why wont my choesterol levels go down?

Iv`e had a mild problem with my thyroid for some years now, & at first I was just monitered because i had no symptoms. Recently my cholesterol levels began to rise so my doctor put me on Simvastatin. The drugs made me very tired & achy, & I kept falling asleep all the time. I stopped taking them because of this. My gp said that an underactive thyroid can cause high cholesterol so I went onto Levothiroxine. I got the results of my latest blood tests yesterday, & although everything else is fine, my cholesterol is still high at 6.5. I don`t want to take statins again, & I`m on a healthy diet & exercising, so why can`t I get my cholesterol down? I`m very scared that I`ll have a heart attack at any time. Is there nothing that I can do besides go back on those dreadful pills?


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33 Replies

  • It's accepted that statins can cause side affects varying from person to person and depending on which statin your on. I was atorvastatin which caused problems, but I was then prescribed rusavasatin on a graduated dose initially 5mg every other day, then every day, then 5mg one day and 10mg the next and finally up to 10mg every day. This helps the body to adjust to the statin and minimise or avoid side affects. Cardiologist like total cholesterol down below 4 these days to avoid problems, but which is worst enduring some side affects or having a heart attack?!

  • Suggested reading: Dr.Dean Ornish's book,"Reversing heart disease".

  • You don't say how old you are, but cholesterol levels do rise with age and cholesterol levels are only one risk factor.

    There are other older drugs such as the bile acid sequestrants which you can take (I do) if statin side effects are making life miserable, or as Mike suggests a really low dose twice weekly or whatever.

    I suppose you have to weigh up everything, including your fear of having a heart attack.

  • Research, research, research!

    Dump your fear of cholesterol and saturated fat and start enjoying again the foods you were brought up on (the young don't worry about cholesterol).

    The advice dished out by your doctor (who probably had no more that two weeks of nutritional training that hasn't been changed for decades) does not and has not worked these past 40 years. We as a world wide society are getting sicker and sicker with heart disease and diabetes rising exponentially - factor in the horror of Alzheimers and we have the perfect storm. We have got the message and are acting upon it - look in your average fridge and see the ghastly green top milk and plastic tubs of industrial fats that fell out of a stainless steel tube. (Country Crock is about right).

    Cholesterol is bad for you? Nature has it badly wrong in it's formulation of mother's milk then - 54%. And why is an egg full of deadly cholesterol? Because it takes a hell of a lot of cholesterol to build a chick.

    Along with your newly found love of real food, dump sugar and refined carbohydrate which have been filling the void left by abandoning those wonderful fats.


  • an alternative to statins are fibrate drugs. Less side effects too. Ask your GP or lipid consultant.

    Mike Pollard makes a good point too. The processed foods and manufactured alternatives are contributors to the increasing risk of heart attack and diabetes. back to basics and common sense are the only diet advice you need.

  • I agree,. I have been on fibrates for years and my level is now constant at about 4. But it depends on which type of cholesterol you have. I haveType 3 hyperlipidaemia.

  • do you not have any side effects ?

    I have the genetic type 3 hyperlipidemia my cholesterol was 12.1 in 2011

    I have been on 3 different statins and fenofibrate had lots of side effects .

    I now have opti omega 3 capsules and eat between 11am and 7pm in 2 months my cholesterol was 7.9 now 6.2 .

    but my muscles are not good i'm trying to prove statins have done this ,my vitamin D has come back abnormal level 17.

    I am 48 height 5,1 weih 8 stone and a woman very active but now annoyed with my specialist for not listening to me .

  • Hello,

    I take it your total cholesterol is 6.5. Do you know the values of cholesterol ratio, HDL, LDL and triglyceride? Other factors, origin, age, sex, BMI and BP are all important in checking the rick factor.

    I was on NHS food plan and exercising, my cholesterol did not come down but blood sugar (HbA1C) came down! Went on Statin, Lipitor, Atorvastatin (20mg), cholesterol has come down. My blood test is at the end of this month, will have NHS test results to discuss.

    Fibrate drugs, take a look at 4S study.

    Good luck with your plan in lowering cholesterol.

  • Hasn't you Doctor given you thyroxin for the thyroid problem?

  • I am sorry you are so frightened. 6.5 is NOT a high level. I am 6.8 and am not on any medication. I have a breakdown of my levels LDL, HDL and LIpids - do you have yours? Look at your HDL level and divide it into your total Cholesterol. This "sum" is now an accepted way of looking at your "healthy" levels. If the result is under 4 you are at an acceptable level. Your Lipids should be under 1.5 - if this is the case then your worries should lessen. Are you male or female? There is also a case against Statins for women. There are now results coming in from various sources that say that statins in women do not seem to do the same job as in men. These are all things that should be discussed with your GP. If you feel that you are not getting the support you want then change your GP. All the best to you.

  • As 2squirrels says your treatment for your thyroid problem should be the priority. The reason why your levels are a little high is because your body is trying to put right whatever is wrong with your thyroid. Just give it all the help it needs. Good food, exercise and plenty of rest. Best wishes.

  • I have had a Thyroid problem for 8 years and was prescribed levothyroxine and my colesteral kept going up from 5.35 and was prescribed 10 mg of Statins, Last year I had a heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest . When I had the Heart Attack My Colesteral was 7.19 and I am now on 80mg of Statins the side effects are awful but I would rather suffer side effects than have another Heart Attack

  • Hello,

    Could you please explain to me what treatemnt you had for these two (Last year I had a heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest .) Thanks.

  • Went to doctor with chest pain 2 years ago done all tests, echo, stress test , thallium test, results came back told me there was nothing wrong with my Heart. last August had Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest had a blocked Artery then cleared it by doing an angaplasty. I live in a small town and had to be taken to a large hospital 86 miles away with blue lights never been so frightened in all my life. When I asked the consultant why this happened he told me to get on with my life and forget the past

  • Hello,

    Thank you.

    I will be 67 in december, have understood a lot from this blog. Have been to life line screening, all normal. GP has done most of the tests including EGC, all OK.

    Highcholesterol is one problem and ma clntrolling by statin and life style checge.

    Going on holiday for three weeks, I have to watch my steps.

    Take care.

  • I was only 54 when i had my attack, you take care and have agood holiday

  • I have talked with one doctor about my levels, & she told me that my LDL levels are normal, & only my HDL is pushing my overall cholesteral levels up. I`m not sure what to make of that, & despite my fear of heart disease, I fell that the prevention could be as bad as the disease. Why can`t medical science come up with a way to tell how furred up our arteries are?, because then people wouldn`t have to take statins unless they were absolutely necessary.

  • Get an arterial stiffness test.This will give you an idea of how flexible your arteries are and this determines how blocked they may be.This test is non invasive and only takes about 15 minutes.I provide it to all my clients as part of my health screening program for cardiovascular risk profiling.Not sure if you can get this on the NHS,but its not that expensive and it could save your life.

  • HDL is the good stuff, you need high levels of it (or so they tell us at the moment, it might be different next year)....sorry, a weak attempt at being amusing on a serious subject.

  • My understanding is that an MRI scan can give a very accurate picture of the heart and I cannot understand why it is not used immediately when there is a suspected problem rather than going through endless checks and tests which are less accurate.

    Is my understanding correct?

  • Its because the other testing is cheaper and less time consuming.

  • I had an echocardiogram a couple of years back because of my family history. That turned out fine, but I don`t know if they can tell the condition of the coronary arteries with that test.

  • I typed "angina mri" into my computer this morning and immediately found an article which appears to confirm that an MRI scan is the most accurate and quickest method of finding any potential or existing heart problems.

    I had a scare last week and finished up spending a day in hospital getting all the usual checks only to be discharged with no problem found with my heart and therefore no explanation as to why I had severe pain and found myself on the floor being attended to by paramedics. I will be asking my GP this week why I did not have a scan.

  • Could simply run in the family, mother has had cholesterol tablets, myself and son since our 30s.

  • My cholesterol was always low until a couple of years ago, so if it was purely genetic I would surely have had high cholesterol since birth. I can`t understand why my levels have suddenly risen in the last couple of years.

  • If you are female and have reached the menopause your cholesterol levels will go up naturally.

    Some thyroid conditions are associated with problems with gluten. If this is the case with you, then the inflammation could adversely affect your cholesterol levels.

    (Bit of a long shot perhaps?)

    Good luck with finding out.

  • hi dont know if this will help i have been on 3 different statins and will never take them again mine is genetic 12.1 cholesterol in 2011 ,2 months ago it was 7.9 this is with taking statins on and off ,i have done lots of research and with my docs support have stopped taking any medication only have opti omega 3 capsules which are fish oils and window slot eating (eating between 11am and 7pm ) i find these times the best but any 8 hour window slot is good ,if you feel hungry just drink a glass of water ,my results in just 2 months was 7.9 now 6.2 .

    My muscles are ruined now i have to prove statins have done this

    I am 48 five feet one and weigh 8 stone very active ,dont drink or smoke and very annoyed at my specialist for not listening to me

  • This is precisely why I won`t be bullied into taking statins, I find the idea of heart disease very scary, but what`s the point of taking a drug that might well leave me disabled? That defeats the object.

  • check out dr mercola

    why eating breakfast might make you hungry ,i eat between 11am and 7pm my results in the last 2 months 7.9 to 6.2 with opti omega 3 capsules

  • At 6.5 the first thing to do is stop being scared, worrying may well increase your BP. Try other foods on your diet to see if they help first. No one can make you take any pills you do not wan too, however if this change of die does not work then you may decide to take statins on a lower dose.

    Good Luck, and STOP WORRYING.

  • Iv`e just read the post about having all the checks, turning out normal, then having a heart attack. that has really frightened me because Iv`e had various tests which turned out normal. this makes me realise even more the danger I could be in.

  • hi hairy fairy,

    i was recently at the doctors, and was told my cholestral was high, and having previously read up on cholesteral, i posed the question, was it my "GOOD cholesteral" or my "BAD cholesteral" that was high, and would you believe it, the doctor did not know, apparently they just lump it all in, and have everyone dashing for prescriptions, to take drugs with side effects, when they are not needed,

    Myself i have refused all prescibed drugs for 6 years now, and i am very healthy.

    My secret. Oxygen therapy, using a contraversial product that the pharma's don't want us to know about, it has no side effects, cures cancer and aids, and about 70 other nasties, this book can be downloaded free.

    and i advise everyone to read it and get rid of all those nasty side effects.

    The one minute cure - Freedom school.

    You may not want to accept this method of treatment, but please do read the book, and pass the information on. Doctors will let you die before recomending this treatment, becase they can't make any money out of it.

  • There are 2 types of cholesterol did your gp distinguish between the 2 types, and as you say you are on a healthy diet maybe its the good type of cholesterol that is giving a high reading.

    When i visited my gp, because i was having dizzy spells after my annual flue injection (which i have stopped having) the gp mentioned that my cholesteral levels were high, i asked which colesteral was giving the high reading, the good type or the nasty type, He could not tell me, but offered me a presciption, which i refused.

    So its obvious that the tests don't distinguish between good or bad. Keep up the healthy diet and don't worry about colesterol. You may like to read a free download book, it mentions ways of reducing cholesterol. Google. The one minute cure - freedon school.

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