High cholesterol, what to do?

My last blood test showed a level of 6.5, too high, I know. I tried statins for a couple of months, but they made me so tired & achy that I couldn`t function on them. I don`t have any other risk factors for heart disease, but my gp has been putting pressure on me to go back on them. I can`t face that, is there any other method of reducing cholesterol?

29 Replies

  • The Cardiologists like to see total cholesterol below 4, so that's your target. I think it's wise to persevere with statins which are the only guaranteed way to reduce cholesterol levels. What's worse a few aches & pains or a heart attack or stroke?! I am on Rusavastatin which I was recommended to begin on a small dose 5mg every other day, then 5 a day, up to 5mg one day & then 10mg etc which has reduced my TC to 4. Otherwise cut out cheese, pastries, crisps and try oat bran on your cereal in the morning. Also eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, you could even try the "Fast Diet" see Michael Moseley's book and take regular exercise - swim, cycle, walk or run if you can. Best of luck. Omacor is also good if your GP will prescribe.

  • What's worse than a few aches and pains?

    Try rhabdomyolosis:


  • Sorry, Mike, I misread your response. Just visited your link...bit too technical but got the jist ;)

  • Im sorry i dont agree dont put up with the aches and pains i did and i now suffer i was on 3 different statins told by a proffessional they have to find the right one sorry but im only 48 and never been poorly before statins dont take them if you are suffering

    i dont take statins i eat between 11am and 7pm every day this is bringing my levels down

    articles.mercola.com/sites/... please try this dont be in agony

  • This newspaper article talks about some of the problems with statins and makes some recommendations about food to lower cholesterol.


    Personally I do not take supplements, but have removed all food made with white flour or added sugar from my diet. This means my cholesterol level is under 6, which for a post menopausal woman is fine. A level below 4 is recommended by NICE as secondary prevention if you have any existing heart problems.

  • Ask your GP about cholestagel if you are really under pressure. It is a bile acid sequestrant . They are a much older class of drugs and they act locally, binding to the bile acids which means they pull more cholesterol out of the blood (not a very scientific explanation!). I have been taking it happily for quite a few months and I have tried every statin under the sun. They will not lower cholesterol as much, I'm going to have a blood test in a couple of weeks so will let you know.

    You could also try diet or you could ignore your GP altogether...difficult choice, although 6.5 is not exceptionally high.

  • Hi Aliwally, I will be very interested to read how you have got on with cholestagel. I have had three statins now, all of which resulted in multiple intolerable side effects. Having been told after the third, that I would not have to try another one, I have now been asked to try Rosuvastatin at 5mg every other day and then increase the frequency and dosage if I can tolerate it. I will start this on Wednesday. I have little faith that this statin will be any better than the previous ones and I anticipate that the next step will be cholestagel or ezetimibe. My total cholesterol was 7.2 in January with a TC/HDL ratio of 3.5 , but as I had an angioplasty and stent in April, medication of some sort is the only option on offer.

    Have you had any side effects from cholestagel?

  • have you tried intermittent fasting florence5 ?

  • Hi suki65, I have adjusted my diet and limited the hours I eat each day, but I won't know if there has been a reduction in my cholesterol levels until I get the results of my latest blood test this week. However, I'm not sure how much my recent trials of statins will affect the results, so it may be difficult to attribute a reduction, if there is any, to a particular action or medication.

  • I have my fingers crossed for your results ,if they come back fine then it will be your next results that will matter if you have come off statins thats when i had to wait at first but my 3rd results are due 23rd August to see if the intermittent fasting is still working then if it does i will ask if i can have my bloods done every 6 months instead of every 2-3 months ,it will be 6 months free of statins then

  • Hi again, Just to let you know that my total cholesterol level has reduced from 7.2 to 6.2 since January. The 7.2 reading was probably a blip from Christmas indulgence. The reduction is down to a real food diet and limiting evening eating, I think. Unfortunately, I still have to try out this last statin which I started on Tuesday. So far I feel OK, but I've had only two pills. Time will tell!

  • Hi hairyfairy. What is your risk score? If you have no other risk factors, would your cholesterol level alone take it over 20% which is when statins are usually first indicated?

  • hello sorry to hear about this. is it familial or due to diet? in this case for familial, there is nothing much you can do, perhaps reduce the statin dose. I was taking 20 mg and feeling like hell..tired, depressed..I cut into 10 mg. now I feel much better and my levels is at 6 not bad, considering it was 9 before. so I will check my next level if its okay with 10mg. if its dietary, then you are lucky, you can lower your levels by healthy eating and exercising. all the best.

  • I never had high cholesterol until about 5 years ago. I don`t understand why it should increase with age.

  • Age, menopause and increase in visceral fat are all associated with a rise in cholesterol levels. I guess it's something to do with hormones.


  • hairyfairy please check out other solutions on line instead of taking statins please if you are having side effects ,i was told they had to find the right statin and now after 3 different statins my arms are not right i am always tired and very low in myself they are not worth it i was 46 when i started taking them and 2 years on i wish i had never taken them and will do my utmost to help others think of other ways to control cholesterol

    please read my blogs and try other things natural or you could become even more poorly

  • I also had bad side effects with statins and will not be persuaded to take them again. For me I would rather not be here than have my life ruined by medication that alters every cell in your body, possibly with awful effects. Read all you can about statins....'the great statin debate'......statin nation'.....etc. The research is mind blowing.....against statins. It takes a long time to recover from the damage statins do to some people. I now take pomegranate juice (Pom) from the supermarket, just a small glassful (4fl oz) every night before bed..(that's important because the liver produces chol at night.....incidentally to repair damage), after reading an article about research using pom juice to reduce chol., and after a couple of months really feel it is helping. For the 'Mikes' who say "what's worse than a few aches and pains"....that's the least of the damage statins can do.....they can affect the brain, memory loss, depression, confusion....I suffered all this as did others contributing to this blog. Read, read ,read before you go down that path and only if absolutely necessary.

  • All my life I have preferred natural remedies to manufactured drugs so, after an initial three months on drugs after being diagnosed with FH (almost thirty years ago) I was recommended by my local Health Food Shop to take Kyolic Garlic Tablets. In twelve months, my total cholesterol levels had dropped from 7.2 to 5.2 - which in those days was the recommended safe level. All the top medical experts in the field assured me that this was not cause and effect so I stopped them and my levels went up. I restarted and my levels reduced. The higher the dosage, the more my levels reduced. I know this is just what happens to my body and does not mean it will work for everyone but it might be worth a try.

  • I had a blood test giving a cholesterol level of 6.7 in December 2012. My doctor was very keen for me to start on statins, which I did not want to do, and we agreed I would try a diet/exercise approach for six months. This I did, and after a test a few weeks ago my level was down to 5.0. So it can be done!

    My dietary changes mostly involved porridge, a lot of fruit & vegetables & avoidance of fatty foods. Exercise regular walking & cycling. All things which were no great trial, although did involve discipline. I found Madeleine Morrow at fromthehealthyheart.com a helpful companion. Best wishes whatever you decide to do.

  • Totally agree with the above correspondents with all they say about diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. Keep well away from any medication unless it is absolutely necessary and do not feel pressurised to take statins until you have discussed your situation with a second opinion. There are so many arguments to and fro re statins and as a statin sceptic I am one who feels that there is too much reliance on these pills and not enough on the patients concerned.

  • Bet you are totally confused by now. I think we are all so different and you really just have to find what's right for you by trial and error.

    I had rotten side effects from taking statins and after giving it a lot of thought, I stopped taking them. They were making me miserable, sore arms, sore chest - couldn't lift my arms above a certain height because of pain. I still, to a certain extent, have the discomfort even though I have stopped taking the blinking things. I just hope it's not permanent. I am now trying to eat healthier and exercise more, only time will tell!

  • articles.mercola.com/sites/... cleocat have you tried this intermittent fasting this helps keep my levels down as i too have suffered from the same side effects from statins i cant believe what they have done im only 48 female dont smoke or drink and was very healthy 2 years ago

  • Hi Suki65, you were kind enough to send me a message before regarding fasting and I think after I get onto healthier eating that I might just try it. The discomfort I have was statin induced although my doctor is now testing me for arthritis etc. rather than say it was the statins. I know my own body having lived in it for 67 years!

    I'm so sorry to read that they have damaged you, and I'm glad you have found something that keeps your levels down naturally. I will keep in touch through the group and let you know how I get on with fasting.


  • thats what they did they said i had arthritis of some kind but the ubiquinol i am taking is helping me with my muscle problems .

    I have just got all my bloods back and cant believe they say they are all normal but they havent told me the results ,i am giving up with the doctors no more bloods for me as i think they dont really know what results should be at .

    good luck cleocat i will keep in touch this has helped me more than my own specialist they wont admit statins hurt people

  • Sorry to hear " a few aches and pain described as worth it!

    so so wrong!I am in agony every day,and have been this way as no one thought to warn me about Statins,I had been them for years,until an Internet friend pointed out that she stopped because of the agony...

    I went to my Dr. next day and refused the statins,they were not happy.I had blood tests which showed that my Heart was failing and my kidneys and liver...and I had Fluid on the Lungs!!!!!!!!!!

    all of this showed up on a scan which showed Heart failure meaning Open heart surgery,+

    the Heart and other troubles were caused by the very painkillers I was given because of my extra unbearable joint pain,

    in my feet also.

    I was not told that the Simvastatins were too blame,,,,

    ,I was not told that the Strong painkillers was causing the Heart Failure etc.

    so,I have stopped both tablets,myself.....

    without DRS.agrreeement,and I feel in charge at last,

    maybe I have made a good or bad decision ,but,I made it...

    I was at a meeting today and every person was disabled.

    they could not believe how well I now looked.........

    they said I have looked at "Death;s Door for months........

    all because I stopped the death pills,Statins and Naproxen...

    oh I know that millions can take these pills without any problems,but,I have bad reactions to lots of pills even Morphine.......

    obviously there are plenty of Patients who can take all of these pills without any side-effects because I do suffer badly from side-effects!

    goodnight all...........Pat ....


  • Don't let them have you believe that statins are the only answer. My cholsterol level was originally 13 but now down to 4 after being prescribed fibrates and eating a low fat diet.

  • Hi personally I would not take Statins ever again. I tried 4, Mike Pollard open my eyes to problems with them, and how to alter life style changes. Don't agree with Mike 262 , altering type of food intake and regular exercise in the long term should reduce CHOL.

    If you must be on Statins, always take a CO Q10. supplement.

    The damage done to my muscles I hope can be repaired in the long term, I still know I am not the same even after 2 months off them.

    NHS should address the cause, along with the food industry, its criminal whats going into our so called healthy food.

    Regards Allyg.

    PS I had a TIA over a year ago. Mike Pollard blogged main problems due to arteriel inflammation, was told by a cardiac surgeon also.

    Eat natural food and exercise.

  • Has anyone tried ispaghula husk, it`s a kind of powder that you can buy in indian shops. It`s designed to regulate bowel function, but Iv`e heard that it can lower cholesterol as well. I`m taking it right now. I`m just wondering if anyone has had any sucess at treating high cholesterol with this stuff.

  • Have you researched any side effects? Fibre added to the diet rather than fibre that occurs naturally in food can sometimes irritate the bowel and cause problems.

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