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Thyroid UK
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Graves’ disease - Carbimazole - high cholesterol

I wonder whether high cholesterol is somehow linked to Graves’ disease (diagnosed last Feb) or taking Carbimazole?

My husband’s cholesterol levels have gone bad in the past year:

HDL 1.4 mmol/l (1.1-2.2)

LDL 3.2 mmol/l (1.0-3.0)

Total 5.1 mmol/l (2.0-5.0)

He is 38 and eating healthy diet and has always had a great cholesterol. We are using coconut oil for cooking and he also eats Coyo yoghurts as is dairy intolerant. I’m eating very similar diet to his but my cholesterol level has never been better that’s why I’m wondering whether something else is causing this. Any advice would be great. Thanks!

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High cholesterol is usually associated with low thyroid hormones. People with hyperthyroidism usually have too low cholesterol.

So, how was your husband diagnosed with Grave's? Were his Grave's antibodies tested? TRAB or TSI? It's not unheard of to have a false diagnosis of Grave's, because doctors don't know the difference between Grave's and Hashi's. And, the high cholesterol would fit better with Hashi's.

But, you cholesterol levels have nothing to do with your diet. And, certainly not with the type of fat you eat. Fat and cholesterol are two entirely different substances - although doctors don't seem to know that, either. Cholesterol is made in the liver. And, it's made in the liver because your body needs it. Your body would fall apart without it! And, it doesn't cause heart-attacks or strokes, so don't worry about that.

When did you husband last have a blood test? What were his results? If you post them here, with the ranges, that will give us a better idea what's going on. :)

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Hi greygoose, my husband’s levels were checked last week:

TSH 1.15 (0.35-5)

T3 2.9 (2.3-5.1)

T4 11.6 (9-22)

He was diagnosed with Graves by an endocrinologist by having TRab tested. TPO was slightly raised but this is usually the case with Graves too. He has not been diagnosed with Hashimoto.

I slightly disagree that cholesterol isn’t dependent on diet at all. My cholesterol was always too high but since I started eating healthy and reduced amount of sugar significantly, my levels are great.

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Well, you believe what you believe, but the more cholesterol you consume, the less your liver makes. And the less you consume, the more your liver makes. And, it's not me that has made that up, that's what certain experts say.

Do you have a thyroid problem?

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No, I don’t have a thyroid problem.

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When I had Graves I was treated with block and replace for a year and my cholesterol was the lowest it’s ever been when my TSH was <0.03.

I’ve now been in remission for five years and in that time my TSH has gradually increased (I’m no expert, I’m not hypo ‘yet’ but my TSH has increased a huge amount compared to what it was) anyway, my cholesterol has increased too. So I feel there is definitely a link for some reason or another.

I mentioned the link to my GP once and she kind of agreed but I’d say that the NHS doesn’t go in for fine tuning and I don’t think there is any chance of them giving me levo to reduce my TSH to make my cholesterol levels go down. So I’m living with it, try to eat healthily and get lots of gentle exercise.

So, from personal experience I’d say Graves was linked to low cholesterol or it was in my case.

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That’s interesting. I think we might do an experiment and cut out coconut oil for 3 months and have him retested. I know that there are various studies that show no link between saturated fat and cholesterol levels but we might try and see what happens. I hope that he will soon be well enough to start going to the gym.

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Should have added that I started to eat low carb, high fat a couple of years ago. I get carbs from green veg etc rather than grains - grains and things like nice healthy jacket potatoesreally spike my blood sugar and while I eat fat I don’t love it, I just eat real butter and don’t buy anything low fat - the fat tends to be replaced with sugar.

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We don’t eat many grains or potatoes but my husband has gone crazy on butternut squash! He is dairy intolerant so doesn’t eat butter -I love it. I found an interesting article by Chris Kresser who says that in some people saturated fat could cause a bad cholesterol. We will keep experimenting.

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Butternut squash is good. I really would miss butter - even if I eat very little to put it on. Good luck with the experiments. How do you test his cholesterol? Does your doctor do it or do you know of a decent home testing kit? I used to be more confident that the results were accurate when I used to have a fasting blood test done. Nowadays my surgery say there is no need to fast. I suspect that is because they don’t have enough early morning appointments but that’s probably my cynical side coming out. Good luck with it all anyway.

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Thank you! He had it tested via GP but this one wasn’t a fasting one. Next time he needs to make sure to fast.

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I've never had a problem with high cholesterol. Only diagnosed with hashimotos a year ago at the age of 72 since then cholesterol is rising even though I have a good diet (with an occasional straying). The sheet which my doctor gave me listed all the foods I eat apart from nuts and seeds which I didn't eat daily. I've added walnuts and Brazil nuts to my food intake A Spanish man told me years ago 4 walnuts a day lower cholesterol. I'm due a further blood test in January. Watch this space x

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It would be interesting to know how you got on.

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I eat a lot of nuts and seeds. Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I usually have a few of each at lunchtime. Sometimes with a bowl of soup. They are my GF standby.

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