Am I panicking unnecessarily?

I'm 41 and have recently had a result of 5.4, (3 on my bad cholesterol). My last check was 8 years ago when my overall result was 3.8. The doctor was concerned as it had gone up in this time by a considerable amount and my dad died at 45 from an unexpected heart attack. She said she was going to check me again in 12 months and decide if I need statins. It's terrified me as I'm nearing the age my dad was when he died.

I've cut basically all saturated fat from my diet and started taking benecol drinks, eating more oats and beans. I exercise regularly, I don't smoke, low end of weight range, good blood pressure, no diabetes, no thyroid or kidney problems.

I am petrified that I'm just going to drop down dead within the next couple of years due to my cholesterol. Xx

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19 Replies

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  • You have pretty much the same total C and LDL as me and I am not the least bit concerned because total C and LDL are not very good predictors of heart disease. What is your HDL level and Triglyceride level. What is your CRP level ?. Get a check on your Magnesium, Oxidised LDL and Homocysteine levels these are more important

  • I would recommend listening to A/Prof Ken Sikaris on you tube, he has one lecture called something like understanding your cholesterol numbers. I would be more concerned about your triglycerides and trying to ensure your BMI is somewhere in the normal range.

    Cutting saturated fat may not be the right thing to do, cutting carbohydrates and eating fat will lower your triglycerides, tends to be anti-inflammatory and will help your BMI. Reducing fat intake tends to introduce "low fat" products into the diet, these introduce sugar which gets stored as fat. Sugar can also cause inflammation in its worst form we become diabetic but in between being normal and needing drugs or insulin injections is a grey area, where I have read higher than normal blood sugar may cause inflammation.

    I have looked at the graphs produced by the ONS looking at deaths caused by CVD in the UK, and although the gradient is improving (since more people are giving up smoking) there has been no perceptible change of gradient with the increase of statin prescriptions.

  • My BMI is 20. Will the doctor have all these numbers already if they did a cholesterol test or will I have to have some more bloods? Xx

  • Your doctor has all the numbers, you can ask them for a print out of the good test results, also ask them for a print out of your previous test. A BMI of 20 sounds good or a bit low if anything. Just look at your triglyceride levels and try to keep them low by eating less carbs and more fat, I have found that I have lost 15 kg by going on a LCHF diet, I was "mildly obese" and am now heading toward the normal range. The other good thing about a LCHF diet is that you don't need to count calories, you can eat dairy, and we find that we don't snack between meals.

    This link should be reassuring docsopinion.com/2013/06/24/...

  • It's so confusing and there is conflicting advice everywhere. My doctor told me to lower my saturated fat as I'm a bit of a butter and cheese addict but now I'm wondering if this was correct advice???

    I think I just need to go back to the docs and have a proper chat xx

  • Danni76:

    One diet does not fit all and it seems to me that all Dr. tries to put us in that one-fit all category. Your brain in made of fat and you may be very very smart and need more fat. choose what you want to eat and just control the amount and exercise. and you will be just as well off. with much less worry.

  • The avoid saturated fat and dairy is rather old hat, the problem is the AHA and the UK have invested millions in the diet health hypothesis. A couple of years ago research pointed more against the demonisation of saturated fat and dairy.

    If you look at Toulouse in France they have lower heart disease than the UK or America the "experts" call it the French Paradox, all you can get to eat in Toulouse is, steak and a salad with a few french fries, Confit de Canard (duck cooked in duck fat), Maigrait de Canard (duck breast), Casoullet, Pate de foes Gras, and that's about it.

    Although they drink wine in general the French will turn up to watch a rugby match in a bar and will prink 250ml during the whole match, whereas the Brits will drink 2-3 litres in the same time.

    The problem is that the body can produce small dense LDL which the liver cannot absorb(this is oxidised or glycated LDL), whereas it can absorb normal healthy LDL. The problem is however is the doctors have a toolkit that will reduce LDL (not the small dense LDL) so what is the point of measuring small dense LDL if they do not have a drug to treat it? So they don't measure it. The Qrisk factor now does not take into account the LDL figure (which is normally calculated not measured)

    This Link gives you some guidance on Low carb diets dietdoctor.com/low-carb among the recipes on this site is one of my favourites dietdoctor.com/recipes/asia... try it, its really yummy and easy to prepare and great to eat.

  • Tried the Asian cabbage definitely going on my repertoire very tasty thanx

  • Hi Danni,

    You doctor has all your medical records, ask your doctor for a rick analysis and for full explanation. Life style change and regular exercise can help towards a healthy life.

    Watch out for hidden and free sugar in food and drinks.

    Ask for a coy of your blood test printed for your records. The risk analysis number is only a guide line but your GP may be able to change some number and fully explain what needs changing!

  • Hi your cholesterol numbers on the whole are not bad but you LDL needs to come down a bit, its not just about the numbers its also about all the other risk factors, I don't know your dad but do wonder why he had a major HA so young, where there contributing factors, ie was he also I'll with other diseases, was he born with a congenital heart problem.

    Try not to worry until your Dr says you have a reason to, if there leaving you a year there not too bothered.

    Try and eat sensibly not go mad and cut out all foods, yea cut down and see figures then.

  • As far as I know he wasn't born with a heart problem. He was slightly overweight, smoked and had a fairly sedentary job so I understand I haven't got those issues, it's just scary to know my ldl has risen at an age getting close to the age he was when he died.

    It's the whole 'cut out saturated fat, cut out carbs' info I keep seeing. I'm not a massive meat eater so I'm worried that I'll lose too much weight if I cut down too much. Aaarrrrggghhhh! Think I need to just go and have another chat with my doctor.

    It's my birthday tomorrow so will probably allow myself some treats then 😊

  • The important thing is not to become stressed out about it, have a wonderful birthday and have lots of the foods and drinks that you enjoy. When that is over try looking at the links I sent you and just try out a few of the recipes, my typical day does not include a lot of meat but does include cheese butter and eggs salad and olive oil, meat vegetables and red wine for supper. I also try to use lots of garlic in cooking and take additional garlic supplements to control my blood pressure (and reduce inflammation)

    I had a stent fitted when I was about your age and a bypass 15 years later, my father died at my age next year and his mother died at the age of 53, my aim is to live longer than my elder brother who is currently 73, and is extremely healthy, I do not take statins any more and have recovered from the side effects. Ask your GP to do a blood test for inflammation and use this as an indicator more if you are at risk. I have found that I can control my inflammation level by diet.

    My father was a heavy smoker, you said that your father was also a smoker, this could be the reason for their early demise, women generally live longer than men so plan for your old age and try to modify your lifestyle to eat and drink what you enjoy.

  • Danni 79

    I have had scary moment with my strokes; but I never worry about the future, it is today we need to take care of; We all are going to die, and non of us knows when.

    I have been reading this forum for a while now and IMO, high Cholesterol isn't going to do any more to you then some of the side effects.

    My cholesterol has been normal all the time, but had a stent and 4 bypass open surgery in the last 13 years; whereas my wife's cholesterol is higher than a flying kite and has a healthy heart.

  • If you want to know the risk of heart attack or stroke, read one of my previous posts:

    healthunlocked.com/choleste...

    You should also take the MPO blood test (Myeloperoxidase) which measures inflammation in your arteries.

    More important than total cholesterol or LDL-C or the so called bad cholesterol, is your LDL-P, which refers to the number of LDL particles in your blood stream rather than the volume which is what LDL-C measures. The ApoB test measure is a good proxy for particle number.

    Dietary cholesterol consumption is not as harmful as previously thought. Consumption of sugar and other simple carbohydrates such as white flour products, fruit juices, package products that contain hidden sugars, and desserts are more detrimental as they create inflammation in your arteries. This is what triggers the body to send cholesterol to the damaged site and caused plaque accumulation.

    Once you take the LP-Pla2 test you'll have a better indication of the immediate risk of heart attack. Until then, you should not get worked up as it doesn't sound like your lifestyle is that bad. You should be exercising 30 minutes per day at a minimum. A brisk walk can accomplish that.

    Reducing stress is also important, so take some time to depressurize every day. In addition, ensuring you get a full night's sleep helps your body cope with stress.

    Good luck and I encourage you to read all of my posts:

    healthunlocked.com/user/sos007

  • Have a look at this link:

    health.spectator.co.uk/to-s...

  • Enjoy your birthday.

    There are a number of response you can take an action. Your GP is the best person to offer guidance. Depending upon the age and experience, what a GP can offer matter, you may need a blood test in the next three or six months.

    I hope you GP offer you life style change before writing a prescription for statin!

    JBS3 and QRISK analysis, a GP need a good understanding to do the numbers and offer full explanation.

    Good luck with what ever path you take for a better healthy life style.

  • Hello Danni76 Just forget it and enjoy life; nobody knows what your correct level should be. Certainly don't cut out saturated fats which very important for life and don't eat that manufactured stuff. Have a read of an article at: healthscams.org.uk/saturate...

    The only thing that is good for these substitute foods is the profit it brings to the manufacturer. Just eat the foods that Nature gave us especially real 100% wholemeal bread not that factory made rubbish. There's a recipe that I use on the same site as the page I have recommended above; I make all our bread using that recipe.

  • Definitely don't worry too much, and don't stop eating saturated fats! Actually, research shows that it is precisely the people who avoid saturated fat and follow a low-fat diet, who get high cholesterol! Indeed a paradox, seemingly. Also, high cholesterol in itself is not a medical problem. The whole obsession with lowering cholesterol is based on flawed research from the fifties. There are only some cases in which this is really necessary, such as men in their fifties and sixties who have already had a heart attack, and people with familial hypercholesteremia. I agree with other respondents who say that what should be avoided are processed foods and 'bad' and tasteless bread from the supermarket. Just eat 'real' food, plenty of fruit and veg, use real butter and olive oil, and avoid trans fats.

  • Yep. Stop panicking. It'll be raising your levels. I'm older than you (albeit male), have higher levels than you and I'm still here.

    A more mediterranean diet (lots of fruit and veg and salads and wholefoods and pulses and homemade items compared to a typical English one) and reasonable exercise is still a good thing. I ignore the quackier diets that get posted on here a lot - you can spot many of these with an obsession with eating as much sat fat as they can, or calling certain manufactured foods "natural" while decrying others as "plastic".

    Your doctor can't be too worried, as 12 months is longer between checks than I've had for years!

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