Do you ever wish you'd never got your cholesterol tested?

This might sound sacrilegious when we are all told to "know our numbers" but I'm beginning to wish I'd never known. Four years after a very high reading (8.9) I am grateful that I have lost 2 stone, am taking more exercise and got my glucose down to near normal levels.

What I am not grateful for is the hassle to exclude FH, the side effects from all statins, the fact that on one hand I am told I am "high risk" because of my levels (about 8.3 without medication) and yet my GP tells me he has seen 80 year olds with this level and cholesterol is just one risk factor. I just wanted to carry on taking cholestagel and forget about numbers, but he is now insisting I have another blood test to see if it is working. I just don't want to be obsessed with numbers any more and the worry that brings.


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53 Replies

  • Yes! I would have had much more stress-free life for however long it lasted.

  • yes. Like an idiot I actually ASKED for a cholesterol test a few years ago. I was curious and there had been a lot of publicity in the press about tests. Mine must have been borderline and I can't even remember the numbers but I do know I was given a diet sheet with a lot of patronising stuff on it which I binned! However it had me flagged up and I was called again 6 months ago. This time the nurse told me that when the results came back one or two of the drs in the practice wanted me on statins but luckily another said no as the ratio was good. These were the numbers they wanted me on statins for: total cholesterol 5.9, HDL 2.2,

    ratio 2.7, LDL 3.3 and triglycerides 0.9. A month later I had a letter summoning me for a 'health check' which identified high blood pressure. I know these are being rolled out across the country but I'm the only person I know who has been summoned by letter. Is this a direct result of the cholesterol test I ask myself?

  • gardengnome42 Please be carefull if you decide to take them some people they work for but i am one they havent ,i am 48 years old in 2011 i have not had any health problems i have had 5 children no problems i was curious about some raised spots on my elbows and knees and had numbness in my toes ,had my cholesterol done 12.1 triglyceride 5 ,put on statins rosuvastatin told i would have to take them for the rest of my life GREAT since then i have side effect after side effect medicines to right what the statins are taking out of my body .my cholesterol has been up and down since .

    in April of this year i thought i have had enough no more ny left arm is not right and my legs are a different shape something has happened to my muscles

    intermittent fasting is what im doing the last 2 months with eating between 11am and 7pm and only taking one opti omega 1000mg capsule my bloods have come down from cholesterol 7.9 to 6.2 and triglyceride 2.9 to 2.5 this is just in 2 months and i am starting to feel a little better in mysellf .

    if you take statins ask about coq10 or ubiquinol to take with them if they fob you off like they did with me buy your own as i have heard they help with your bones as statins take coq10 out of your body

  • Hello,

    I have a problem in understanding the cholesterol test, mathermitical calculation and the numbers. I am 67, male, cannot remember the reason bof blood test, the test results showed both blood sugar high and cholesterol high. Life style change have reduced blood sugar but not cholesterol!, high cholesterol is to do with age.

    Statin has reduced the cholesterol numbers, pain side effect is very bad, gave blood for another test this morning.

  • hi bala how often do you have your bloods checked ,i at the moment are having them checked every 2 months ?

  • Hi,

    In the last two years every six months, have had two life-line screening tests as well. Going for blue crest screening next month, both costs money but I need to know and understand it. I was talking to my GP yesterday in Vitamin D dosage, in (mg) she was thinking of it as micro grams. I need to learn more about vitamin D.

  • what where thee results cholesterol ? and where you taking statins all the time ?

    my vitamin d i asked to be checked it was 17 they are giving me vitamin d supplements with calcium to get my levels above 25 which they say is right for England

  • can you ask to have your bloods done in 2 months time and what are your cholesterol now ?

  • bala can you ask to have your bloods checked in 2 months and what are your results now ?

    do you take ubiquinol or coq10

  • Hi,

    I started statin 2 months ago, I am new to all of this. I do not take any Vitamin A-Z or ubiquinol or coq10. Gave blood for tests this morning, will have results next week. will put out my findings next week.

  • Hi bala so you havent been taking them long did you have any of the side effects before ?which statins do you take ?

    I sometimes wonder if i had taken coq10 or ubliquinol with it maybe i would not have had the side effects .do you have pain in your arms ? and have you had your vitamin d checked ?

  • Hello,

    Started station on 140313, Lipitor,(20mg) Atorvastatin, one in the evening. Male, age 67.

    27Feb total cholesterol=5.8, LDL=3.3

    13May total cholesterol=3.09, LDL=1.61

    The above is from life-line screening test machine. Next week I will find out NHS blood test results.GP has asked for a lot of tests!!, my new style food intake is giving me a blood glucose of 5.7, down from 8.8!!

  • Your cholesterol numbers in Feb were exactly the same as mine [I'm 70 yrs and female] and I understand the drs in the practice were in disagreement but the HDL and ratio were good as were the triglycerides, so no action other than a health check. That's when hypertension was discovered. So they won in the end! I think it's ££££ for the practice if they can catch people in the net. Why are you on statins for those numbers though, or is there another issue?

  • Hi,

    Am on Statin to reduce cholesterol, total cholesterol to be less than 4. I was on 20mg, now I have 10mg. My plan is to take 20mg every other day till I finish the package. move on to 10mg again every other day. Lastest blood test results are good all are within NHS numbers.

  • Hi Bala

    Cholesterol levels go up with age if you are female, because of the change in hormone levels. My husband is 65 and his cholesterol level is 4.5. And his doctor suggested he should take statins!

  • Hello,

    Thank you. What was the reason for cholesterol test? If the cholesterol is 4.5, do you have details of other numbers.?

    Did the doctor give the numbers to aim for?

    Are there any plans for life style change?

    The side effect from station is a real problem!. I am afraid I cannot to wait for the results and go for lower dosage or come out of it. On my back between the shoulder blades the pain is bad as my job in on a PC all day. Resting and sleeping do not help with the pain!

  • Our doctors ask everyone in for a health check up when you reach 65. He has no plans for a life style change because a level of 4.5 is fine! Definitely not taking statins.

  • Hello,

    Found this on the web:

    In both men and women, blood cholesterol starts going up after age 20. In men, it starts to decrease slightly at the age of about 65. Whether you are male or female, as you get older your risk for heart disease increases dramatically.

    Until age 45, men tend to have higher total cholesterol levels than women do, and women tend to have higher HDL levels.

    However, as time goes on, the statistics for women change. After menopause, a woman's LDL level tends to go up, and her HDL level goes down.

    After menopause, women tend to have higher LDL levels than do men of the same age.

  • Not sure how useful that information is, Bala.

    "Blood cholesterol starts going up after age 20" ...if you eat junk food.

    "As you get older your risk for heart disease increases dramatically" ...if you smoke, are over weight, have diabetes, eat junk food, have a family history, etc.

  • Please Aliwally read all my info i hope all us with the problems can help each other



    BY DR. BRYAN P. WALSH i was amazed and shocked at how the can carry on destroying people i feel sorry for older people who have taken them for so long and had hip replacements and knees they might not have had to have these done i fear statins could have brought it on

  • Thanks everybody. What I really want I guess is to get it down maybe a bit with drugs that won't have the side effects of statins. I have a family history of muscle disorder as well and frankly I don't want to die of motor neurone disease like my mum.

    My husband (lovely though he is) buys hook line and sinker into the lipid hypothesis and is always concerned about holiday insurance,although he told me that I underwent a personality change for the worse when I was on statins.

    I can't get rid of this nagging fear that I will have a heart attack if I don't get my levels down a bit. Also, if I did have a heart attack, I would be villified "what do you expect Mrs Aliwally with a cholesterol level like yours and you refused to be statinated" and then I would be put on a cocktail of drugs anyway. All of this is on my mind.

    Finally, although my GP does not believe me, I get a characteristic numbing under my lip when my cholesterol is high. I would rather not have this either.

  • hi aliwally

    have you tried ubiquinol with the statin this is supposed to help with the side effects .

    do you get your levels checked every 2 months ?

    How long does the numbing under your lip happen when you stop statins does it start right away or after a few months ?

    Please if you can try intermittent fasting i was not sure about it if you know your results up to date then try it for 2 months then go and get your levels checked and you would be surprised ,i eat between 11am and 7pm i drink water and coffee with no sugar the rest of the time i am woke ,the only thing i take is opti omega3 fish oils in capsules my levels came down from 7.9 to 6.2 in 2 months and you dont get any added side effects ,i only have to cope with my arms aching which i will get sorted with ubiquinol .please try it aliwally you will be surprised yourself my doctor was pleased

  • I can tell you one thing about cholesterol levels, & that`s the fact that I`m sick of blood tests!

  • LOL

  • Me too! Waiting for the results is a bit like waiting for exam results as well.

  • Just told GP am definitely not taking any more statins and asked if there is any point in attending lipid clinic as they don't do anything except nag me to take statins and say fibrates etc not effective enough for my levels. GP has told me high omega 3 now been shown to help so will try this. But yes, I do wish I had never been tested as its very stressful.

  • I was diagnosed with high cholesterol (6.7) and high blood pressure a year ago. Since that time I have tried to gen up on my condition and am only more confused about it all! I don't want to be obsessing about my health all the time, I want to enjoy my life now that I am semi retired.

    I had muscle pain from the statins, even a reduced dose still caused the pain (more like muscular toothache) I take asprin every day, and have bought myself vitamin D3 and CoQ10 and they help but are expensive.

    I am going to have a face off with my GP on my next visit. Why should I have to buy these supplements? So am going to ask her for a prescription for them....? I have worked all my adult life and have always contributed to society so now, when I do need a little help, I expect to be helped.

    I have always tried to look after my health, don't smoke, drink and don't eat meat. My diet is fruit and vegetables. I have asked why, when I am doing everything right that I get high cholesterol and BP. No-one has given me a straight answer. I just feel that our GPs give us these bombshells and then leave us to get on with it. I honestly think they don't know themselves :- )

  • Hi cleocat ,

    i have had all the same why did they give me something to make my health so bad .

    i stopped myself after 2 years on and off 3 different statins due to very bad side effects .

    i have been intermittent fasting for 2 months now and i'm feeling better my levels have come down in these 2 months from 7.9 to 6.2 all i have is opti omega 3 capsules and eat between 11am and 7pm ,i am going to buy ubiquinol for my bones to get them right as the statins have wrecked them ,my vitamin d is low du to the statins it is 17 i have to get it above 25 i have been told so vitamin d and calcium tablets for that .

    if you can please try the intermittent fasting as then you can say good bye to the statins that make your life so miserable .

    read my blogs

  • Hi suki65!

    Sorry I never noticed this post. Please forgive oversight!

    I used to fast one day a week when I was young and wise. Yes, I will try it again. Thanks

  • I have just got the ubiquinol to help repair my bones from the damage that the statins have done

    I fast most days a week one or two days i have a treat my next bloods are August .

    I hope it works for everyone as it doesn't hurt your body in any way

  • All,

    I am very lucky to be in a country where I do not have to take my credit card to pay for GP on very trip!, for 40 years I have paid NI, for the last tow years I am getting the full benefit and ma happy with it. As an engineer when there is a fault, find the fault and fix it, do not put a fault to fix a fault, do not try this and that to fix a fault!

    Testing and testing numbers, I need to understand them. We have to trust medically qualified people, there is always a learning step.

  • Ive been so anxious and low mood since i found out i had a reading of 11.5 cholestrol. Im only 35 and they wanted me on 40 mg of statins i rufuse to take them or be subject to the bully tactics. I know people who were not carefully monitored on these drugs and they have liver damage and had to come straight off them. But i think everyday am i going to have a blood clot, stroke etc i just wish to forget about it. Still waiting to be seen by lipid clinic :/

  • Hi Sunset,

    This must be really difficult for you. FH and Type 3 are probably the conditions where people would say that it is worth having their cholesterol tested, although it obviously causes stress to you and your family. This is because these conditions carry a higher risk of heart disease, especially if there is a strong family history. There are people on this site who have been grateful that FH has been diagnosed and treated.

    I'm sure there are a lot of unknowns about FH, why are some families badly affected and others not, is there a lifelong risk or higher at certain ages? I hope you don't have to wait much longer for your appointment.

  • I have been feeling lousy since started taking statins . . so YES - I wish I had never gotten it checked.

  • I don't know if anyone reads Judith Woods' column in the "Telegraph" on Saturdays. I always do, she's got a great sense of the humour of everyday life.She has just had a very high cholesterol reading and says she "will gratefully take statins for the rest of her life". Both her parents died of heart disease at an early age. I just give this as an example of the other side of the coin.

  • How does the use of statins compare to the benefit from other anti-inflammatories?

  • All,

    It appears new research showing cholesterol is not a problem, the problem is inflammation!

    Google CNN news, there are a number of video clips on the subject. My next project is to find out how is inflammation is tested and treated.

  • Hi Bala, Let us all know when you've researched this as some concrete information/evidence to discuss with the doctor would be useful. Always assuming one can discuss stuff with the doctor, some are just bullies [just do as you are told and take the medicine!]. Like you I think there is more in this inflammation theory but the high cholesterol is a holy cow that cannot be challenged by mere layfolk it seems. I wonder.

  • To paraphrase Victor Frankl; it's how you choose to respond that's important!

  • Hi there,

    I have had nothing but stress since finding out that my readings were high and also when statins started to have the most awful side effects took the decision to come off them. However still at the back of my mind was the words from doctors "you could have a heart attack or stroke,,,your numbers are very high so it must be FH". Seeing a different consultant but having tried yet more statins and fibrate medication had to stop due to bad side effects again.I was put forward for genetic testing. Now I have been told after going to see a genetic consultant that I don't qualify for a test for FH as I have no family history and apart from 10.4 reading am not showing any visible signs. I have only alittle family medical history as I'm adopted. They want my sons to be checked as if one of them has high readings that could possibly mean that I have FH and they will do a genetic test. My sons, both adults haven't been checked and I can't see them going for testing. I can't force them.

    So to answer the original question.......Yes... I wish I'd never asked for a cholestrol test in the first place!

  • This lottery of FH testing really makes me angry. If we lived in Scotland or Wales there would be no problem. I wanted to know whether I had FH or not, for my daughters but also, when I had problems with statins. If I knew it was FH I would have probably have persevered with them.

    I actually don't blame your sons if they don't want to know and as you say, you can't force them. I have gone out of the frying pan into the fire, finished with lipid clinic, now have statin sceptic GP who is being funny about giving me a repeat for Cholestagel.

    I think I could put up with all this if I felt ill and the medication made me feel better, but it doesn' makes me feel worse !

    What a can of wriggly worms we have all opened, however I do accept that some people have been grateful, especially those who have had relatives who have died prematurely.

  • I wish I had known about the Statin side-effects before I began taking them!

    I took them for years and had dreadful side-effects!!!!so much pain.

    But,I had no idea it was being caused by the Simvastatins.

    an Internet friend told me......

    I was shocked to think that I had suffered so much for what?

    no one ever mentioned my readings......

    I get checked annually,no one ever comments on the readings....just,,"they are okay"

    or,we need to increase your Thyroxin...the Cholesterol is never mentioned..........does that mean that it is okay??.

    until I came on here?I had never heard of the Lipids,or HDL?and any other things..

    I start all of my Annual tests this week and next week as it's my Birthday on the 4th of July......I see the Cardiologist on the 2nd of July.

    in fact my Surgery has just rang up to see if I have received my appt yet?

    it seems that the Dr. who saw my Heart scan?is forgetful...

    he told me I had Heart failure and other things,....but.forgot to tell my Dr...

    .6 weeks went by,until I got so fedup I demanded that my Gp. gets the results a.s.a.p.

    then she had to ring up and ask for the results to be faxed to her,it worked when they realised that we were both giving them a kick up you know where....he said he would get appt.....with the Cardiologist,a.s.a.p....once more my Gp.had to contact him......

    I got the letter on Sat/day pm...............he did not contact my Gp, again............

    .almost 4 months after the scan....I shall be making a comment if and when I do get to see the Cardiologist !!!!!!!!!

    I could have passed away waiting for this allegedly needed Open Heart Surgery

    to correct sticky valves stopping the Heart from getting blood pumping through..

    I know and love my NHS........I have had many operations and lots of treatment....

    but,this one Dr.....??he is the reason that Patients complain...

  • I do wonder if I would have been better off not knowing my levels, because Iv`e had nothing but stress about my cholesterol. Iv`e done everything that i can to reduce my levels, but nothing has worked, & I`m getting pressure from my doctor to start taking statins. I tried them for a couple of months, but they made me feel so awful that i had to stop taking them. Why can`t medical science come up with a treatment that doesn`t feel as bad as the illness that it was meant to treat?

  • I was over joyed to find out that my Cholesterol test showed level 8. Which for me means that my body is protecting me from a lot of nasty illnesses. I was very worried before the test that the level would be low due to a bad low fat diet, so I started drinking full fat milk,lovely cream, eating butter and plenty of meat. I believe in the old values of a wholesome diet and plenty of exercise. I'm 65 years old and still working full time. My doctor told me that I must start on Statins, so I asked him if he would also take them? He said No!

  • Just wondered if anyone on here has asked their doctor to explain why people who die of heart disease and their cholesterol has been checked during the post-mortem examination have almost always been low?

  • Oh saddness welcome! A breath of fresh air amongst us!!

  • Funny really. When I first got my cholesterol tested I phoned up for results and the medical secretary said it was "okay" there was no further action to be taken. That doc was on the point of retiring. Shortly afterwards, I had an ocular occlusion (sp) and the first things I was prescribed were statins and medication for high blood pressure. The new GP said I should have been on them long before I was. Who do you believe? That was two doctors in the same small practice....

    Like everyone else who has replied to this post, I am afraid NOT to take the darned things ....just in case.

  • Hi Cleocat, Just wondered what you mean by, "Just in case?" If I was in your practice and the retiring doctor said it was Ok, I would think he was trying to tell me not to take statins:0) The high blood pressure tablets are there to lower your blood pressure which might mean either the diastolic or the systolic or both much to high? I tend to worry more if my systolic is too high (above 80) at rest. So what are your numbers?

  • Some doctors assert that the lowering of these markers (high cholesterol, high bp, and so forth) is futile. It's the underlying coditions causing the high readings that needs to be managed.

  • Hi Saddness,

    The doc at the eye clinic said my high blood pressure had caused the occlusion in my eye, I only mentioned it in passing at a routine doc appointment and all the medicating started from there. My "just in case" refers to that, I wouldn't like to risk my eyesight. I have only had a small loss of vision but it's enough.

    My BP can be all over the place, I believe(well, according to my GP) acceptable levels are now up to 150/90 Doc thinks it might be white coat syndrome and there may be some truth in that - I don't like attending the doctor, I do get stressed. (echoes of my mother) I was going to ask if I could have a 24 hr monitor from the surgery, I bought a BP monitor from Boots but doc says they need calibrating regularly.

    I had a 5 year patch of stress which ended about three years ago and I think I developed high BP during that time, just as Concerned said I think that's what put all my numbers up.

  • Did your doctor manually do your blood pressure? Or did they use an automatic monitor? If they used a monitor did you ask how often theirs was calibrated?

    Q: How often do Omron or Boots Blood Pressure Monitors require calibration?

    With normal use, it is recommended that all Omron or Blood Pressure Monitors be checked for calibration five years after the date of calibration. If your Omron Blood Pressure Monitor is used five times a day or more it is necessary to have the calibration checked annually. To maintain your blood pressure monitor's accurate calibration you must send your unit to the repair department at Omron Healthcare for this service.

    Read the following before using your monitor

  • No, any time it's been taken by a medic, it's been the old fashioned gadget. I tend not to remember the figures they rattle off because they are asking questions at the same time and my memory retention is awful. Next time I go I am taking a notebook listing the questions I have and to note down their answers. AND I want all my numbers from previous blood tests!

    I have also just found out that my brother has a condition called haemocromatosis (sp) and it can be hereditary. More questions.

    Since being on this group, I feel better informed about my problems and the medications I have been prescribed. I just don't want to take any pill that I really don't need to have, so I am going to broach the subject on my next visit.

    I can honestly say that I feel worse now than I did before I went to the doc.

    I will also inform the doc than my BP monitor is not due to be calibrated yet. Thanks for that (-: I usually only use it about once a week, because GP said not to "obsess about it". Easy for him to say!

  • You know I read these boards about statins, and I find myself wondering WHY do doctors prescribe them to people when they know all the side effects they have, and as one person pointed out that they asked their doctor would he take them and he said NO why is that ?.

    My cholestral level was 7.5 and i was put on simvastatin 20mg and as i've said before was told i'd be on them the rest of my life and if i dont take them i would have a heart attack within the next ten years, So i took them what they did was, they caused my left arm to ache i couldn't lift my arm up the pain got worse and went across my chest, then i read that the tablets can cause muscle waste I wasnt told this before i started taking them, my sex drive went down to zero I just couldn't be bothered with it or anything else, I went back to the doc's and was sent for a blood test results came back 5.6 now from what i been reading this isn't a bad result told the doc about the pains and i asked is it a result of the simvastatin tabs he said yes, so he changed my tablets to Atorvastatin 20mg, side effects can cause migraines I dont need migraines thank you very much, how about a tablet with no side effects i know thats impossible to ask but i asked myself it anyway. Does eating between 11 and 7 help ? and how often should you have your blood tested anyway because i've only had mine tested twice in the last two years, from what i've read on these boards people are having their blood tested every couple of months or have i read it wrong, Anyway I'm not taking the tablets anymore, now changing the subject a bit I actually read somewhere that they produced margarine to feed to turkeys and as a result the turkeys died so the investers decided that they wanted a return for their money so they sold it to us humans hmmm makes ya wonder dont it but thats another story. And for the record I just had a routene blood test in the begining and thats how it all started.

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