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high cholesterol

Dfox89 profile image
47 Replies

hi, I’m 32 and had a blood test recently and it has come back as me having a high cholesterol at 7.6. This has really scared me and since (3weeks ago) I’ve changed my diet and exercised even more than what I did before. I’ve lost 5 pounds in that time. I was active before hand and wouldn’t say I was overweight by much. The doctor called me to tell me my results and offered me statins and for me to contact my gp if I wanted to take that route. I’m still undecided 🤷‍♂️. Since finding out I have found that my grandparents both suffer with it and take statins but both are also have pace makers fitted which is a concern! I’ve now booked a full body with heart scan ect with a private company as I’m worrying but this should also put my mind at rest if all is normal.

47 Replies
BeKind28 profile image
BeKind28

Hello :-)

You have done the right thing changing your diet etc and going private to get the scan done quicker

High cholesterol I believe can sometime be hereditary so something to think about

If diet alone does not work a statin maybe the best thing to get it down and help protect your heart something you can give some thought to and especially when you get this scan done

Let us know how you get on :-) x

Dfox89 profile image
Dfox89 in reply to BeKind28

Thanks for your reply, when I spoke to the doctor over the phone I asked how will I know if it’s going down and I’m on track and they said I will have a 12 month review. So just one test per year, but how are we supposed to know what we are doing is working. It’s a long time to wait 😂

BeKind28 profile image
BeKind28 in reply to Dfox89

I agree that is a long time to wait and how would you know if it was working

Maybe in a couple of months I think Boots the chemist do them even if you have to pay you could get one done there you could give them a ring and if they say they don't ask who does

Again let us know if they do them I am sure I have heard they do :-) x

Heyjude31 profile image
Heyjude31 in reply to Dfox89

Hello, welcome to the forum. As BeKind has said Boots offer a test as does Tesco with a Pharmacy and I think you can buy them on line, naturally it needs to be from a recognised brand. I would visit your nearest pharmacy to find out. You are doing all the right things. There is a lot debate about statins both for and against. There is also info on the internet though try not to Dr Google as is can be quite negative. As well as statins bringing down your numbers it is also preventative to protect your heart for the future. Other hearties on the forum are more knowledgeable than me and I am sure they can also explain better than me! Take good care, Judi

HannahB10 profile image
HannahB10 in reply to Dfox89

My GP requests a blood test 3 weeks after they start a new medication....maybe worth asking if they can do they do that if they prescribe statins?

in reply to Dfox89

Sorry me again. Yes that’s exactly the problem I couldn’t get my head around the lack of testing to see if the meds are working …. I was told it was due to Covid and GP’s were very very busy. But I did manage to get my point across … it made perfect sense to me to be checked … 6 months it worked out at in the end … 12 months is nonsense in my honest opinion

Itman profile image
Itman in reply to BeKind28

Hi, when I had my annual MOT at GP in February blood test was taken, and Cholesterol came back as 5.7 got a phone call from GP pharmacist who wanted to put me on Statins, I said no as I take Warfarin, and cardiac tablet told them I would do it by diet. Cut long story short changed my diet completely had blood test last got Cholesterol results this week and it had dropped to 4.9 so well happy. It worked for myself but other people may be different speak to your GP to see what they say. Good Luck

BeKind28 profile image
BeKind28 in reply to Itman

Hello :-)

You have replied to me and not the poster they might not see they have a reply and yours is such a positive one :-)

Well done changing your diet and getting it down that much like you say we are all not the same but good it has worked for you :-)

Have a lovely day :-) x

LowerField profile image
LowerField in reply to Itman

Its good that you have managed to achieve a reduction in your total cholesterol of about 15% by lifestyle changes. However be aware that life style changes are also 'for life'. As life continues and sometimes gets in the way the resolve gets diluted (unless you are unique!), and your cholesterol count will slowly creep back up, perhaps not to where is was originally but up nevertheless. Over 20 years ago when I was told I had a cholesterol count of nearly 10, at first I didn't believe it, because my lifestyle was healthy in terms of diet, weight and exercise, but another test confirmed the first result and the reality sunk in. So I first went on a rigorous miserable diet, and the best I ever got was just under 7. But although I like to think I have a lot of self discipline my resolve slowly went and I was back up to 8 within a few months. So I went onto statins which brought my lipids down to about 5.5 with a comment by my GP of the day of I told you so.

So as others have said if lifestyle changes work for you great, but remember when the initial enthusiasm has dissipated you cannot afford to let your guard slip.

Carlg profile image
Carlg

I would strongly consider statins. I recently found out I have high cholesterol but it was too late and already done it's damage and I needed a triple bypass. I am only 37.

I have had a blood test which has shown my liver produces too much of some protein which is hereditary and now impacted too much by diet. The statins will hopefully combat against this.

I was refered to a cholesterol (lucid) clinic. Who did said blood test. Might be worth seeing if it's something that can be done for you.

Dfox89 profile image
Dfox89

Sorry to hear that mate, so you onlyFound out your cholesterol was high after the bypass. All I’ve been told by the doctor is to consider them but it’s my choice and she didn’t say weather I should or not it’s upto me to decide. Since I have been exercising more and watching what I eat and feel like I’ve been left in the dark about. How are you doing now Craig

Carlg profile image
Carlg in reply to Dfox89

I found out about my cholesterol about a month before. Everything was all very sudden with me. With me they started with diet etc and the docs gave me a follow up blood test about 2 months later. No chance so I was refered to the lupid clinic. They did another blood test and stated statins would be a good option. As I started then I was told I would need a further blood test about 6 weeks after starting them to check for correct dosage. Unfortunately we never got to that point as I was told I needed a bypass before that.

I would definitely see if your doctors can refer you to a cholesterol clinic.

I was concerned about being on statins with them being life long etc. But now they will help my improved heart stay healthier for longer.

LowerField profile image
LowerField

If you have a total cholesterol count of 7.6 and have had a generally 'sensible' diet and exercise in moderate amounts you might be borderline in the group of people who are genetically disposed to high cholesterol. However in my view at age 32 that is nothing to be worried about, since you now have an opportunity to do something about it which will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.However be aware that you are unlikely to lower your total cholesterol significantly ( or at least to levels now considered desirable) by lifestyle changes alone, if my experience is anything to go by, noting my natural cholesterol level is more than yours.

So in spite of the anti statin doom-mongers, some of whom you will find on this forum, I suggest you follow the advice of your medics and start taking statins. Yes some people do get side effects, but my guess is they are in small minority, and even then a change of statin can solve the problem. But do continue to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly to minimise your risk of coronary heart disease.

Dfox89 profile image
Dfox89

Thanks for reaching out. The phone call I had they told me my results and said you can either try to reduce this with a change of life style or go on statins, I asked with my results what would you suggest and she couldn’t give me an answer just said it’s my choice, that was 3 weeks ago and since then I feel like I’ve been left in the dark and don’t know what to do instead I’m just worrying about it all

LowerField profile image
LowerField in reply to Dfox89

There is no need to worry, provided you make the right choice. Given your cholesterol count is above average....

The do nothing approach is not an option in my view.

The second option of 'life style' changes will achieve some reduction in your cholesterol levels, but you may need to spend the rest of your life on a seriously grim restricted diet (my low points were oat bran muffins and skimmed milk), watching everything you eat, and so believe me you lose interest in food, and even then you might not get to where you want to be. My guess is that most of those who rely on life style changes alone don't have a cholesterol count of 7 and above.

The final option is to try the right statin for you , which will, over a few weeks at the right dose likely reduce your cholesterol to something approaching where it should be, with the added benefit of modifying your lipid profile to something more beneficial, as well as perhaps stabilising any plaque that has already formed. And with a sensible moderated life style approach you can enjoy life without unnecessary worry.

Bobkins99 profile image
Bobkins99 in reply to Dfox89

I was diagnosed with high cholesterol 30 years ago. It was 7.8 at the time. I changed diet by cutting out anything that was more then 10% saturated fat and generally eating healthily. I lost 2 stone and got my cholesterol down to 6.5. I continued without statin fur another 15 years and maintained my weight but my blood pressure crept up over time. 140/80 being my normal. I started on the statins 15 years ago which brought my cholesterol down to 4.5 but I still ended up with pacemaker in 2018 and I've just had OHS to repair a failed mitral valve. I think this would have happened regardless but do wonder where earlier statins and BP tablets would have helped?

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star

Hello Dfox89

Heart UK has some really good researched based information.

You may find their website helpful.

heartuk.org.uk/

GWP1952 profile image
GWP1952

Hi Dfox89,

My baseline cholesterol level is 4.4 which is reasonable, but in general terms it is desirable to achieve a lower figure to help avoid heart related issues. After a heart attack, stents and then a triple bypass the following year, I had tried 3 different statins, all with unacceptable side effects. I tried to reduce the level by diet, but as I was already eating healthily, I had no success with that method.

Following tests, the Pathologist at my local hospital persuaded me to try another newer type of statin on a low dose. After a short bedding in period, all side effects disappeared. I was tested again after 3 months and my level was 3.7 and it is being held there by the statin. For the small dose that I take, I consider the result to be worthwhile.

Gerald

Purpled profile image
Purpled in reply to GWP1952

If you don’t mind me asking which statin are you are now?

GWP1952 profile image
GWP1952 in reply to Purpled

Hi there, I'm on 10mg Rosuvastatin daily. I was initially prescribed 80mg Atorvastatin, then when that gave me muscle pains my GP tried me on Pravastatin and Simvastatin, then gave up and put me on Ezetimibe which was later proven to have zero effect (it is usually prescribed with a statin).

Purpled profile image
Purpled in reply to GWP1952

Ah Thankyou I hear good things about that statin I am on atorvastatin.

GWP1952 profile image
GWP1952 in reply to Purpled

Yes, it is one of the more modern statins and no doubt it costs more. My squeaky GP didn't offer it to me.... it took the hospital pathologist to do that.

Purpled profile image
Purpled in reply to GWP1952

Yes it does cost a lot more but supposed to have less side effects.

Cupcake8908 profile image
Cupcake8908 in reply to GWP1952

is it possible for you to tell us what stain it was please

GWP1952 profile image
GWP1952 in reply to Cupcake8908

I tried Atorvastatin, Pravastatin and Simvastatin, all of which gave me serious muscle aches when exercising which was counter-productive. Rosuvastatin does not do this.

Classicfan49 profile image
Classicfan49

As with so many of these coronary/circulatory issues we need to take a positive look, I think. They’re all so sneaky, slowly developing without our being aware of them. There are tens of thousands of our fellow citizens out there, merrily going about their daily lives, unaware they have a ticking time bomb inside them. They’re the ones who end up in A&E or worse, with no warning.We are the lucky ones who are identified and treated.

Your cholesterol is a problem, but you will find a way round it and you’ve made a great start. You’re doing all the right things, including joining this forum.

As for your grandparents being on statins, that seems to be pretty ordinary now. GPs are keen to give them to anyone whose cholesterol is on the high side (and the definition of “high” has been edging downwards over the years.) Statins are very effective and also cheap for the NHS to prescribe.

MarmiteB profile image
MarmiteB

Good morning, I have known that I had high cholesterol since I was 18 because I was doing my biology degree and we were doing cholesterol tests in the lab as part of my course. I went to the doctors and they did nothing because I was too young to be going on any medication. I have had several cholesteryl test in my time and now aged 34, they finally did something about it. I am now on statins and a cholesterol binder which has brought my cholesterol down from 8 to 3. They are very pleased with the results. I think I need to add here that I am fit and healthy, eat well, my BMI is normal and I exercise etc. Sometimes you’re just unlucky with the way that your body copes with dietary cholesterol. You can be obese and have low cholesterol and you can be slim and have high cholesterol, sometimes it’s just the way the dice fall. I’m not going to lie though, I have had heart issue, which may be in part due to my cholesterol but it would’ve played a very small role. Having said that a male friend of mine has an even higher cholesterol than me and was sent from angiogram, however he showed no signs whatsoever of any damage being done by his cholesterol levels, so again I would say, it’s absolutely luck of the draw.

Good luck with your scan, let us know how it goes. And in regards to statins, I have been very happily taking them with no side-effects and if they offer them to you, I would take them but that’s my own opinion about drugs!

Paul12 profile image
Paul12

Too vague… you say you changed your diet but what to? Maybe just eating less of bad food? Maybe more beta glucan?You say your cholesterol is high but is it oxidised? What of triglycerides?

Nothing about reducing stress or blood pressure… or sleep. Try keto and VAP test. Intermittent fasting. Early morning long walks.

vmeldrew profile image
vmeldrew

I had the same problem with high cholesterol when I was about 36 but the doctor said there is good and bad cholesterol and that my my good cholesterol was also high so evened things out.I went on a diet anyway which brought it down from 6.7 to 4.1.

I got lazy in my late 40s Booze and food so ended on statins

It is a safe and good medication so no worries there.

Some have slight side effects but the doctor would change until you find the right one.

I would go in to the clinic every six months and just ask for a blood test form and then book with my nearest hospital.

HannahB10 profile image
HannahB10

Aww...such a tough one to accept when you're in your 30s (me too) Unfortunately my cholesterol is hereditary and mine is at 5.6. My dad had 4 bypass before he was 60 and his own father died when he was 45 with heart attack so been trying to sort it out. Been given 3 different statins to try and referred to a lipid clinic but still waiting for an appointment 😑 So yes trying to get it down but haven't found a statin that likes me yet! All the best in your journey to get it down 🤗

Triheart profile image
Triheart in reply to HannahB10

There is an alternative drug called Ezetimibe which I take as cannot tolerate statins, check with your GP, it’s much more expensive than statins so not offered up in general!

HannahB10 profile image
HannahB10 in reply to Triheart

Ahh...yes I've been prescribed that from my GP as my fourth one! 😛. Just waiting to get past injections on my hands, got another one next week, before I experiment with it! Has it worked for you? Why I ask is the chemist was surprised as they tend to prescribe it along side a statin and not alone

Triheart profile image
Triheart in reply to HannahB10

Hi, yes works better along with a statin as not as good on its own but better than nothing at all my GP told me, kept my results stable for last few years 😊

HannahB10 profile image
HannahB10 in reply to Triheart

Good to know👍🤗... we'll give it a try and see how we go!

JeremiahObadiah profile image
JeremiahObadiah

Good Morning. You have a really good range of replies here.

I can add my experience:-

I also found out, by chance, before I was 40, that I have high cholesterol. I was not fat, exercised regularly and didn’t drink much.

I was fairly traumatised as I thought this was a death sentence. I went all out with extreme diet and exercise to control it. It came down slowly but not below 6 at any point. I had been referred to a consultant at the time who did warn me the efforts I was going to were unsustainable.

I was determined not to resort to statins.

Fast forward 20 years and whilst I still have raised cholesterol, I’m now on statins and it is much lower than I could get it through my own efforts . Undoubtedly the damage caused by the cholesterol is less than it would be if I hadn’t been alerted early but higher than it would be if I had started statins earlier.

My advice from what I have learned is to take it all seriously but don’t get totally obsessed . It’s fantastic that you now know and can make sure you do your best to be healthy- don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol often or much, keep moving and eat a good whole food, plant based diet. (There’s plenty of info available but I’ll try to give you a resume, ask if you need further tips)

Don’t beat yourself up and don’t, as I did, feel that somehow it’s your fault. It’s your liver and your genes and you can work to improve your outcomes.

If you can, get referred to a lipid clinic and get a full lipid profile. And then ask questions about it all. If there is a possibility of having any further tests (I had a carotid artery scan) then jump at the opportunity.

If and when you are advised to take a low dose statin then try it and see what your numbers are like after giving it a good chance to work. I have not had any problems taking a statin. Statins are not addictive so you aren’t getting into a trap and they are only part of the solution not the fix all of eg an antibiotic

One of my son’s found out at 27 that he also has high cholesterol. My advice to him is as above.

Dfox89 profile image
Dfox89 in reply to JeremiahObadiah

Thanks for your reply. You’ve helped me a lot with this post. So I have booked a private full body scan but have to wait until mid September. They are doing heart checks and artery checks ect but the anxiety of having to wait that long is playing up for me. I’ve now decided to go on to statins after all the messages and info and help from everyone and research as I don’t want to get further down the line and look back.

Hi there. It’s really good they have found this for you and can treat it early on. I have hereditary cholesterol … very high. There is a medical term for it familial something. No harm in asking if that’s what you have. It can be lowered dramatically with statins. I was unlucky in that my body couldn’t tolerate statins but that’s pretty rare I think. There are injections for those who find themselves in that category. A quick chat with your consultant and/or GP and you’ll soon be reassured 🌹

statinsinthebin profile image
statinsinthebin

judging your risk of getting CVD by using your total cholesterol reading is too simplistic a view.there are other markers you should be aware of such as triglycoride/HDL ratio,being overweight,smoking,alcohol intake and your blood sugar/glucose reading.

dont forget cholesterol is vital to many bodily functions and hormone production,your brain actually craves cholesterol.

be aware just popping a statin aint going to stop you having a heart attack,the cardiac wards are full of patients who are on statins and have low LDL!

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to statinsinthebin

10% of heart attacks occur in people without any permanent blockages to the coronary arteries.

Common causes a functional disorder of the coronary blood vessels. Microvascular dysfunction and vasospastic angina.

Statins are offered to these patients too.

Why?

To help the inner lining of the blood vessels ( endothelial dysfunction) to function properly.

To help prevent inflammation, stabilise small areas of plaque, to prevent clots forming .

To help prevent the person developing obstructive coronary artery as well as non obstructive disease.

The endothelium is very important in vascular health.

Statins help promote the good function of the endothelium.

Jack2019 profile image
Jack2019

If you are trying the diet/lifestyle root first, as you should, you might find this interesting.

youtube.com/watch?v=A_-BVIe... Cholesterol Myths, Statins & Sugar | Interview With Biochemist Glyn Wainwright

1290Duke profile image
1290Duke in reply to Jack2019

Good post Jack. I also base my decisions on information from people that are experts on the topic. Total cholesterol doesn't matter. The LDL to HDL ratio is what's important along with keeping hba1c score low.

HU_Moderator profile image
HU_ModeratorAdministrator

Hi all 👋

Just a quick reminder that content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and your doctor. Please avoid making any changes to your medication or advising others to do the same, without speaking to a health professional first.

Many thanks,

HU_Moderator

KingChanterel profile image
KingChanterel

At 38 I was showing raised cholesterol, in the region of 5.4/5.8. Doctor suggested statins, I went with the change of diet etc move, roll on to last year 11 years later, I wished I taken the statins as I ended up having two stents, thankfully this was caught before anything major like a heart attack.

It is certainly heredity in my family and actually on both sides. In hindsight I wish I had not been brash 12 years back and think I could conquer this via diet, I now understand in some of us diet is only a small part of our cholesterol.

On a positive note, I have lost virtually two stone, I was not really overweight before, been the lightest I have been since my teenage years, don't really drink anymore and despite taking medication in the mornings and at night, feel the best I have in years!

I would seriously consider the statins, in my personal experience they have not been as bad as the press and my cholesterol is now in the region of 2.6 with the bad cholesterol really low.

Dfox89 profile image
Dfox89

Thanks everyone for your messages. So today I have spoken with the doctor again and said I would like the statin route. They’ve now asked me to go in and do another blood test next week! They say because I didn’t fast the day of the test it could of been misleading, but I don’t agree. With a cholesterol at 7.6 surely eaten some food the night or morning before wouldn’t raise it so high. Anyway I’ll go with what they suggest for now and when the results come back and show it’s still high then maybe they’ll try and take it as serous as I am. He did mention my hdl good cholesterol was high wich is a good sign and said that with it being high and the not so good cholesterol being low they could balance eachother out? But I’m not sure I want to take the risk and try with diet ect now after seeing everyone’s story’s about having problems further down the line. They said I’m still young and not to go on statins if I can help it but I really don’t want to regret that decision if I don’t. Very confusing

LowerField profile image
LowerField in reply to Dfox89

In my experience of taking cholesterol tests over many years, there are two sorts, fasting and non fasting. It used to be all fasting but increasingly non fasting tests have become the norm, certainly where I am. If I remember correctly the fasting requirement is minimum 14 hours before the blood sample is taken. I do suggest you ask if you are not sure what you can and cannot eat and drink in the fasting period.

And you might find these useful

nhs.uk/conditions/high-chol...

nice.org.uk/guidance/cg181/...

The NICE webpage contains a link to a patient decision aid pdf for statins

Finally if you want an alternative professional view on your situation why not talk to the BHF Heart Helpline nurse.

Dadtoalad23 profile image
Dadtoalad23

did you get your scan and how was it ??

Dfox89 profile image
Dfox89 in reply to Dadtoalad23

hi I ended up doing a fasting test which showed total ratio of 5.3 which was better than the non fasting. It’s still high but over the last 3 months I’ve completely changed my lifestyle and cut out dairy and red meats ect. Hoping to see some progress on my next test and have avoided statins.. for now

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