Cholesterol Support

STEMI

Fairly fit guy of 66 used to walking between 6 and 12 miles most days, DIY, gardening, playing with grandkids etc. After a coupla day playing golf with a nights heavy drinking, woke on Sunday morning preparing for another round when I experienced what I thought was severe indigestion. 3 hours later I'd had a stent fitted to unblock my lower right coronary artery. Apart from tubes and monitors dangling, I felt better immediately. Prior to the problem, I was on Statins and BP reducing pills, a smoker and an iffy diet, although not overweight. I had obviously pushed the envelope believing that controlling BP and Cholesterol, I was OK. Discharged after 2 days, prescribed 5 pills a day but feel better than I did before my problem. Sleeping better, not so tired during the daytime. I feel I could return to my activities now but realise frustratingly that I need to pace myself. I count myself lucky.

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Glad to hear you are OK, sadly there is a whole world full of people who have been led to believe that if they take Statins and lower their cholesterol then they have their heart disease risk under control. Everybody would be far better of radically changing their diet and lifestyle rather than taking Statins but they are never told this.

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I agree to a certain extent but feel that statin and blood pressure medication has prevented me having heart problems earlier......my father died at 49 and brother at 37 from cardiac arrest. I was naive however in thinking this medication and keeping fit was enough, whilst still smoking and eating a good amount of rubbish. I feel much better now than before my event and hope my echo cardiogram on the 19th Oct will not reveal too much damage and I can get back somewhere close to the activities I used to do.

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I hope by activities you do not mean smoking and eating rubbish ?

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Certainly not. I have seen the light. Golfing, playing with the grandkids, diy and gardening.

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Still on statin and blood pressure tablets but also platelet inhibitor (for 12 months), beta blocker and aspirin. My problem has been naivety. I would strongly advise anyone who has a history of heart disease in the family and felt invulnerable, like I did, to have a heart scan to detect any potential problems.

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I had a heart scan because my wife wanted to see what my high-fat way of eating is doing to me, especially as I too have heart disease in the family; my dad had two heart attacks by the age of 58. My cousin died of a stroke at 54

Statins are only effective in preventing 2% of CHD events, and if you continue to eat foods like most bread (including wholemeal), Weetabix, Shredded Wheat, cornflakes, bran flakes, rice, baked beans, potatoes, scones, reduced-fat dairy and so forth believing them to be heart friendly then unfortunately the risk will continue. The insulin/IGF-1 these foods stimulate exacerbate the problem.

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Thanks for your input. Perhaps I should be concerned because the booklet given to me by my Cardio Rehab representative, recommends a number of those foods you detail. I'm having a consultation with Cardio Rehab on Wednesday and make a point of discussing diet.

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Certainly and thanks.

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@empera

We all need a wake up call. The key now is NOT to assume the meds will protect you because as you have already seen, they don't.

I can tell you from personal experience, that the beta-blocker (metoprolol) which regulates heart rate and is meant to be protective, has some unpleasant side effects. If you start to exercise, it will restrict you and give you the feeling of shortness of breath; it also causes anxiety. The platelet inhibitor is, I assume, 'clopidogrel' or 'plavix' - this really thins your blood and I found sub-cutaneous veins would grow little bumps on my scalp that when I scratched them, caused bleeding - benign but annoying.

I'm currently 55, 52 when I had a triple bypass in March 2015, then 5 stents and was given all the same medications you were given, along with a high dose of Crestor - 30 mg. I was 195 lbs or 88.45 kg, at the time, I am 5' 10" tall or 178 cm.

My cardiologist said that the surgery just bought me time, that my disease was still there and it was up to me to address the cause of it - diet and lifestyle.

I began walking initially with progressive duration and intensity. I started with 10 minutes and worked my way up to over one hour per day. I also changed to a plant-based, whole foods, diet. I did NOT actively measure calories or try to restrict them. More vegetables, more fruit, more legumes, more fish, but NO animal protein such as chicken or beef or pork. I still ate dairy (mostly full fat goat milk but also some cow daily in the form of 2% plain Greek yogurt) and had egg white omelettes (a full cup) as a protein substitute.

This allowed me to lose weight. My target was 15,000 steps per day which translates roughly into 6.5 miles. Half of those were done at a brisk pace to elevate my heart rate. This is were the beta blocker frustrated me as I felt a restriction in my breathing. At first I thought my arteries had re-occluded, but my cardiologist assured me that wasn't likely.

As I lost the weight I would get dizzy so, with my GPs permission, I cut back on the blood pressure medication (ramipril) until gradually I stopped taking it. The beta-blocker also regulates blood pressure, so in essence you have two meds to control BP. I checked my blood work every 6 weeks to see how my lipid measures were changing. Every success motivated me to remain disciplined in my diet. I did not cheat, no sweets whatsoever.

I eventually realized that I was losing muscle as well as fat and could not get rid of the stubborn belly fat. After extensive online reading, I changed my exercise to include 30 minutes of resistance training every other day. While my cardio changed from walking to something called 'high intensity interval training' or HIIT. The nature of my HIIT workout was short and simple initially, but as my conditioning improved, I progressively made it more challenging. HIIT is the best way to get rid of belly fat and fat in general, as well as eliminating all simple carbohydrates - all desserts, sugar, honey (still have 1/4 teaspoon with breakfast tea and yogurt only), maple syrup, fruit juices, soft drinks, alcohol (except for 1 glass of red wine a few days per week), white bread, white pasta, white pizza dough, white rice, and white potatoes.

18 months after my surgery and stenting, in October 2016, after getting into the best shape of my life and experiencing and reading about the horrible side effects of statins, I weaned off of both the beta-blocker AND the statin (in 5 mg steps every 6 weeks from January to October 2016). The weaning process around the beta-blocker was horrible as I thought one day I was having a heart attack. I called an ambulance and they took an EKG at my home and told me my heart was fine - the weaning from the beta-blocker triggered an anxiety attack which can manifest itself as chest pain.

Today I only take an 81 mg tablet of baby aspirin and a bunch of vitamins daily. Exercise and a healthy diet achieve everything statins do, but without the side-effects.

The most important thing I realized is that LDL on its own is not the best indicator of CVD risk - the VLDL sub-component of LDL, which is determined by your triglyceride level divided by 2.2 is a better risk metric. In order to address this, you must eliminate simple carbohydrates from your diet, which I have done. Most doctors today are not up to date on CVD research and still advocate the low fat diet. The best solution is low simple carbs, and you can have some healthy fats as found in nuts and olive oil. You can also have lean chicken a couple of meals per week. I still avoid red meat and all other animal proteins though.

I'm currently 155 lbs or 70.3 kg.

Read my earlier posts below:

healthunlocked.com/choleste...

healthunlocked.com/choleste...

healthunlocked.com/choleste...

Good luck.

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May I ask why you take the Vitamins. Can you not get all you want from food.

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Certain vitamins help with reducing cholesterol and lowering blood platelet stickiness, as well as reducing the risk of blood clots. Turmeric, and Folate.

My B12 was at the low end of normal for a stretch so I take a B12 vitamin as a supplement.

I also take Lysine and Vitamin C to see if they can lower my Lp (a) which is genetically determined level of lipoprotein that can predispose you to higher cholesterol levels.

There are others as well - if interested, send me a private message and I'll give you full details.

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Interesting. I try to get everything from food but would not know i was deficient anyway.

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What was your experience with open heart surgery and recovery?

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My post reflects my personal experience so others can learn and benefit. If you read it carefully, I noted my increase in exercise intensity was very gradual.

It is one thing to opine about something, even for a cardiologist, it is another to actually experience it.

Those who listen exclusively to doctors without questioning and learning on their own, live life with a cocktail of medications. All medications have side-effects, and often new medications are prescribed to offset the side-effects of existing medication and it becomes a vicious circle.

Advice on diet and exercise is ubiquitous, however I have actually accomplished what many others are trying to do. I lost all of my excess weight, improved my fitness, and in doing so, improved my endothelial function which implies the beginning of a reversal of my heart disease, and repaired my heart muscle's damage as noted in my recent echo-cardiogram. I have also stopped taking all medications except for 81 mg of aspirin.

People don't need to be warned away about my process, they should learn it, then do their own homework and make their own decisions about what portion of it, if any, they choose to emulate.

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