Statins: Hi everyone, I am 67 years old with... - Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease

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Statins

Ryde54 profile image
Ryde54

Hi everyone,

I am 67 years old with my GFR's in the fifties and have been keeping my numbers steady for the last three years. My cholesterol numbers have not been good over those last 3 years being at 190 then 234 and now at 250. I pretty much follow my kidney diet with no red meat, processed foods, keep watch on my sodium, and avoid dairy when possible. My doctor wants to put me on a statin which I know is not good for the kidneys but I cannot seem to get my cholesterol numbers down so it may take more than diet alone. Is anyone else here in the same predicament and has it effected your kidney numbers? I am very scared to take the statin but cannot continue with my cholesterol numbers this high either.

23 Replies

Hi,I have been taking Atorvastatin for several years. I'm monitored by my PCP, nephrologist, cardiologist and urologist. Yes, there may come a time when I will have to stop that medication but with the knowledge I have and consultation with the various doctors I mentioned, I'm not in any danger. Early on I was being treated by a different PCP and he had me on a different statin, I complained and he switched me to Atorvastatin, but at a higher dose than I am now. When I spoke to my nephrologist and urologist they also said that the dosage was too high. I spoke to the doctor, but he refused to comply and quickly became a former PCP for me. My current PCP reduced the dosage by half and all of my physicians are okay with that. At every appointment I give them an updated copy of my med list, to include prescriptions, OTC, and supplements. My blood labs are all good. My cholesterol levels are inside the reference range, and my GFR has averaged 50. Since Oct. of '19 it has gotten much easier to deal with my cholesterol. I had my gallbladder removed and I eat nothing dairy, no fried or fatty foods, even fish with a higher fat content, like salmon, have been removed from my meal plan. If or when my GFR does begin to drop down to Stage 4, they may decide to stop that medication and at that time I would agree to it.

Fatbuddy profile image
Fatbuddy in reply to Mr_Kidney

Hats off to you Proffessor !! You have great discipline and understanding of CKD.

I am not sure how statin affects kidney.

Also great that you changed PCP when they dont listen to you.

Mr_Kidney profile image
Mr_Kidney in reply to Fatbuddy

Statins like Atorvastatin should be discontinued when the GFR drops into the teens. Several other meds should be discontinued when a GFR drops to a specific level. At certain levels, the kidneys, already struggling, have a difficult time processing them.

I also tried everything everything to lower my cholesterol. Diet, exercise and sodium reduction didn't work for me. I have been on statins for over 20 years. I am now on zocor and being monitored by my primary care, nephrologist and urologist.

You need to make a decision on the use of statins and the risk they pose or the risk that high cholesterol cause. What made me decide to go on statins was my doctors story about how she lost her mother to clog arteries.. decisions...decisions 🥺

We've also had this problem with my mum albeit her total cholesterol "only" rose to 7.2nmol/l and we've managed to reduce it (at least for now) to 6.5 with diet/lifestyle eg lower sugar. If you wish to avoid statins (as mum does), maybe plot the readings on a graph eg spreadsheet, to check rate of increase. Mum's has been cyclical over several years (with periods of reduction), maybe due to on-off compliance with her diet/wellbeing.

PS Personally I don't agree with the standard, artery-clogging theory. I believe the risk is increased largely due to high BP causing oxidized LDL - depending on the LDL particle size. The latter and other markers can be tested.

Fatbuddy profile image
Fatbuddy in reply to userotc

Yes, I recommend a blood test called vertical profile or cardio IQ ( in USA) , it measures LDL, and particle size and count. Also I suggest hsCRP.

**** Forgot to mention. Take anti oxidant supplements to prevent or reduce oxidization of LDl and minimize artery plaque build up. It takes years to build up plaque in arteries.

Personally for me I wouldn't taken a statin...My LDL at one time was up, but my HDL and Triglycerides were very good...Doctor wanted me to take a statin, instead I chose to reduce it through diet...If I had taken the statin I would have been on it for the rest of my life, instead it's another drug I will never need...I agree with the previous reply about Standard artery-clogging theory and particle size.. There are 5 risk factors for metabolic syndrome(Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes) A large waistline. Having a large waistline means that you carry excess weight around your waist (abdominal obesity). ...

High Triglyceride Level. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. ...

A Low HDL Cholesterol Level. ...

High Blood Pressure. ...

High Fasting Blood Sugar.

Not included is LDL....to be safe the LDL number needs to come down, if your other cholesterol numbers are in line I would get the LDL particle test. Now everything I just said is personal opinion...research and work with your doctor on finding the cause for the high LDL

Mine also went up when I started a Low Carb Diet to lose weight. I was able to get it back to high normal by increasing my fiber with meals. Since my HDL and LDL are opposite of where they should be I am now starting a very low-fat diet to see if that helps. I too don't want to have to take a statin. Do you exercise regularly?

I believe the more drugs they put you on to fix one problem, the more problems you’re going to have and I’ve learned this through personal experience. Recently received a kidney transplant. One of the meds I have to take caused osteoporosis. So of course they want to put me on med for osteoporosis. So I researched, which I always do. The only one I can take can cause fractures in your thighs, kidney failure and numerous other things and not every one who has osteoporosis, breaks a bone and it takes 2 years to work. Now I didn’t go through all the pain and trouble of getting a kidney to damage it! And yes I realize that’s only a possible side effect but I get strange things like that so I’m not chancing it. Just my opinion and my decision

Fatbuddy profile image
Fatbuddy in reply to Bunkin

Please try to drink two cups of Bone ( beef) Broth two times a day.

Also contact Dr Whitaker in California. He has tablets for increasing bone density.

Atorvastatin caused my kidney disease. Unchecked GFR but increased the Atorvastatin- should have reduced or removed!

Bar57 profile image
Bar57 in reply to Hily

So because my BUN number raised to 48 from 27...and I assume because my GFR dropped drastically in the last few months. I was ordered to get off of Losartin (BP) and my Metformin but not the Atorvastatin. The have classified me to beginingof stage 4 this quick...since February. I can't believe that Losartin and a keto diet for 5 weeks would cause me this much trouble. I am hoping that these numbers will improve because I am in shock. Have not been able to control my BP on a steady basis for a long time. Either alergic to them or not too effective for me. New BP drug is this. hydrALAZINE

Hily profile image
Hily in reply to Bar57

You are the same age as me. Geriatric use of Atorvastatin: Muscle weakness which may require caution in patients recieving this medicine.(I lost 35 lbs - doc thought nothing! No bloods taken).

Atorvastatin has a lot of side effects. There are other statins also Ezetimibe might suit better.

statnews.com/sponsor/2018/0...

Fatbuddy profile image
Fatbuddy in reply to Bar57

I had noticed Lisinopril was dropping my eGFR and also having dry cough.

So switched to Losarton.

My drs want me on statins. I refused but if i did i would take Livalo which is said to have the least risk. I get my lipids tested with the Boston Heart Lab. I take Vascepa- essentially epa fish oil. Look them up on the internet.

Bassetmommer profile image
BassetmommerNKF Ambassador

HI ryde,I too was hesitant to take a statin. I rarely have had high cholesterol, but at one point I has high triglycerides. It runs in my family. But with diet changes, I did get it down. However, this winter, in doing a renal transplant evaluation, they found a blockage in my heart. However, it is very slight but it is still a concern. There is nothing they can do because to test for a stent would require a angiogram with a dye that would be lethal to the remaining function of my kidneys. So.... I am now on a statin. So far, so good. But I have been on it for very long. I noticed the first two weeks a lot more muscle discomfort but that went away.

I was told by my doctor that I COULD get off it if I did not tolerate it. I am trying to figure out why they say it is a lifelong drug when started. I would think if you managed to get your numbers down with the drug and diet and weight loss you could try to get off it at some point and see if the weight loss and diet is enough. I personally have about 15 pounds I could shed but age makes it difficult. I have had a previous stroke which was a TIA four years ago so that is another factor in the puzzle.

Bet117 profile image
Bet117NKF Ambassador

HiRyde,

You have received some great info and thoughts here.

Mine? In many cases statins are beneficial and well tolerated. Each person is different and has different body chemistry.

I was found to be statin allergic based severe muscle pain/ swelling and stomach upset when taking Rouvastatin ( Crestor) and more severely Atrouvastatin ( Lipitor) both at base doses assigned by my

now former endocrinologist for slightly elevated cholesterol.

He was treating me for Hashimotos Hypo Thyroid and knew of my kidney diagnosis, yet refused to listen to me.

My PCP found the reaction. She and my nephrologist

came up with an alternative plan for me of Purtian's Pride Phytosterol gel capsules, garlique, Omega 3 Fish Oil gel capsules and Niacin which have been very successful in keeping my cholesterol well in the normal range.

In fact, my nephrologist researched niacin for renal patients during his residency and fellowship.

This works for me and I am being well monitored. I am also plant based.

In contrast, my brother has taken Lovastatin 20 mg for years and my Dad took Simvastatin without a problem.

Every person is different and not every drug is best for every person.

Speak to your prescribing doctor if you are not feeling well or have concerns.

Zetia is a non- statin based alternative which has also been successful.

It's coming up with the right combination of med and diet, for you.

Please let us know how you are doing. You'll find the combination.

Bet

This is for every one in this group.

Every one , please get a Calcium Score test and ultra sound of heart with ejection factor.

Read my post on my heart failure in March 2019.

I am type 2 diabetic for over 25 years. I was only taking metformin. No other medicines. eGFR and cholesterol within normal range. No CKD.

Now taking insulin, and statin. Aspirin and coreg.

I am 75 years young.

Every one check my home remedy post for lowering cholesterol. Eat more raw garlic and raw red onions.

I was lucky to find a progressive, relatively young and very good Nephrologist 14 years ago. He responded to my class A personality (inquisitive and ask too many questions) with his patience, wide range of network and penchant to research.

His priority is kidney management (lifestyle, nutrition, med mix and match, etc.)

I was at stage 4 for 10 years (had my transplant in early May21). I had other med conditions (HPB, high cholesterol, gout, etc.) But his priority is protecting the kidney. I was taking atorvastatin up until my transplant. The dosage was adjusted depending on all the tests (I take BP measurements 2X a day). The atorvastatin was mainly necessary to protect the kidneys. It was a necessary evil.

But I trusted my Nephrologist team. And I will continue to trust him, so far so good.

When you said the statin was to protect your kidney. In what way would you say that was? Could cholesterol be a kidney filtration blocker?

Mr_Kidney profile image
Mr_Kidney in reply to Ryde54

Taking a statin is a priority in protecting your heart from LDL (bad) cholesterol. The question is finding the correct statin. The less strain on your heart is very good for the kidneys . By following a proper diet to protect your heart you will also help take some of the strain off your kidneys. Just like most diabetics who use medications and diet to control their blood glucose it also protects their heart and (surprise) their kidneys.Not all statins work the same way and which statin is right for you may not be right for the next person.

1. By the time you or I gets diagnosed with CKD, it will be a best guess scenario on what caused it. Be it food we eat, lifestyle, other conditions, genetic, environment, etc. It will be next to impossible to pinpoint the exact root cause.

2. The deterioration of the kidney (stages) is measured by various barometers (eGFR, creatinine, protein urea, albumin, etc.) Additional medical conditions (HPB, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc) add to the complexity of overall diagnosis. Many of these other med conditions affects the results and progression of the kidney disease.

Most studies mention that HPB, high cholesterol & diabetes vs CKD are oftentimes symbiotic - which one caused the other is even harder to determine.

3. One basic role of my Nephrologist is to take all these results and provide a mix and match of meds - my Nephrologist prescribed atorvastatin just for maintenance, or even the lowest dose (not to bring bring down the results). His reason - All for the focus of protecting my kidney.

10 years ago, my creatinine was high 2.0 and eGFR at 22. His overall kidney management extended my kidney functionality until I had a kidney transplant just last month. I trust him and have followed his advised. So far, so good.

He continue to manage my meds and in just a month, I see him adjust my meds constantly based on overall results.

And I no longer take atorvastatin for now. He said he is closely monitoring the results - it may come back depending on future tests. He is results driven.

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