I have closely followed all the debates about statins, and sugar vs. saturated fat, and am a believer that the pharmaceutical industry has vastly overplayed the benefits of statins. I have been on statins for the past eight years, but decided to give myself a break from them, and came off them for seven months. I was disappointed to discover that my serum cholesterol level subsequently rose to its highest level yet: 8.4. The thing is, for the first time ever my blood tests also included a test for inflammation.
Given that some believe inflammation to now be the cause of elevated cholesterol, I was worried that this might also show an unwanted result, so was surprised that my serum C Reactive protein was at the low end of normal (2mg/l). My erythrocyte sedimentation rate – another indicator of inflammation – was also normal – just 2mm/hr (2-15 being ‘normal’). My HDL and serum triglycerides were ‘normal’, but serum cholesterol was 8.4 and LDL was 6.2. So: no apparent evidence of inflammation and yet elevated cholesterol.
Now, I would not be too concerned about this elevation in LDL/serum cholesterol except for the fact that I have recently been told that I am showing evidence of endothelial dysfunction, which the internet tells me is among the first signs of cardiovascular disease. This shocked me. On my GP and consultant’s advice, I have therefore put myself back on 20mg of statins – and am waiting to see how they bring down my levels.
I feel depressed to think that I might be showing early signs of cardiovascular disease. I am 44, not overweight, go to the gym at least three times a week, and jog 10km every weekend. My blood pressure is normal, I show no signs of diabetes, and I don’t drink or smoke. I’m aware that statins can affect nutrient levels, and so I take daily doses of co-enzyme Q10, cod liver oil, kyolic garlic, L-arginine and other supplements. I don’t really know what more I can do to keep heart disease at bay? Is it just down to genetics? What scares me most is that my maternal grandfather died at the age of 48 from a heart attack, and my dad had a heart bypass in his 60s. Is it possible to reverse endothelial dysfunction? Are there more tests that I should be pushing for, or anything else that I should be doing? Any advice or ideas welcome – thanks.