8.9 risk of a stroke

I am new with this. I am hoping someone in this group can tell me if this has happened to them. My cardiologist called me into her office and said she was required by the American Heart Association and by law to have this patient and doctor discussion with me. She told me that I am at 8.9 risk of having a stroke due to my high Cholesterol numbers. I was so shocked I couldn't think straight. I wanted to ask 8.9 out of what? 8.9 out of 10? Immediately she wanted to put me on Cholesterol medicine. But honestly I don't want to be on any more medicine than I am already taking.

24 Replies

  • Just read your comment twice to make sure I was reading correctly, are you really saying you prefer to chance a stroke because you don't want to take your doctors advice ??

    I, and I'm sure no one wants to take medicine, we don't want to be ill.

    When I was told of my risk, I couldn't get to the chemist fast enough, my mother had a stroke and if I can avoid it I will take anything. The doctors do not give results that are guessed, it's factual.

    Please 're-think

  • Before any medication a full explanation is necessary!, What was the reason for blood test? If life style change can help then this is the starting point and then medication.

  • Thank you for your reply. I would really like to see if changing my diet and try losing weight first to see if this will help change my total cholesterol numbers before I start taking cholesterol pills. I have a wonderful and caring cardiologist. She called me at work to check on me after getting the 8.9 risk talk. I told her if I can't lower my cholesterol numbers by my next scheduled blood work test (Sept 7th) then I would reconsider. I totally understand why some people cannot understand why I didn't run fast to the first pharmacy. Both of my parents had heart issues and yes my mother had a stroke. My parents did nothing to change their eating habits or exercise to try to improve things. We live in a world today that gives us more choices for healthy eating. I feel I have to at least try before running to the first pharmacy for cholesterol medicine.

  • You say your cardiologist is wonderful ($$$).? Do you now know what is 8.9?

    Please explain this to all of us!

    No to cholesterol lowering medication, yes to life style change!!!

  • A life style change can help you to a healthy life. Watching out for hidden and free sugar.

    Regular exercise and food and drinks intake control.

    You cardiologist did not give you a full explanation, can you go back and ask for full explanation and a printed copy of blood test and the unit of measurement.

    In USA blood test are given in different units compared to UK.

    There is QRISK analysis, which is given in a %.

  • I totally agree with you. That's why I didn't run as fast as I could to a pharmacy cholesterol medicine. I am watching everything I eat with the help of mefitnesspal app tracking my protein intake, sodium, sugar and carbs. If this doesn't work and bring down my cholesterol numbers then I will reconsider taking the cholesterol medicine

  • I think in your position I would want to know a lot more and you ask a very pertinent question 8.9 out of what? How is that risk calculated? Also it is pertinent to remember that this is a statistic based upon herd statistics and no one can tell you what would happen in your case.

    I am in UK so I know there are differences but we have what is called a CHADSVASC scoring system for things like prescribing anti-coagulants which protect people from strokes who are at high risk from certain heart conditions. I had AF and was told I had high risk of stroke from AF so did take meds for a while, though hated it. I was treated for AF so my consultant was happy I stop meds after being free of AF for 1 year. Risk v benefit.

    I was also called in for the same talk with my GP as my cholesterol level is around 7 (UK scale) which is the border line for 'that' talk. I refused offer of statins for several reasons - which my doctor agreed with me about.

    Drugs, especially those prescribed as preventative carry benefit and risks as they ALL carry possible side effects. MIn my particular case the risks of side effects were higher than the possible benefits for taking statins so I declined statins.

    My view from the UK is that unless you are at very high risk of stroke or heart attack from blocked arteries or other high risk diseases or have familial high cholesterol or cannot lower your cholesterol by life style changes - I personally would not take statins.

    But I do work hard to keep cholesterol under control and I am tested every 6 months or so and monitored and review with my GP at my annual check up.

    My point is that diet and exercise would be my first choice to lower cholesterol. I would seek genetic testing for familial high cholesterol, read a lot about what the benefits and risks are and make an informed decision based upon personal circumstances.

    Best wishes

  • God bless you for posting a reply. I was starting to think I was the only one who had been called in for a talk like this. I agree with you I want to try diet and exercise and testing every 4 to 6 months. Thank you so much for your post😊

  • I suggest you read Spectrum by Dr Dean Ornish, you can find him on the web plus many other American doctors that advise on WFPB NO OIL DIST. Your own ex a President Clinton follows this method since his heart attack many years ago. I have been on this way of eating for ten months, all weight and cholesterol levels down.

  • Thank you. I will look this up and read it. Thank you for replying to my post.

  • With the greatest respect to those of you who use all sorts of I'm sure different ways to keep fit, but I can't understand why anyone would have any tests done, or visit a doctor in the first place to then disregard their advice.

  • Regular exercise and food and drinks intake is a better way for healthy life.

    Medical tests and calculations are man made therefore there is an element of error!

    Human body can always tell us if there is a problem we can take the necessary action or go for medical help.

  • That's just what I think, when you visit a doctor you want their help, so why ignore it ?

  • Because Doctors aren't always right and drugs aren't always the answer and have a downside somewhere. Believe I know to my cost. Sometimes the cure is as harmful as the disease.

  • Exactly! I think diet and exercise should at least be tried first before running to the first pharmacy I see. Learning to listen to my own body took me some time to learn. Doctor's are quick to prescribe medicine. I want to be able to read the side effects that go alone with taking cholesterol medicine before I say yes to it.

  • With height and waist ratio check there is only one variable! the waist and it is very simple to check and mange. Google can provide more information on this.

    The algorithm used in many medical calculations are questioned now days.

  • Then I return to my original point, why waste the doctors time ?

  • It's not wasting the doctor's time from my perspective. The test has identified a problem - namely cholesterol high but not excessively high. With this, as I see it, there are four options. (1) Do absolutely nothing and carry on as before (I think not a good one). (2) Modify diet, exercise, etc to see how much it can be pulled down. (I think this is the best option initially). (3) Take a statin (see below and not an initial choice nor a permanent solution I believe in many cases). (4) Take natural remedies (needs careful research and checks scout contradictions).

    GPs are trained in giving out medicines and for many that is their first reaction. Also they are paid to dish out statins. For some people they work fine and they get no or few symptoms. For others they get symptoms but don't attribute to statins. Also people don't change lifestyle because of relying on statin, if necessary increasing the dose. However there is mounting evidence that many can sort things out without recourse to medication and the fewer medications the better!!

    A few weeks back in the Daily Mail one of the regular GP writers said to many people taking drugs to counteract one thing or another especially side effects. I think it was one lady in her 80s who he reviewed and he reduced from approx 8 or 9 to 1 drug.

    As soon as my heart problems were diagnosed blood test showed cholesterol was elevated so she suggested straight on to simavastatin (lowish dose). About 4.5 months later pharmacy suggested a medicine review with the pharmacist. From that she said that I was overdue a blood test. GP arranged and then multiple urgent calls from secretary because liver function significantly impaired and it was over 4 times that allowed. Cholesterol had dropped too low at 2.x. Immediately simavastatin stopped. Fortunately after 6 weeks or so had dropped back to normal. However 18 months later cholesterol still nicely in range just by diet. Most of the cramps, etc have now gone.

    Also by managing diet and lifestyle for cholesterol has many other health benefits that aren't given by statins.

  • Well said! That exactly why I chose to change my diet and start walking 30 minutes a day.

  • PS. If I hadn't been lucky with a proactive pharmacist then I could have ended up with liver failure and possibly dying.

  • Hello,

    Please ask your cardiologist about "Zio Xt Patach", this patch is attached to your body for 2 weeks to monitor heart's activities, the data is then analysed in California, USA at the manufactures facility, the results are then sent to your cardiologist to check and offer medication or life style change. This is a new development and it is better then electro cardiogram. I got this information in the copy of UK's Mail on Sunday, health section.

    No calculation all the information is from the heart's activity over 14 days..

  • Hi Bala - there was a post about this device on the AF forum from someone in US and I did some. Research about it - it really sounds like a piece of kit and far better than those clumsy mobile monitors we were given!

  • My wife had 24-hour blood pressure monitor, yes it was very clumsy and difficult, specially at night. I took the readings and drew a GRAPH. When the device was returned no graph, no full explanation, simply all OK!

    I will do further research on this device.

  • I wasn't talking about BP monitor - I would imagine that it would be very uncomfortable at night, have only been monitored 24/7 for BP in hospital - mine was a holter for arrhythmia so recorded an ECG (EKG for the US).

    Sounds like this new patch will replace them, eventually! Sounds like a superb bit of kit but I cannot see the NHS buying into them in the present economic state. A few posts on the arrhythmia sites about them.

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