Please see my question below

My cholesterol is 7.6 at the last reading, it has continued to rise slowly over recent years in spite of my eating a sensible low fat diet, my bmi is 23 and I exercise regularly. My GP has said not to have any further cholesterol checks (unless I have to stop exercising for any reason or gain weight) as my heart attack risk does not warrant it. What is your view please?

16 Replies

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  • Cholesterol levels do tend to rise with age, and in the winter (Campbell-McBride, 2011).

    Is a low fat diet sensible? What exercise do you do? Does it raise your heart rate to 140+bpm for twenty minutes, or 130+bpm for 45 minutes? Do you allow a minimum of 25 hours between sessions for recovery?

  • Thanks for replying. Yes, I work out at the gym for 30 minutes three times a week, alternate days (sessions followed by stretches) and I walk a mile each way to and from the gym. My heart rate during my workout is raised 140 bpm+. I also try to get out and walk briskly on the days I don't go to the gym. I also attend a weekly yoga class. My diet is as low fat as I can sensibly make it and I try to eat plenty of Omega 3 (oily fish etc). I would be grateful for any further suggestions.

  • Your exercise looks fine; remember exercise can trigger appetite too.

    My own opinion is that too little fat is as bad as too much, and natural fats are fine, processed oils (especially hydrogenated oil of course) should be avoided. Natural fats also contain omega-3 (including grass fed animals), you don't need to supplement. People don't tend to overeat fat or protein in their natural state, provided they aren't accompanied by refined/high-glycaemic carbs. I would recommend you eat natural, low GI carbohydrates; most people require less than 150g per day; that's ample vegetation.

  • I will try your recommendation. Thank you.

  • It probably doesn't help to say it's your decision, but it is. You don't say how old you are and of course the real question is whether you want to start taking statins to lower your cholesterol. This means looking at your absolute (not relative) risk of a hearta ttack and how much statins would lower it. This is a decision that some of us on this site have weighed up and it's not easy!

  • Hi Aliwally, I'm not keen to take statins obviously as I have heard about the side effects, I suppose I am keen to here what others have done to lower their cholesterol by diet/exercise. I am now 62, my father and his parents and brother all died in their 50s/60s of heart related complaints my GP said if mine was a familial raised cholestrol she would have expecvted it to be much higher by now!

  • I'm not sure, but the family history alone would have me asking for referral to a specialist lipid clinic, not burying my head in the sand by stopping testing!

    I had one GP who thought he could treat me himself. It took me years to be referred to a consultant who resolved my statin-related side effects, which the GP had insisted weren't statin-related.

  • Hi DakCB-UK

    Glad to hear you got there in the end and saw a consultant, I hope the statins continue to work for you.

    Best wishes

  • This paper provides an alternative explanation as to why Statins reduce heart disease.

    The “Mevalonate hypothesis”: a cholesterol-independent alternative for the etiology of atherosclerosis

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

    It is true that as you get older having a higher cholesterol number is associated with reduced all cause mortality and longer life. So perhaps the ability of statins to resolve inflammation is the key to why they are helpful and NOT their ability to lower cholesterol.

    The ideas I have set out in this thread all of which improve your natural anti inflammatory reserves will therefore be helpful in lowering the real risk factors for heart disease.

    heartuk.healthunlocked.com/...

  • There are other "familial" causes of high cholesterol other than FH but getting accurate information, let alone a diagnosis , is like getting blood out of the proverbial stone, let alone your veins!

  • Hello SusiePar, Did you get a breakdown of your figures when you saw your GP? It does help to see how the different cholesterol levels are doing. If you have a good balance of HDL and LDL, with a low Lipid count you are doing OK. (I have read that a "new" way of measuring your levels to keep within the boundaries of health is to divide your total cholesterol figure with your HDL figure and if it is total is below 4 it is OK)

    As someone who is only 2 years younger than you with a BMI of 24 and a Cholesterol level of 6.8 I am doing OK. I did change my diet nearly two years ago because of an intolerance to dairy and that did help my HDL levels, they increased, and my LDL levels fell, but I think that is because my body was under so much stress with the IBS I had been suffering for nearly 30 years! I feel great now, and keep fit with walking daily, eating well, (not dieting as such) and keeping well away from any idea of taking any medication if I can help it!! I just take supplements, (calcium with Vit D, Omega 3, Vitamin with Iron and Glucosamine for the joints and a dandelion tablet for fluid retention as I do have a touch of arthritis and my joints get a bit stiff and swollen occasionally.)

    Keep up the good work, and all the best to you.

  • Hi Patch14

    Unfortunately my doctor did not give me the break down of the figures last time, and when I asked afterwards I was told the details were not on the system (not sure I believe this!).

    The time before May 2010 when I was 7.1 the LDL was 4.4 and HDL 2.2 and total HDL ratio 3.23 (not sure what this means, if anyone can explain I would be grateful).

    It sounds as if you are doing well and thanks for the words of encouragement

  • The total HDL ratio is 7.1 divided by 2.2, and I think some people want it about 2 or below. The thinking is that the proportion of HDL matters more than just the total level. Mine's about 7, so you're far nearer than me!

  • Hi DakCB-UK

    Thanks for explaining, perhaps my levels aren't that bad! I will try to get another test in the next few weeks!

    Good luck with keeping your levels down.

  • Isn't the ratio of HDL to TC meant to be 4 or below? Perhaps someone can put us straight.

    Your HDL is fantastically good (mine is as well) so that is in your favour.

  • I was told by doctors-cardiologists and read in the leaflets for patients that according to the new requirements of the European Cardiology Association, for patients in risk, the level of LDL matters most. It should be monitored regularly and should be bellow 1.9 mmol.

    I am taking the statin Crestor 20 mg, stick to a strict diet, but cannot reduce it to this level yet.

    Previously, I took the generic Rosucard, which was much cheaper, but it did not work with me.

    So doctors advised to go back to the original, because it had unique formula.

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