The Test Approaches

I see the consultant in March and now it's February so I start thinking about the blood test more. For various reasons, it's going to be further ahead of the appointment than usual, so I'm now trying to make sure there are no significant gaps in my medication, diet or exercise for a week or two, to see how low I can go.

As I've written elsewhere, I've enthusiastically adopted the Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan diet, with the hope that I can get it low enough to reduce my relatively high simvastatin dose before I change GPs. The high dose seems to encourage new GPs to suggest fiddling with my medication, even at the same practice and they can see all my notes, so should know better!

I'm aware that this will give a slightly false reading compared to my usual behaviour, but I want to see if it's possible. If it is and they can cut my dose, I will be stricter in future. I've done it before, when they wanted to try not medicating me (I was pretty sure it wouldn't work), and I could do it again.


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16 Replies

  • Good luck!

    Just like to point out that the Framingham study revealed that the more fat one eats, the more cholesterol one eats, the lower the ldl levels.

    Controlling carb intake limits triglycerides and small dense ldl - Fat Head (2009)

  • Not proven in FH sufferers though, is it?

  • How would FH sufferers differ?

    I'm not aware of any detrimental effects from this lifestyle change; isn't it worth a try?

  • Basically, FH sufferers react differently to the general population. That's why clinical guidance often has a distinct section for FH sufferers and why diagnosis and screening is such a big topic for HEART UK. We have high cholesterol levels because our bodies misregulate it, often extremely, as a result of some genetic instruction. Is there any reason to think that the basic misregulation would be affected by changes in carbohydrate levels?

    One undisputable detrimental effect is that I feel that weighing and calculating the food to the levels of Fat Head is a pain in the backside, sucking the fun out of food, and something that I'd put down among the last resorts. At my low body mass, it's not in my interest to eat less, as I suspect I would if it became less fun.

    There's also the debatable question of what if Fat Head's wrong and the lipid hypothesis is correct...

  • I totally respect your choice.

    Your last paragraph is obsolete if you don't want to make any changes anyway.

    From my point of view, from when we are weaned we learn what we like, what we don't, what is good for us, what is not. Counting and weighing is unnecessary, and estimating how much carbohydrate you've had is a good idea because your appetite can be fooled by processed foods. Of course the closer to a hunter-gatherer diet you eat, the less likely your appetite will be tricked; estimating carbs is a safer way to allow more variety.

  • The last paragraph is not obsolete... it is a parallel reason.

    I probably eat closer than many to a hunter-gatherer because I started treatment in the 1980s and we were basically told to cut down all processed foods because they were really bad in so many ways back then. I'm told they're better today, but I guess they're probably still generally higher-carb than making stuff yourself. Still today, I buy my fresh food from open markets (which are sadly dying out), small box schemes or community-owned shops as much as possible. So I guess I might be doing what some would consider the right thing (a fairly low-carb diet) for the wrong reasons (classic lipid-hypothesis-based cholesterol-lowering).

  • Yes good luck DakCB-UK.

    I know what you mean about looming blood tests. I have an appointment in April, but the opposite problem having stopped all medication for the time being. My problem is how high will it be.

    I can hear it now....this is what happens Mrs Aliwally when you don't take your medication etc etc.

  • Treat it as a new baseline reading. Do the other things right and then see what level that produces.

    Give 'em a bit of the "I'd rather die sooner than live in that pain" schtick, even if you don't quite believe it. That would probably make them look for a different treatment, especially if they're not a sufferer.

  • Hope you get a good result DakCB-UK. I have blood tests this Friday but not expecting a good result as haven't been very good with my diet so know they are going to try to push me into adding in ezetimibe to my 40mg atorvastatin or switching again to rosuvastatin 40mg but neither will be happening!! Let us know how you get on.

  • Good luck with your tests! I'll probably post how I get on next month.

  • I wish I was on yearly blood test currently I am on a monthly basis of blood tests. Currently my levels arent going down much. I also have high triglysrides. I am trying to get my diet in order. Once my brother goes to his new home next week then i can get back on track.


  • I wish I was on slightly more frequent tests, say 3 to 6 months. A year seems rather a long time to wait to see if any changes in treatment have had an effect.

  • Yes I would like more frequent tests too - no doubt it's down to cost.

  • I agree about the yearly tests, a lot can happen in a year. My strategy now is to get a lower dose and compromise on levels. However, I don't have FH.

    Seems to me that excluding FH by DNA testing is just as important as confirming it.

  • I'm new to this site. What is FH?

  • Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. See for an introductory answer to "What is FH?" and further info.

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