High cholesterol

My labs just came in and my cholesterol is 6.92 and I'm alarmed to say the least. I turn 40 next month and lead a relatively healthy lifestyle by exercising four times a week, don't smoke, don't drink, eat a lot more poultry and egg whites than red meat and weigh 105kg. The doctor says I have a high coronary risk and overweight and should weigh 90kg for my height at 6'3inches and has prescribed Lipitor 80mg for three months. The whole idea of living healthy is to avoid such issues and here I'm dealing with this. I'll be grateful for any suggestions, thanks.

23 Replies

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  • You say, do not smoke, do not drink, do exercise and healthy life style, "How did you gain your weight?" Watch out for free and hidden sugar in food and drinks.

    There are other calculations like height to waist ratio compared to BMI. You can check your own ratio by Goggling for a height to waist ratio chart.

    Your total cholesterol is 6.9, what about other lipid numbers?, blood glucose and blood pressure?

    Did you doctor give you a number for high risk, you can do QRISK and JBS3 rick analysis on the Internet.

  • QRISK2 is more reliable

  • 80 mg is a very high dose! There are lots of reports on the internet about very serious side effects with such a high dose. Also, it is debatable whether women ever benefit from a statin. I had high cholesterol and was prescribed Crestor 10 mg - my cholesterol did go down but I also started to suffer from gradually worsening muscle pains and stiffness. I went off the Crestor almost 4 months ago and my muscle issues have almost disappeared. Will not go back on a statin - ANY statin - ever. There are also reports that particularly in women there is a correlation between a high cholesterol level and longevity - in other words, those who have the highest cholesterol live the longest.

  • If your doctor says you are 15 kgs overweight you are probably more than that. You are 40 and it is likely you will have been overweight for some time before that possibly all your life? THAT is more (far more) important than your cholesterol total reading. Check out your HDL : LDL ratio which is far more significant a factor. 4:1 is good and the target to go for. You do not say what exercise you do. Four times a week of a 10 m weights session is very different to four times a week of a 16 or 20 km run at 1.5 mm lactate (ie at low intensity) where you are burning triglycerides not glycogen. My advice is to take this as a life changing warning and change your diet. Cut out all sugar, bread, potatoes and any high GI food and do endurance exercise at low intensity for long duration. Take 180 minus your age (40) as the pulse rate not to exceed. That is 140. As you are carrying at least 15 kgs of excess weight I would also knock off 5 beats per min from your target PR ( so 135) until you are on weight target. It will take 30 weeks or so of this regime to get to your target weight but I would aim not for a weight but a percentage fat value of 10 to 15 % (10 being very fit 15 being a normal target). When I was doing Ironman seriously I got down to 5% but that is very close to the minimal health limit and leaves you open to getting infections. Get a set of Tanika scales and use them every day to get your other body facts (% fat etc) measured. Good luck!

  • Your HDL:LDL ratio is not only wrong but totally impossible - that is what the problem is with internet advice!

  • Mea culpa. You are absolutely right. For HDL: LDL please read TG:HDL. Good of you to be so kind as to correct this.

  • Sadly still seriously wrong....

    docsopinion.com/2014/07/17/...

  • I would suggest anyone concerned with Cholesterol levels watch the following excellent video which shows how to lower them with LCHF

  • Mark, Tried your link twice. It didn't work. 🤔

  • The presentation is here too

    cholesterolcode.com/about/

    Its a must see

  • Thanks Mark. I'll watch it over a cappuccino. 🤓

  • Doesn't work for me either Mark?

  • Doctors and GPs have guide line on medication in UK, some say it is not just total cholesterol but the whole picture, another one say look at QRISK calculation numbers, another one start on low dosage and check if necessary increase the dosage.

    80 mg dosage for three months!, have a look at the side effects of Lipitor!!

    From small I have been over weight, this is because of my up bringing, do not waste food, eat all the food on the plate, this was in the 50s. Your life started in the 70s, if you are a large frame person and your doctor do not know much about you at least the medical records can give information.

    You need to look at life style change v medication!

  • I was a similar weight and my cholesterol was 7 or 8 and I am now 90 kg and want to be 80 as I am a bit shorter, my cholesterol is about 6. I did this by not taking statins, I am on a LCHF diet this stands for Low Carbohydrate High Fat diet. I cut out sugar bread cakes, I eat whole eggs butter cream chicken with the skin on red meat and pork (in fact I eat meat). I try to limit potatoes (as I love roast potatoes we do them in beef dripping or goose fat but will have them once or twice a week as a treat) I also take garlic supplements. I did not cope with statins and I would recommend that you avoid them if you can. It seems counter intuitive to eat more fat and loose weight, but it works, your body does not need carbs, so when they are not available it starts to burn fat which it is designed to do, the easiest way to achieve a LCHF diet is to initially not use any pre prepared foods or sauces, then you get to know what you are putting into your body. The other good thing is you do not need to count calories.

    The other thing to understand is that the body needs cholesterol, it is oxidised or glycated cholesterol which is damaging, there are some video lectures on you tube by an assistant professor Ken Sikaris which are very interesting.

  • Everything you need is here - arguments for and against. Do your research and make your decision

    statincrap.blogspot.co.uk/?m=0

  • Without seeing how your body weight is distributed on your frame, it is difficult to assess the appropriateness of your weight relative to your height. However, if your doctor says you're too heavy it is likely that you're carrying your weight around your abdomen. If you are, then you are likely consuming too much sugar, whether in the form of simple white sugars and its equivalent such as honey, stevia, agave etc..., or in the form of simple carbohydrates such as white flour products - bread, pizza, pasta, as well as rice and potatoes. If not burned off by activity, these simple carbohydrates are stored as fat in your body. If you eat packaged foods that come in a box or a bag, chances are you are consuming sugars that you don't even recognize. Any ingredient on a label that ends with the suffix 'ose', 'itol', 'ohol', is sugar.

    Fruit juice, alcohol and soft drinks are all high in simple sugars. These forms of liquid sugar are the easiest way for people to gain body fat. Drink water or sparkling water. Alcohol - one drink per day, maximum and ideally it should be red wine.

    While in your mind you've been convinced by 30 years of medical guidance that staying away from animal fat is all you need to do to stay healthy, as well as exercise 4 days per week, it is not the complete perspective required to understand nutrition and fitness health.

    You did not mention in your post your consumption of dairy. Cheese especially is 'calorie dense' in other words, a small quantity provides a lot of calories and saturated fat. Ice cream, sour cream, plain cream, butter, all of these things are calorie dense. Use extra-virgin olive oil in place of butter.

    As for exercise - some people think doing housework is exercise. By exercise we mean at least 30 minutes of a sustained elevated heart rate of over 120 bpm. Four days per week is not enough. This form of exercise must be done daily. It is very easy if you simply go for a brisk walk on a daily basis for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can workout in a gym 4 days per week comprised of 30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes of resistance training, and walk the other 3 days per week as described.

    Personally, I walk every day for 30 minutes as well as workout in a gym 4 days per week, each time for 90 minutes - comprised of 60 minutes resistance training and 30 minutes cardio.

    Sugar is toxic for the body and is also 8 times more addictive than cocaine. It also shuts off the leptin hormone in the brain that controls how much you eat. The more sugar in your diet, the more insatiable your appetite is.

    Lipitor is a statin drug. These drugs can have very harmful side-effects over time. The sooner you get off of this drug, the better. However, you should never come off any drug cold-turkey. Wean yourself off by reducing the dosage by 5 mg every 2 weeks until you get to zero.

    However you must commit to a change in your diet and lifestyle.

    In order to change you must be motivated and held accountable. So get an activity measuring device like a 'fitbit' to monitor your daily activity. You should also check your blood profile every 3 months. Everything you eat contributes to the blood-work results so you'll force yourself to stay disciplined.

    The simplest way to start your healthy lifestyle is to cut out sugars. Be warned, if your body has become addicted to sugar, your mood will turn foul in the first 2-3 weeks as you are detoxifying your body. Be prepared and warn those around you.

    You'll probably lose 20 pounds just by cutting out the sugars and doing nothing else. However, you must ramp up your exercise. Aim for a 30 minute walk daily and you can address the resistance training in the gym in time.

    The issue with red meat is not necessarily the fat, but the affect on your gut's bacteria composition. Eating red meat one meal per week is fine. Egg whites are great, as is skipjack tuna packed in water, and having 2 meals of cold water fish per week, such as salmon, trout and arctic char.

    On a daily basis you should focus on fresh foods. Fruits are fine as long as you eat the whole thing and not just have the juice. Blueberries and blackberries are best, as well as apples. Eat these fruits daily. You can also have oranges. If you have these fruits daily they will fill you and you'll eat fewer, high-density foods.

    Your dietary focus should be on legumes and vegetables. Legumes are things like beans, chick peas and lentils. Look up some Mediterranean recipes for these foods on the internet.

    You can learn more about my accomplishments by reading all of my previous posts, here:

    healthunlocked.com/user/sos007

    You should also watch these videos to educate yourself about sugar:

    - Dr.Lustig – Sugar Addiction Explained - 7 minutes

    - Jamie Oliver - Sugar Rush – diabetes epidemic in U.K. and elsewhere – 47 minutes.

    You don't have to feel hungry, you can eat large quantities of 'low calorie density foods' such as vegetables, legumes, and fruits. Lean chicken is acceptable 3 times per week as well.

    You should consider 'goat milk' and goat dairy products such as feta and goat cheese. Look for - 'grass fed or pasture raised' cow dairy and meat products. However these foods are calorie dense and should be consumed fewer days per week.

    The best carbohydrates are 'complex carbohydrates' such as whole grains. Found in oatmeal, bran, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice, and air-popped popcorn. Sweet potatoes are also a good starch.

    Check out this short video on calorie dense foods:

    Best of luck.

  • Be careful about people who advocate a low carb, high fat diet 'LCHF'. This description is too simple. Complex carbohydrates are not bad, although you should eat them in moderation - low carbs refers to simple carbohydrates made from white-flour products, and simple sugars as described in my first reply - these you must stay away from altogether.

    High fat - can mean different things to different people. There are good fats - such as extra-virgin olive oil, and fats contained in nuts and seeds. Animal fats though can be toxic due to use of hormones in the animal's feed. Fats are also calorie-dense, a small serving provides a lot of calories. You can have one tablespoon of olive oil, or 2 apples - which do you think will fill you up more? If you're trying to lose weight, keep fat consumption lower until you achieve your objectives.

    There are four genetic profiles in the human population. The most common is genotype 3 for 60% of the population. This genotype will succeed with the low carb, 'moderate' fat diet. However some other genotypes will respond poorly to 'any' fats which can result in serious medical conditions. There is no 'one size' fits all solution when it comes to diet. However, consuming a plant-based, low complex-carb, low-moderate 'good-fat' diet, has a high probability of success for most people - so try that first.

    There is no free lunch in health, you cannot eat in a glutinous fashion and assume you will be healthy because of some fad diet craze says its okay to eat a lot of fat.

  • Distinguishing between complex and simple carbohydrates is also too simplistic; many starches are turned to glucose in the body faster than table sugar, as you've touched on briefly above. Wheat biscuits and wheat that is shredded are high in fibre, yet still quickly absorbed as glucose.

    Whilst you are right that nothing can be eaten with impunity, natural fat is the least reactive, causing relatively little hormone stimulation compared to protein, with carbohydrate causing the most hormone stimulation.

    The geno-typing is akin to 'Eat Right for Your Type'. We will have tolerance differences dependant on the evolutionary lifestyle of our ancestors, but we are all recognisable as people. We all have a large intestine that is smaller than that of great apes, indicating that we are designed to eat less low-calorie, fibrous food than them, although vegetables should make up the bulk of the volume of food that we eat.

  • @ concerned - I appreciate your feedback as we all have something to learn from each other.

    I don't think I advocated the consumption of any high glycemic complex carbohydrates. I also noted that even complex carbohydrates should be consumed in low quantities. I personally have only one slice of whole grain bread per day and ensure that the carb/fibre ratio is 5 or less. fiberisthefuture.com/2015/1...

    As for fat, the material I have read indicates that diets that are high in animal fat stimulate the production of more estrogen which is related to increases in certain cancers.

    Although fat is definitely needed in the diet, once again, it must be done in moderation with most of it coming from healthy plant-based fat such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Some animal fat is inevitable with a low-moderate consumption of chicken and is acceptable as long as it does not represent a large component of the daily diet.

    Even if you differ with this view, it cannot be argued that fat is calorie-dense and therefore something that cannot be consumed in large quantities for somebody trying to lose weight.

    None of us on this website are doctors and scientists and that's why I caution that there are few absolutes when it comes to diet. Even the medical and scientific community who study these matters in detail don't have complete evidence that proves causation between certain foods and cardiovascular disease.

    What I CAN say definitively is what worked for me - daily exercise combined with a low complex carb, low animal fat diet. I had a triple-bypass in March 2015 and by October 2016 I had lost 35 lbs and weaned myself from all prescription medication.

    On my current diet, I don't experience hunger pains between meals nor drowsiness after eating. The foods I eat provide satiety and nutrition. I check my blood-work every 6-8 weeks to ensure all is well.

    Thanks once again for the stimulative discourse.

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