My husband has been taking statins for 22 years after a double heart bypass op. This year his "new" arteries were found to be clogged up (so

(so much for statins reducing cholesterol) and a stent was fitted after angina. We decided to go on Dr Dean Ornish's diet since last July (vegan diet really) and all is going well? However, we live in rural France and our french doctor and heart specialist have not heard of dietary control of cholesterol and so it is difficult to ask about reducing tablets. My husband would like to stop taking the statins but wants to know whether it is OK to just stop or to should he reduce gradually. We would be grateful for any thoughts.

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  • Hi Jdottie,

    I don't have the answer but am in a similar position in that I have been taking statins for 10 years and two months ago had a bypass operation. I came across Caldwell Essestyn's and Dean Ornish studies 5 months ago and have adopted their "reversal diet". I also was thinking that perhaps I can reduce my statin but as I have no side effects I am also happy to continue. My current strategy is to keep to the vegan diet of no dairy but I have re-introduced a little protein from salmon, sardines and lean chicken occasionally. I also monitor my cholesterol regularly and aim to keep TC below 3.75 and LDL below 1.8. Age also has a big impact, I am 64. I don't think statins are the answer but keeping active, weight and diet as optimum as possible will only help. Some people are unfortunately predisposed to heart disease and your husband and I are probably in this category. My father died of a sudden heart attack aged 69.

  • Hi Bobaxford, thanks for your reply and comments. Our biggest difficulty is lack of interest from the medical people here in the diet to reduce cholesterol. We think that it is probably going to be possible to stop taking statins and also to lower the BP tablets because with the diet his blood pressure has dropped, mine too for that matter as I eat the same. We get all our protein from Quorn, tofu, pulses and beans? We have both lost weight. My husband can easily now do an hour in the gym on the cardio equipment which, as last July he could only manage to slowly walk a few hundred yards up the road, is pretty amazing! The medics here have the attitude that since my husband is 75, he must just keep taking all the pills and do as little as possible. Not going to happen! He has always been very active. Our specialist cut his blood pressure tabs by half last year at our insistence because my husband was collapsing every time he got up from a chair or bent down to pick something up. Anyway, life goes on and I shall just keep plugging away to make the changes we think are possible. It is nice to know others are doing the same to recover from their health challenges and being successful too.

  • Agree with lack of interest of GP and doctors re diet impact on reducing cholesterol - my experience is exactly the same. I am also sticking very much with the Ornish diet. Hope all goes well for you and your husband, seems like you are doing all the right things. I also can't seem to get any answers re my medications, it seems once you are on them the health professionals want to keep you on them for evermore.

  • Dear dottie, thank you for sharing your dilemma... Whether to stop taking statins now you are treating the cause by taking a plant based diet. It is so simple for us who have had a stent. My friend who had 95% stenosis (I had only 70% stenosis) had decided not to go for bypass or stents and went on plant based diet 6 years ago. He has a cholestrol level of a top athlete (1) and doesn't take any pills or asprin or statins!

    I wouldinvite readers to watch Dr Caldwell Esselstyn's video please and follow up on Dr Ornish. Hindsight is a great thing but if I had known then what I know now I would have opted for the plant diet as it is the only method that actually improves one's situation. Invasive surgery has its risks as I have found out. Will I be able to reverse it?... Not with aspirin or statins as they only stem the situation. Obviously the pharmaceutical companies benefit from a patient on a life long medication.... But unless diet is addressed then it is only a sticking plaster.

    Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that something was done but I feel long term for someone who has never been used to taking pills, I'd sooner have a diet that heals my arteries and makes them young again and helps avoid prostrate and type 2 diabetes into the bargain.

    Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn argues that heart attacks, the leading cause of death for men and women worldwide, are a "food borne illness" and explains why diet is the most powerful medicine

    ornishspectrum.com/ornish-c...

    Fat,sick and nearly dead... YouTube video endorses everything above.

    Doctors will not risk telling us to stop taking statins now that we have stents inserted.

    Those who were given the option of treating the cause by a plant based diet and exercise are in a better off.

    Hope this helps, I am in the same dilemma!

    John

  • I tried the second link but it is incomplete, fat sick and nearly dead... I would be interested it see this video. Thanks if you can repost the link.

  • Hi,

    Try Google, Fat, sick and nearly dead, this may take you to a number of video clips!

  • Dear bobaxford, here is YouTube link ,, Best, John

    Fat, sick and nearly dead - Full Movie - YouTube

    ► 94:37► 94:37

    22 May 2013 - Uploaded by JustLoveFaithHope

    Fat, sick and nearly dead - Full Movie ... talk with Joe Cross of "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" by ...

  • Sloopjohns, many thanks for the link. Watched the film yesterday and well worth it.

  • Hi Dottie

    Perhaps the Patient UK site may help with your decision?

    patient.co.uk/health/statin...

    I would guess that most medicines need to be phased out gradually. It is also possible that your husband's cholesterol level may rise once he stops taking statins. As Bobaxford has said, genetics, family history play a part in your decision. Good luck with sorting this out. Also good luck with being vegan or even vegetarian in France!

    Perhaps try looking up The French Paradox, for a different view on things.

  • The French didn't used to have as much heart disease, until they adopted the global diet.

    Get most of your carbohydrate from low glycaemic vegetables, and finish your meal with natural fat and protein such as cheese (not with biscuits) that helps 'shut-off' your appetite.

  • Statins do lower cholesterol, but as cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease it doesn't surprise me that your husband had a stent fitted whilst taking statins.

    Stress and sugar cause heart disease obviously I'd include smoking in with that.

    As far as using diet to control cholesterol , well I'm afraid again not much good news there.

    Our bodies produce 85% of cholesterol we only consume 15% and if we eat more then our bodies produce less so diet doesn't help our overall cholesterol levels.

    Finally I'd just like to add that statins do have a place in treating heart disease only in middle aged men with heart disease, this isn't due to their cholesterol lowering properties but simply because statins contain anti inflammatories. Having said that the mortality rate for this group is just 3 months prolonged life, in my opinion it's not worth suffering severe side effects simple to live an extra 3 months and that's someone whose taken statins for a minimum of 10 years.

    I'd rather have a good quality of life than a few months extra in bad health.

    By the way if you take a statin simply because doctor says you're at risk of heart disease you do not increase your mortality by more than a couple of days.

    I hope I've helped clarify a few points for you and I wish you husband well

    Take care

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