Statin Dilemma: I am a 61 year old woman... - Cholesterol Support

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Statin Dilemma

I am a 61 year old woman; I was diagnosed with high cholesterol two and a half years ago. I had that appointment at the Lipid Clinic, and was advised to start a small dose of Statins, Simvastatin. At that time I refused to take the statins and was left to be reviewed at a later date. I was told that if the thyroid could be ruled out, it would be familial. I am fostered so I do not know my family, except for two Aunts who I found recently. My thyroid test has just come back as normal. At the Lipid Clinic last year, I was also told that if I did not accept taking the statins, I would be discharged from the Lipid Clinic. One year on I have had another blood cholesterol test; just waiting for those results. I still do not want to take the statins, due to everything I have found out about them. My dilemma is that I have a Lipid Clinic telephone appointment this Friday; therefore, I need to give my answer around taking or not taking statins. I am still of the opinion that I do not want to take the statins. I have tried diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, but I am sure I could improve further on this. If I am no longer under the Lipid Clinic, my plan is to continue with lifestyle changes and just get my cholesterol checked annually. I am unsure of what questions I need to be asking the clinician. I did wonder about taking plant sterol supplements?? I found this on the Internet. The cholesterol paragraph is interesting: zoeharcombe.com/2014/06/dia...

I have found this forum so helpful and understanding; so would be grateful for any advice. Below are test results from June of last year:

Cholesterol:

Serum lipid levels (June 2018)

Serum cholesterol level 6.58 mmol/L

Serum triglyceride levels 1.75 mmol/L [0.3 - 2.3]

Serum HDL cholesterol level

Serum HDL cholesterol level 1.59 mmol/L [1.15 - 1.68] – 61.48492 mg/dl

Serum LDL cholesterol level

Serum LDL cholesterol level 4.19 mmol/L = 162.0263 mg/dl

Serum cholesterol/HDL ratio 4.14

Thyroid (June 2019)

Thyroid function test

Serum TSH level 1.65 miu/L [0.27 - 4.2]

Serum free T4 level 18.9 pmol/L [12.0 - 22.0]

36 Replies
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I guess they didn't tell you that these are the most common drivers cardiovascular disease:

a) sub-optimal blood sugars/insulin, and..

b) high, frequent or regular consumption of sugars, carbs, starches, grains.. which leads to raised Triglycerides, and..

c) seed (veg) oils (e.g. sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, maize oil, corn oil, canola, mazola, soy bean oil, margarines), and..

d) inflammation, and..

e) thyroid dysfunction, and..

Best to get the printout of all recent lab results WITH the reference ranges from your lipid clinic and GP practice, and then post them on Thyroid UK and here.

As far as I'm concerned, a cholesterol of 6.5 is fine. Instead, lower your Triglycerides by reducing all sugars, carbs, starches, grains and ultra-processed foods.

Eat real foods and real fats. Don't fear good quality meat, eggs, butter, etc. If poss, get animal produce that is organic and grass-fed.

Maintain optimal Vit D3 all year round.

grassrootshealth.net/wp-con...

In addition to taking Vit D3, I also take a few other things... including Vit B Complex, Vit B12, Vit C, and Magnesium.

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Ps. Doctors/clinics are financially rewarded for putting people on statins. Think about that. 🤔

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Thanks for your reply. I have much more to do on the healthy diet front. That said, I have increased the fruit and veg intake. I watch carefully any sugar content in foods, and go for reduced sugar or no added sugar. I have decreased the meat intake, however, I still have a small amount of organic beef only once a week. I wont get the latest test results until I speak with the clinician on Friday; I will give my answer regarding statins then.

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Have just read your post of a year ago when you mentioned you were deficient in VitD at a level of 18. Has this level improved ? Were you re-tested ? I am sure you know that VitD is a steroidal pro-hormone and anti-inflammatory - so much more than a vitamin. When VitD is low it often follows that other vitals are low due to poor absorption - B12 is good at 500++ - Folate and Ferritin are good mid-range and VitD over 100.

I appreciate you are focusing on diet but if your absorption of nutrients is poor then the benefits will be minimal.

Do you have Hashimotos ? - auto-immune thyroid ? Often present with low VitD. I know I have asked before - Sorry 😊 So often Doctors do not test the anti-bodies TPO and Tg - involved in Hashimotos - and people remain undiagnosed for years. Having Hashimotos can be the cause of poor uptake of nutrients from foods as the stomach and digestion generally is affected.

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No I haven't had Vitamin D levels re-checked. I was told I have an underactive thyroid.

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Yes I have read you have an UAT - but have you had thyroid anti-bodies tested to rule out Hashimotos ?

VitD should be tested twice a year when supplementing ..

Health is like money - take care of the pennies and the pounds look after themselves. So give your body good building blocks and preventative ingredients to give it a fighting chance. Treating symptoms like cholesterol is a rabbit hole 😊

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Zoe's writing , Q&A excellent.

Why? were you referred to lipid clinic.?

May be life style change, watching out for free and hidden sugar and regular exercise is the healthy option.

One of your question, You could ask for a risk analysis, QRISK or JBS 3 and full explanation.

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Hello, thanks for your reply. Yes Zoe's writing gives me hope.

I was referred to the Lipid due to having high cholesterol. The clinician said LDL cholesterol was too high

I am working on a more healthy diet and lifestyle.

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You can ask another question.

Why is your LDL lipid value considered high?

Please do give us an update with the latest blood test and answers to your questions.

Thanks.

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Yes, of course I will post the results and answers. However, the results will be sent to my GP first and then on to me, so could take a while. At the Lipid Clinic there is only one clinician in post, at this current time. They are about six months behind with their work at he moment.

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I had my Lipid Clinic appointment this morning. I just about managed to get my questions over, though everything was about taking a statin. Here are my questions with answers:

Questions for Lipid Clinic Clinician – Friday 28th June 2019

What is the risk analysis QRISK?

Couldn’t say for sure; 20% approximately

Should I have B12, Folate, Ferritin and Vitamin D levels checked?

Not needed – fine

Should I be taking Vitamin D tablets all year round?

Shouldn’t be needed as having a healthy diet. However will check with GP

Should I take a Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C and Magnesium?

Not if having a good diet

Should I take Plant sterols 800 mg tablets 2 – 3 tablets daily?

Ingredients

Phytosterols, Bulking Agent: Microcrystalline Cellulose, Stearic Acid, Croscarmellose Sodium, Anti-Caking Agent: Silicon Dioxide, Coating (Hypromellose), Magnesium Stearate.

This is my choice, it will lower cholesterol, though not enough.

I was recommended to take a Statin tablet, Simvastatin 10 mg. However I could see this dose becoming more. Most probably I would be moved on to other types of Statins. The most shocking part of the conversation was being told by the clinician that I WILL have a heart attack and I WILL have a stroke. Obviously I declined the statin yet again.

I have been discharged from the Lipid Clinic. However she did tell me that total cholesterol is 6.9 and LDL 4.45, Triglycerides 1.45. My results will be sent to my GP. I will then visit my GP, who I have to say have been really understanding and helpful.

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Thank you very much for your feed back.

Life style change will help you towards better health.

NHS staff needs to learn better communication! , I have been there.

Relax, take care and enjoy one life.

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Thanks Sandy, yes I will continue to better my life style to improve health. I am really glad I found the Zoe Harcombe information. I find the information on the forum helpful; it's certainly not one-sided. You give really good advice, thank you.

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The most important thyroid test was not done - the FT3 - if low in range then it could be you are not converting the T4 ( inactive hormone ) into the T3 - a hormone needed in every cell of the body and responsible for metabolism ... Sadly rarely tested in the NHS and it does beg the question WHY ? Even the NHS website says that the thyroid should be optimal before starting statins ... If they only knew what to test and understood the results :-( How are your levels of B12 - Folate - Ferritin and VitD - they need to be optimal for the T4 your thyroid produces to convert into T3.

Also check out Dr Malcolm Kendrick - he wrote The Great Cholesterol Con and has a website in his name and loads of useful blogs. Zoe Harcombe is good and well respected.

Ask the Clinic for the research that says women benefit from Statins - I do not believe there is any !

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Thanks for your reply. I had heard about T3 not being tested in the NHS. I can only think it has something to do with costs. i am keen to work further on diet and lifestyle, rather than say yes to taking statins. Life is like a game of chance. Statins could have benefits however, there may be other health risks involved which I am not wanting to chance.

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Nothing to do with costs as the test costs less than a pound. When Big Pharma persuaded the US Doctors to move over to synthetic thyroid meds they insisted the TSH test was all that was needed. TSH = Thyroid Stimulating Hormone - a Pituitary hormone so not helpful as a result once on thyroid meds. It is the FT4 that tells you how much of the storage hormone is circulating - and which needs to convert into the ACTIVE T3. So it is shocking that keeping patients in the dark so they can make more money prescribing other drugs is unacceptable. T3 medicine has been blocked by the CCG's and there seems to be a complete shut-down on prescribing to those that are in need. The battle continues as you will read on the Thyroid UK Forum here on HU. One company holding the NHS to ransom over price - so they blocked the prescribing - how shocking ...

I am fortunate to be living in Greece and have a T3 prescription ...

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Thanks, that's interesting.

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I’ll keep this very brief: don’t take the statins, they are dangerous and should (almost) never be taken by women. Barbara Roberts has written an excellent book explaining why women shouldn’t take statins, look it up. Good luck! Also, as Londinium writes, doctors often have a financial stake in prescribing statins- a powerful motivator!

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Thanks for your comments. I declined statins two and a half years ago and still continue to think that is my way forward.

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LDL cholesterol is calculated value by man made formula. There are there formulas first one defined in 1972, second one in 2008 and third one in 2013.

None of the three gives the same answer!!

Below is one of the early formula.

"LDL-cholesterol (formula)

LDL-C can be estimated by Friedewald (1972) equation

.

[LDL-C] = [TC] - [HDL-C] - [TG/5]

Here, LDL-C = Low density lipoprotein

HDL-C = High density lipoprotein

TC = Total cholesterol

and, TG = Triglyceride

The approximate value of LDL-C obtained is in mg/dl. The above equation can be modified by dividing TG with 2.2 in order to obtain LDL-C in mmol/l."

I have a very long discussion with a doctor in Malaysia while on holiday on the calculated value. "It is all to do with funding and age of the equipment."

A hand held device with printer is available now days, can be expensive. Ever since I started to learn cholesterol I have asked many questions, did not receive a satisfactory answer from the doctors.

I got involved with JBS2, risk analysis Internet testing!

Please look at life style change, watching out for hidden and free sugar, regular exercise for healthy life. This is what I am doing, enjoying one life.

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Thanks for you comments Sandy.

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I understand that they first send a letter to your doctor and at the same time send you the copy of that letter - but that letter is full of opinions and does not contain the full printout of your recent lab results.

You are legally entitled to your lab results with the reference ranges. You can tell them on the day of your visit to the clinic that you want them all the lab tests and reference ranges printed off and handed to you before you leave the clinic that day, or posted to you within a day or so.

The lab results with the reference ranges are filled with FACTS. The letter to the doctor (copied to you) is filled with OPINIONS. That's the difference.

You can also instruct the GP receptionist that you want your recent (or older) lab results with the reference ranges.

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Thanks, yes I fully intend to get a copy of the test results.Thanks for your comments.

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Your experience is similar to mine. I was told to take a Statin and when I refused the Lipid Clinic and one doctor in particular discharged me because I preferred to take a dietary route. I was disgusted and astonished at this so took the case to my local MP Liz Kendal who contacted the hospital and as a result I went before a complaints board. They apologized for the way things were handles but did not re instate me. Let me first congratulate you on ditching the Statins. As a women in particular you will probably live longer with those lipid levels than women with much lower levels, especially on Statins. This is not an opinion but on record in research data. Having said that I would lower your Trig's by following some of the dietary advice already posted. The best indicators from a standard lipid panel are the Total to HDL ratio and the Trig to HDL ratio. If you need clarification on what these are just ask.

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Thanks Mark for your comments. I really want to continue to avoid statins and work further to improve on diet and lifestyle. It seems there is more than one route to a healthy diet, so it's just finding out what is best for an individual.

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Sorry to jump in on your post Teresat, I'm in almost the same boat as you and I have been on statins but not taking them at the moment. I'm not convinced how much good they do.

Londinium I always read your posts with interest. I was surprised to read that you included seeds in the list of things that drive cardiovascular disease If that isn't healthy fat can you tell me what is?

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Seed oils, aka 'veg oils' are high in Omega 6 and drive cardiovascular disease. They are highly processed and solvents etc are used, so they are definitely not health oils. Instead, consider real oils e.g. butter, ghee, coconut, lard, tallow... and olive oil for cold dishes. You shouldn't cook (heat) extra virgin olive oils as they're very heat sensitive.

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The Greeks slosh on the olive oil on things once cooked - yummy !

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See each of the enclosed infographics to realise how a high consumption of carbs and starches raises blood sugar levels and drives pre-diabetes, diabetes and cardiovascular disease:

phcuk.org/nice/

Vegan/vegetarian/LowFat isn't always the healthier option.

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Thank you Londinium

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Thank you for this link.

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Welcome to the Cholesterol Forum.

You have already received excellent advice from Londinium in her reply to you.

A sub-optimal lifestyle (lack of exercise) and a diet with too many simple carbohydrates, including sugar, can conspire to slow your metabolism (hypothyroidism). This makes weight loss difficult among other things.

Don't reduce sugar - eliminate it! There is no nutritional value in sugar. You should also eliminate processed foods. Get a Mediterranean Diet cookbook and use it to prepare your meals. Packaged foods are loaded with sugar, bad oils, and lack fiber.

Triglycerides are fat molecules in your blood from the consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates. Your test results indicate that you are still consuming too much of these items. Your triglyceride reading should be below 1.0 mmol/l or ideally, below 0.7 mmol/l.

Fiber is critical for the optimal functioning of your body's digestive tract and gut microbiome. Fiber is critical for eliminating excess LDL cholesterol from the body.

The best form of fiber is from vegetables, whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Read the Pinned Post, which can be found to the right side of the page on a computer, or at the bottom of the page on a mobile device, titled 'How I Conquered Heart Disease and What I Have Learned in the Process'.

Watch these 2 videos:

Good luck.

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A document produced back in 2015 gave the following statement:

"LDL-C is not the problem (one cannot blame the fire engine for the fire). Monitoring LDL-C does not accurately predict CVD and LDL-C lowering does not prevent CVD. Small dense LDL-P driven by high TG are the primary atherosclerotic risk factors due to their small size and susceptibility to oxidise. There are several tests that can monitor LDL-P size and number."

Additional information on this link:

docsopinion.com/health-and-...

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