Newly diagnosed with High cholesterol, need information please

I have been recently diagnosed with high cholesterol last week, the NHS doctor gave me some tablets,(atorvastatin) told me to take one a day and to live a health life style and see you later, I was shell shocked as he hustled me out the door . My level is 7.2 not even sure what that means, have looked online at what food I should be eating etc, but would appreciate any help, tips that you Knowledgeable people could give me, I would have thought that the NHS would have info leaflets or other but not were I live

19 Replies

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  • Hi dave6991 I can appreciate how you feel having had the same experience with a doctor. The people on here are very helpful so that should help. I would get a print out of your blood tests as it does help knowing your numbers hdl ldl tryl and then at least you will know what needs improved and with help from here and some research you can make a informed choice. I don,t want to give medical advice as I am not qualfied to do so. I took the dr perscripition but havn't taken it so far as I want to do a change of lifestyle and eating first and then 6 months on have another test if no change I will then decide if to make the choice to start on a statin .

  • bayram thanks for the reply, I didnt even know that it was optional to take the statin, told nothing

  • Hi dave6991

    Sorry to hear your Doctor was so unhelpful. It is disgraceful that statins are dished out like smarties and no advice given.

    The best advice I have found to cut cholesterol levels is to follow a low carbohydrate diet webmd.com/cholesterol-manag...

    Have a look at the video on the blog, too.

    I have found information from Dr Briffa to be very useful drbriffa.com/2013/02/28/are...

  • Grr! What shoddy treatment! Second one I've heard about this weekend.

    Here's a guide with links to some leaflets heartuk.org.uk/cholesterol-...

    Here's what the doctor sees about FH, but i I don't know if you have that cks.nhs.uk/hypercholesterol...

  • cks.nhs.uk/lipid_modificati... may be the non-FH information.

  • Yes, your GP should have given you lots more information before just prescribing statins, mine did the same and you almost come away in shock.

    Look on the HEART UK website and get some helpful information.

    Most GP's give people a chance to lower their cholesterol by diet first before they discuss the option of medication.

    I don't know if you have other risk factors such as high blood pressure or raised glucose.

  • Hi Dave, high cholesterol doesn't mean that you will have problems in the future. However, many people do, and a statin has been prescribed for you as a matter of routine. The dosage would have been calculated to bring your cholesterol level down to 5 - a drop of nearly 16%.

    If you have been ignoring your health and eating badly, a change of this magnitude is almost achievable with a super human effort. For normal people, a fall of 13-14% is the very most we can hope for. Even so, such a fall in cholesterol should suffice - always assuming that we can then keep up the diet for the rest of our lives.

    To be safe, take the statin AND keep your weight down to as low as possible without being underweight.

    Statins may cause some side-effects, but always keep in mind that they reduce cardio-vascular mortality by 19%.

  • "Statins may cause some side-effects, but always keep in mind that they reduce cardio-vascular mortality by 19%" - is that an absolute or relative figure? Why isn't overall mortality improved?

  • Overall mortality is most certainly improved. But as all cause mortality includes being hit by a bus or shot dead, it masks the results

  • My confusion over what constitutes a "healthy" lifestyle increases daily! Just been reading an article based on "The Meat Fix: How a Lifetime of Healthy Eating Nearly Killed Me" by John Nicholson (pub: Biteback) where he claims that after reverting to eating steaks after a vegan diet his (and his partner's) weight and chloresterol dropped and his overall health improved, IBS disappeared etc. I feel that being too much of a fat-counter with everything I eat would stress me out. I tend to avoid the very fatty and over-sweetened stuff, have pulses, grain, fruit and veg aplenty and have an outdoor job. My GP still insists I need statins but I'm becoming less motivated to take them. dave6991, you must be one of thousands to whom medication is being issued by diktat from above. You and I must demand an approach from our GPs based on individual needs rather than the need to save the Exchequer some money.

  • Hello Dave,

    My advice would be to go back to your doctor and definately, as bayram suggests, get a print out of your blood results for a start and before you go read as much as you can on here and the sites mentioned and go armed with questions to ask. Your treatment makes me so angry to think that we're expected to just pop a pill in our mouths on the say so of a doctor with no explaination. (you may want to take a look at my post from the other day about my experience when I asked my G.P. what something meant by my lipid consultant).

    Only recently my friend was telephoned by her doctor's prescription secretary and told her prescription was ready for collection and that there were two items to collect not just the one she had ordered. Believe it or not her doctor had prescribed her a statin (40mg Simvastatin) with no explanation why she should take this. She only knew about statin medication due to the fact that I'd told her my experiences, otherwise she wouldn't have had a clue what a "statin" was. When she asked the secretary why she needed them she was told that her recent blood result for something else had showed her cholesterol was high. No explanation as to readings and the worst thing of all in my opinion her doctor had not bothered to speak to her directly but had passed onto her secretary. Needless to say she has refused to take them until she can get to speak to her doctor about it.

    You will find this site and members really helpful. I have had lots of advice on here and I know it's coming from people in similar situations to my own.

    Keep us posted how things are going.

    All the best

    Maisie

  • Hi Dave, I was issued with a bag full of drugs last Sept due to CVD. After much research all but the mini aspirins were returned to the chemists. I learned that other countries eg France, Spain have even higher average cholesterol levels than UK but less CVD. Also lowering cholesterol levels may cause premature death. Statins can have crippling side effects but it is a billion dollar business which employs highly paid PR's who sell it and discredit any opposition. Like most drugs it was approved by FDA but we were not told about all the known bad side effects; a practice which still continues apparently. Did your GP check your Vitamin D3 level? Google and learn why it should be at 150nmol/L. Is your magnesium level OK? If these are poor regaining good health is unlikely. Read about inflammation with regard to heart disease. Also think about this: if you get stranded/lost in the desert it is possible to survive without food for 30 days or more; without water you would not last one week. Water is what we are made of. Drinking 4 pints or more of chemical free tap water is essential according to Dr F.Batmanghelidj (www.watercure.com) Not drinking enough of it is a major cause of getting sick, he says. Most people accept what the main stream medical profession issue them with without question and become the means by which the drug companies make huge profits. We are born with an immune system and need to retain it in good working order. From what I read, drugs ruin it. When the manure hits the fan even top surgeons decline the established process! read drday.com

    I am eating only healthy food mostly raw, plus supplements and gradually increasing my exercise levels to get fitter under supervision, not forgetting the drinking water. Good luck! Derek

  • npc.nhs.uk/therapeutics/car...

    This link should take you to the patient decision aids for taking statins. I think the little faces are really good, but I think the 27% relative risk reduction is a bit misleading if you don't understand the difference between relative and absolute risk.

    This is not for people with inherited conditions such as FH.

  • Hi Dave, What a miserable GP you have. Demand a printout of your figures and put them on this forum and then a discussion can take place and advice given. There is also a need to check your blood pressure, weight, exercise regime and diet which will give a much clearer picture. Don't despair, your gross figure is not huge and with tweeks of your lifestyle can be reduced. Hope to hear from you soon.

  • Hi Dave

    It is amazing how different GPs take such different approaches. Mine takes the view that you should do what you can through exercise and diet to reduce your level before a retest after 3 months. This is what I have done on two occasions over several years. Last year was the second time and I brought my level down quite a bit. I started brisk walking for 30 minutes 5 times a week and changed my eating habits.

    I am sending you here the links to the food sheets my GP gave me as a guideline as to what to eat and what to avoid. bit.ly/WNrH0P and bit.ly/YuKBGD

    To share my experience with others I have set up a website where you can look or subscribe (free) at 90 low fat recipes I used to lower my cholesterol. The website also has a diary section filled with info about what to eat, what not to eat and so on. You can find it at fromthehealthyheart.com

    Best of luck

  • Hi dave 6991, Gps are restricted to about 6 minutes a consultation...hopelessly inadequate time. You should have been given a pamphlet on it and perhaps been given a consultation with a practice nurse who could answer questions arising from you reading the pamphlet. That said I have had high cholesterol for years and having first tried a sensible diet which did not work for ME I was put on Atorvastain, a little old fashioned Statin, most people, I think, are put on Simvastatin (disagreed with me). Statins can cause problems but they usually settle down and are far outweighed by the benefits. I think we all need to try diet first before resorting to Statins. My figures were 7.9, they dropped to 4.5 ( doctors like people with other health problems to be lower than the "norm", about 5) however as soon as I stopped the Statin I returned to 7.9 ! as I have arrythmias and hypertension I returned to the Atorvastatin. I am OK on it. Read this link, it is full of good info; nhs.uk/conditions/Cholester...

  • thanks to everyone who has replied to my question, at present I am absorbing all the information that I have been given, it is quite extensive and am trying to re-adjust my life style especially my eating habits, I am 65 and must admit that I have always eaten what ever took my fancy at the time, I also have arthritis in my knees which makes it difficult to perform some types of exercise but I do and can ride a bike which I do enjoy.

  • im 68 and have been on meds for over 35 years my readings were 30 and 20 you do seem a bit old to have discovered high cholesterol however you should ask your gp to send you to the hospital lipids clinic for a thorough check up best of luck

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