back normal and pain was considered muscular! I cannot take statins but if I had I wondered how dangerously low my cholesterol would have been !

Could you expand on what you mean by dangerously low? What type of Cholesterol are you referring to?

Very low cholesterol - less than 40milligrams LDL could be increased risk of cancer , stroke, depression and so it goes on. If my level was considered ok - no need for statins - before my bypass , I question the correlation between cholesterol numbers and the onset of my heart problem. I am not saying my level would have been dangerously low but how low do you go to be just on the periphery of these values before the effects can be worrisome. That seems to be something of an uncertainty in that area

So what were your levels before the bypass?

I never bothered to ask. Just thought all was well together with my blood pressure and 6 ecg’s . It was only when a really astute cardio nurse noticed a slight - very - slight difference in my final ecg that started the ball rolling. I am however very concerned about the handing out of Statins to people over a certain age just as a precaution.

Sootycat profile image
Sootycat in reply to Soppybat

You are so right. I have now had 5 different lots of statins and violently allergic to them all. The last lot given in hospital and I had to have an emergency injection. I am now on ezetimide instead as I just cannot tolerate statins. Thousands can but I know several friends and relatives who cannot take them. Inherited high cholesterol is a problem as I follow a health diet and was vegetarian for 42 years.

Yes, for a very few people, as with ALL medication. We are talking generally here, you can't site isolated examples as reasons not to take them.

Hosers2 profile image
Hosers2 in reply to Sootycat

I know I cannot tolerate Simvistatin. I personally believe my taking statins for three years brought on the onset of Polymyalgia Rheumatica five years later. Same exact debilitating muscle and joint pains and seizure.

Hi

I had a heart attack and 2 stents and my cholesterol was 5.5 ( I was 46 and pretty healthy ) but after some genetic tests after the heart attack I found out I have faulty genes and my body has been producing med cholesterol since birth and that caused the blockage and heart attack , maybe talk to the doctor who can refer u to the lipids clinic to get some tests done , or does high cholesterol run in the family

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to Mattyvilla1874

Hi Matty, sorry to hear this I hope you’re doing well now?

My mum has high cholesterol diagnosed in her 50’s, also has a very healthy diet.

Can I ask what measures they take now to keep your cholesterol low please?

Mattyvilla1874 profile image
Mattyvilla1874 in reply to Knic

Hi Knic

I have completely changed my diet only eat red meat 2-3 days a week eat lots of fruit and vegetables and only eat whole meal bread , pasta rice etc and I’m on antorvastatin and ezetimibe to keep my cholesterol low , my dad had 1/2 faulty genes my mum had the same and I had the full set from them , my kids are being tested as well as my sister , but now I know about it I should be fine :)

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to Mattyvilla1874

That’s great, it sounds like you are being very well looked after and I’m glad you’re ok 😊

Mattyvilla1874 profile image
Mattyvilla1874 in reply to Knic

Yes the hospital has been superb , good luck in getting to the bottom of everything

Hello Matty,I'm on the same meds as yourself and I was wondering what your cholesterol level is now? The reason I'm asking is because I had blood work yesterday and my cholesterol is is now 4.2 and my doctor thinks it should be lower.

Cheers,

Paul

Hi Paul the consultant was more interested in my ldl cholesterol and that was 1.28 , he told me not to bother with all the yoghurt drinks etc as they won’t bring it down low enough and he seemed happy , I’m due another appointment but COVID has put paid to that

Thanks for the reply, MattyI'll get back in touch with my doctor after the weekend.

Good luck with your appointment and I hope you get it soon.

Cheers,

Paul

Have you had your thyroid function checked??????

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to chicolini

Yes, all was normal.

It’s very common to have a slightly high reading despite following the traditional “healthy diet” don’t worry yours is not massively high. I think it is beginning to come to light that reducing cholesterol rich foods makes little or no difference to the cholesterol in the blood in most cases. You are certainly not alone there. My cholesterol went up when I went on the extreme high fibre no fat diet. Dont worry if you go on statins it will most likely be a low dose so little or no side effects.

I was also diagnosed before 40 with higher cholesterol than you have now on a random insurance health check. I had a healthy diet, wasn’t overweight and exercised.

I decided I too didn’t want tablets so increased the exercise and gave up all red meat and hugely increased vegetables in my diet. I still have high cholesterol and I’m now on statins 18 years later.

Would it have been more sensible to accept statins as well as the other measures? I’ll never know. But I have not experienced any problems with the statins.

I would advise trying to add a decent length walk as many days a week as you can and really watching your saturated fat intake for your general heart health and to reassure yourself that you are doing the best you can.

However, do not beat yourself up about accepting statins, if your genes mean you are making too much cholesterol you probably aren’t going to be able to maintain a sufficiently draconian diet and exercise to outmanoeuvre them. My parents also both have high cholesterol and one of my sons, younger than you.

Do not let yourself be overwhelmed by the information. By knowing now you can take steps to make yourself as healthy as can be.

Read How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger and get all the information you can on heart healthy food and lifestyle.

Avoid fast foods, pizza, crisps, salted nuts, chips, ice cream etc Tell yourself it’s not worth eating these things. Eat a wholefood plants based diet. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grain and fresh stuff whenever you can.

You may enjoy the challenge of taking control and getting yourself as fit and healthy as you possible, and statins if and when the Dr recommends them will be an additional factor in your healthy life not the only tool to tackle the high cholesterol.

Hope you feel reassured by my experiences.

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to JeremiahObadiah

Thank you so much, so very helpful!

Hi I too had a severe ha in 2019 and 2 stents in and I already had one in so I now have 3 in all. Just had my yearly review with the nurse she rang me yes to discuss my results everything is bk and fine except she said my chloestorel was 5.2 .i thought it would ve been lower as I too eat a healthy diet and have been on 80 mgs of atorvastatin since my ha but she said yes still a tiny bit high but it she was nt overly concerned as it may have been something I d had in my diet that wk previous but it was certainly. Lower than it was wen I had my ha wen it was 6.5 my liver funion was raised and to be repeated in 3 wks. Also like someone else on here I ve never had any trouble on statins so finger s crossed that continues. Good luck and hope u get sorted one way or another

I don’t think you should worry at all. If you want to learn more read Dr Kendrick’s books, one of which is Statin Nation. Just be aware that puppets dance to Government pulling strings which are not always pulled in the direction of better health…

in reply to Soppybat

Hi, I have read A Statin Nation and read all the research links. The greed and dishonesty of the big pharmas is truly staggering. The truth may all come out one day. Not holding my breath!I particularly find exciting the research on vitamin K2 mk7.

I am taking it daily with vit d3.

Doctor does not object to any vitamin supplements but they all hate Dr Google. I must say I have found out more about my condition online because I have had zero after care.

Just patted on the head and sent home with a big bag of pills after HA.

Soppybat profile image
Soppybat in reply to

Same here with the exception of Cardiac Rehab Team who were very helpful nevertheless they are all paid puppets. Great to meet a like minded individual taking responsibility for our health! My HA occurred in Greece whilst on holiday, though Greek hospitals are not as clean, I had every confidence in their care and knowledge….they are not the financialLY, pin striped hierarchy led puppets of the NHS. They care!

in reply to Soppybat

I have finally managed to get an appointment for my second echocardiogram exactly one year to the day from my HA. Taken a lot of phone calls to finally talk to my cardiologist, who I have never met. NHS isn't good in Wales although I have to praise the surgeon and staff at the University hospital in Cardiff who were fantastic.

What do you mean they are all paid puppets? Could you just explain who you are referring to exactly?

We are still waiting for you to explain what seems to be a fairly appalling comment regarding our NHS, maybe you could explain what you mean? Seems rather odd that you seem to favour Greek Doctors who seemed to recommend drinking red wine as a cure according to your last post?

Oh god not this rubbish again

That's our family curse. You need to get on top of that with medication asap.

Sorry to be so blunt, but there is probably not much you can do without statins if you are already eating relatively healthfully. There are genetic markers that can show if you're at risk because of genetics.

Hosers2 profile image
Hosers2 in reply to pasigal

It is my family curse as well.

Mom had extremely high cholesterol (245 -US). Lived to 92 without taking any statins.

Dad had a 230 - US level of bad cholesterol. Drove a car to 94 and died six months later. Never took a statin drug.

Daughter is 45. She is a triathlete and IronMan participant. Less than 3% body fat. Cholesterol leverl: 240. After she saw what Simvistatin did to me, she will never consider taking a statin, regardless of which brand it is.

Hi, my GP told me recently that diet only accounts for 20% of cholesterol level. If there is a family history of heart disease I would keep a close eye on your levels; I hate to worry anyone unnecessarily but my son died suddenly from undiagnosed heart disease a year ago - he was 37. If I could go back in time I would make sure he was checked out for blocked arteries.

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to Marymb

So very sorry to hear this :,(

I actually went to the dr about chest symptoms - ecg normal - had bloods and that’s when they found the raised cholesterol.

Hi, despite having normal cholesterol levels, healthy eating diet, no alcohol and plenty of exercise, I had a heart attack followed by 4 stents. I had been on statins until I could no longer tolerate them (strong family history of heart disease).Having had no heart rehab at all not even a follow up appointment, all due to covid I was informed, using this forum has been invaluable.

I was recommended a book by Dr Malcolm Kendrick called A Statin Nation. Well worth a read.

I have to say it has made me question everything I have been told about heart health and lifestyle.

A little known fact about statins is that as well as muscle pain /damage, liver and kidney damage you are three and a half times more likely to become diabetic.

I became type 2 diabetic when I was on rovustatin with no family history at all. Coincidence?

So now eat high fat low carb diet, have been in diabetes remission for a long time until heart attack sent blood glucose sky high. Now back under control with metformin when I need to.

Buy a good blood pressure monitor, blood p is always more accurate at home.

Book is available at Amazon for kindle.

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to

What a lot of utter nonsense are you aware this guy has been removed from Wikipedia for the rubbish he promotes? You might as well spend the money on the Beano. Also, the high fat low carb diet is NOT suitable for people with heart disease and you should not be promoting it on this forum.

in reply to lateguitarist

Have you read any of his books and the research articles?

lateguitarist profile image
lateguitarist in reply to

I am very well aware of this so called expert's controversial and extreme views, which have been widely discredited. As i said he has been struck of wikipedia for being a "quack", I believe. If I were you I would look to more obvious reasons for your diabetes rather then blaming statins, such as the HFLC diet which as I have said is unsuitable for people with heart disease and also as far as I am aware, Diabetics.

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to

Have you read Dr Malcolm Kendrick's view on Covid 19 and vaccines?

His blog has been reported to the General Medical Council and investigated by NHS England.

I did watch an interview with him briefly but I couldn't bear to see it through, I think he is just a sensationalist. At least one of his fans here seems to have gone off the radar thankfully.

Mine has been constantly ~5.5 for years. Unfortunately, you don't mention what is important - the relative levels of LDL and HDL, only what I assume to be is your total cholesterol. The value of total cholesterol divided by HDL should be less than 5. Mine is 3.1, so my doctor isn't unduly concerned, but would like to see my total cholesterol come down. My advice: find out the LDL and HDL levels as well as the total. ps. I'm amazed that nobody else mentions this, as it's so important!

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to Bravura

Thank you so much, I will try and find this out!

Mine was 7 September last year and I am a fit 52 year old, non smoking 5 k runner who tried to bring my cholesterol down by diet but really wish I had taken statins earlier as out of the blue I had a heart attack in March this year. Now have a reading of 3.2 after starting on statins and having a stent fitted

Following my heart attack and stent 14 months ago I did a fair bit of research on diet and cholesterol. I found this publication, specifically aimed at reducing cholesterol through lifestyle change, useful: nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/pu...

I changed my diet radically, continued to exercise and I take 20mg Avorstatin, no side effects. I am also prescribed 75 mg Plavix and 1.25mg Bisoprolol.

My main targets in diet were to reduce saturated fats and triglycerides to a minimum, halve alcohol consumption (from 10 units a week to 5) and increase fibre intake, especially soluble fibre.

I have lost 13 kilos and feel fitter than for a couple of decades (I am 66).

My total cholesterol, ldl and triglycerides were 6.2, 3.8 and 3.3 at my last reading before my heart attack and had dropped to 2.2, 1.2 and 2 after 11 months of lifestyle change + statins. I don’t know which has had the greater effect. My ldl (the good cholesterol) has remained stubbornly low thoughout at around 0.8. This is probably hereditary and may have been a major factor in the build up of arterial plaque, though I am sure that eating too much saturated fat will not have helped.

My blood pressure was never above 120 over 80 and now is lower, generally around 105 over 65.

It is important that you get a full breakdown of your cholesterol readings, not just the total.

Good luck!

Good reply. I think you will find the truth of the matter is that in most cases the only reliable way of lowering it is by the use of a statin.

In full agreement with this, diet and exercise help but can only achieve so much.

Hi

At one point t my cholesterol was at 13, this was when I was 40 didn't smoke or drink and played football regular. I then went onto 20mg of Arvostatin and each time I went for a test it came down slightly. In October last year I was diagnosed with Angina, they never checked my Cholestrol. In February I had a heart attack and was admitted for tests. A Angiogram showed that I needed a bypass. I was in hospital 2 weeks and on the day I was being shipped to Wythenshawe for the operation I caught Covid.

I eventually stayed in Hospital for 7 weeks. My cholesterol was over 6, I am now on 80mg and it has come down to 5.9, still not low enough. I try to eat the best I can, I walk the dog but my job means I am in my vehicle most days and cannot regulate a breakfast or lunch break as each day is different. I sometimes just stop and grab a sandwich or a pie as I need to be on the move. People will say make something healthy before you go out to work. I do that, I have regular nuts oats and fruit but sometimes you just think what the hell whatever I do doesn't really work and I can't really rely on my Doctor. In my opinion he is a waste of space I had all the symptoms of the heart attack so I rang, and he said even though I told him about my chest pain the fact that I had taken 3 shots of my spray, he offered me pain killers.

I know my Dad had high cholesterol and part of me thinks its an hereditary disease.

I would try to stay positive and also try to understand that they are not trying to scare you they are just giving you facts.

Hope all goes well.

Palpman profile image
Palpman in reply to FRANKIENCOCO

It would help to know what cholesterol reading you are quoting. Is it total or HDL or LDL?

FRANKIENCOCO profile image
FRANKIENCOCO in reply to Palpman

Just got from Doctor

Cholestrol results

Hi Frankiencoco, my cholesterol levels were roughly the same as yours when first measured 20 years ago. I have FH which I suspect may also be your problem. I have been on statins and ecetimibe but my cholesterol was still very high until I started fortnightly Repatha injections. You may want to check out whether this or the similar Praluent is suitable for you. Your cardiologist can prescribe it. My level is now under 3!

FH?

Familial Hypercholesterolemia. Apologies, I thought I'd sent a reply, but it appears it didn't send. It's worth checking out whether you have, or are likely to have this. It's a dominant genetic condition so you can inherit it from either parent and pass it to any children. Statistically the likelihood is 50 %, but I have 3 siblings and am the only one with the condition which causes the liver to make the high levels of cholesterol. I didn't find out out until I was in my late 40s by which time I already had CHD, but everyone s progress will be different as HDL levels vary. I hope you find a satisfactory way to reduce your cholesterol. Best wishes for your journey.

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to FRANKIENCOCO

Thank you so much! I really hope you’re doing much better now.

Mine was 7.5 pre heart attack. With lifestyle changes I have got it down to 4.1 but after I relaxed my lifestyle change it went back up to 5.6!So now I am back on a strict diet and exercise. I am no longer overweight so am hoping it goes down to 4.1 on my next blood test.

I cant tolerate statins so agreed with my doctor not to take for now. That was about 6 months ago and neither I or the doctor have been back in touch.

Tinker2015 profile image
Tinker2015 in reply to jon22

Can I ask now what your diet now consists off I cannot tolerate statins and I struggle to keep it down.

jon22 profile image
jon22 in reply to Tinker2015

Breakfast - porridge with fruit and skimmed milk. Lunch 2 slices of wholemeal bread and eggs , or cottage cheese, or pilchards or baked beans, with lots of salad. Evening meal fish or chicken with lots of fresh veg. Look out for low sugar and low saturated fat and low salt items. No more than 14 units of alcohol per week !

Tinker2015 profile image
Tinker2015 in reply to jon22

Thankyou I eat gluten free bread Iam always checking what’s in stuff look for food labelled less than 1 gram

Hi 5.7 is not high (I’m 12.7) and have had a heart attack. Mine is undiagnosed to a degree, could be hereditary, diabetes or renal. My Cholesterol doc put me on a 7 day a week fish diet and it is falling, slowly but in the right direction. I agree, just tweak your foods and small portions. You’ll be fine. My son reading was 5.3 and is now 4.1 by small diet changes! Keep eye on BP too!

Hi mine was 6.9 about 8 months ago and have managed to go to 3.7 now by just having a little bottle of Benecal drink a day and the Benecal butter spread (Hope this helps)

Knic profile image
Knic in reply to juanitamc

Thank you so much, just added these to the shopping!

weight not always an indicator as i had a girl worked for me that was a size 24 with a cholesterol of 2.3 and a another who was size 10 but a score of 8.1 both tested in work same day and one sent to gp , guess which one? yes over 5 is a bit high but not too scary, look into this site for advice on reducing levels. as for bp i’d get a home kit if it eases your mind they're not overly exspensive. your palpitations may be stress/anxiety related or somethings else, discuss with your gp

I can't recall having a cholestoral check, so have no idea what it is. My bloods tend to be taken monthly, and I've just assumed it would be checked that way. GP has never mentioned it being a problem, so it must be ok.

You may also like...