Diet & Cholesterol Level

My Cardio rehab nurse has told me that because i have FH i can probably only lower my cholesterol level by about 10% by dietary means and that exercise and statins are the main ways i can lower my cholesterol level. Strange? Any info anyone please? Only a newbie so sorry if i am covering old ground. Thanks.

9 Replies

  • Now that's interesting. A couple of us in other discussions thought we made a 25% cut by diet (including stanols/sterols) but I guess it depends how your diet was before. Mine wasn't exactly healthy...

    Statins are the fashionable medication at the moment, but there are others if they cause you problems, or at least one non-drug procedure (apheresis) which scares the bejesus out of me.

  • I appreciate you don't like unsubstantiated hand-waving; you may want to look at this book if you get an opportunity

  • I guess you mean - curiously, rather than some of the more extreme claims, the review summarises it as "guess what the evidence Evans has compiled shows: it’s not the fat in our diets that causes heart disease; it’s the sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed vegetables oils and other garbage" and I think if you follow a late 80s low-sat-fat/healthy heart diet, it basically tends towards lean meat or other protein sources and wholefoods, (with a few since-disproved things like restricting egg yolk intake, I admit) and it's fairly low in those things too. So I suspect that more conservative summary is possible. You place your bets as you think best...

    However, I'm not wild about any deliberately lopsided book. And do any of the studies consider the atypical FH reactions?

  • I'm having Apheresis and it really should be last resort. Healthy diet can make a big difference for some and I know of people who dropped it by 50% so always worth a think.

  • dear Rueben

    Was diagnosed with FH 20 years ago. Chol. was 12. before going on statins reduced it to 9 by low fat diet......I make that 25%.

  • Thank you everybody for your interesting replies.

    Nice guidelines(the ones GP's follow) state targets of Total chol under 5 and LDL under 3 whereas the Cardiovascular society recommend Total chol under 4, HDL above 1, LDL under 2 and tryglyc under 2. My levels are: Total chol=5.1 HDL=1.4 LDL=3.2 Tryglyc=1.2. I have a strict diet, do regular exercise, am well within my BMI and take Simvastatin but i do not seem to be able to get my levels down any lower no matter how hard i try!

    Any advice please. Thank you.

  • Hello Rueben,

    Is it your medical team that want you to get your levels lower? The Cardiovascular figures are (I think) are for people with diabetes or those who have already had an event, because they are deemed to be at higher risk.

    Personally, I would say that there is nothing more you can do about it other than what you are doing.

    Sometimes I get annoyed with the attitude that it is the patient's fault and if only they did x,y or z things would be different, but this may not be how it is in your case.

  • Hi Aliwally, thanks for your reply.

    I do not have diabetes but have FH and have had a bad(is there a good one) heart attack and quad bypass. My GP is quite happy with my chol levels, it is my cardio rehab team who say it would be better if i could get my chol levels to within the Cardiovascular society recommended limits. I try to oblige where my life is at risk!

  • A healthy diet combined with regular exercise and medication helps to keep the cholesterol levels under control.

    A healthy and balanced diet should be consumed. A diet enriched with the goodness of vegetables, fruit and whole grains is very important and better than eating a diet high in saturated or trans fats. The saturated fats can be easily replaced by the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like the sunflower, olive, and rapeseed oil. Food with high soluble fibre such as oats, beans, pulses, lentils, nuts, fruits should be included in the diet.

    Exercising regularly helps to increase the HDL cholesterol and thus leads to a healthy heart.

    Giving up smoking improves the heart health. This is because when a person smokes the chemical acrolein present in cigarettes stops the HDL transporting cholesterol from the fatty acids to the liver, thus leading to thinning of arteries.

    Medication like Atorvastatin and Lipostat are helpful. But these should only be taken as per the GP’s recommendations.

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