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High cholesterol - any thoughts?

(15 Posts)
MrEzraGoldberg Thu 10-Oct-19 15:29:34

My cholesterol is consistently high (7-7.5), despite not doing any of the things that contribute to high cholesterol. Don't smoke, drink, eat fatty foods. The doctor decided it was familial (can't remember the name for it) and a consultant agreed. However, neither my mum or dad had high cholesterol. They obviously wanted to start me on statins but I'm reluctant for several reasons, mainly because, as I suffer from ME, I don't want to risk the POSSIBLE side effects. However, I also don't want to have heart attack or stroke!

It's a dilemma. I'm not daft, and will certainly take them if there's nothing else i can do, but I'm wondering - exactly HOW dangerous is it to have high cholesterol? Am I definitely on course for heart problems/clogged arteries if I don't treat it but it doesn't get any higher?

Anyone else living with high cholesterol? And if you took statins, did they help? Would be grateful for any thoughts.

8stoneloser Thu 10-Oct-19 15:33:04

Eating high carb diets lead to high cholesterol not high fat. Anyway total cholesterol is a pretty defunct measurement of cardio vascular risk as it's a theory which has never been proved by rigorous repeated testing.

The numbers that are important are HDL to Triglycerides ratio. It should be about 1.

ItsJustTheOneSwanActually Thu 10-Oct-19 15:37:14

DH takes them now he's over 50 due to family history and slightly raised levels. We got his numbers down a bit with a Mediterranean diet but they still put him on statins to err on the side of caution.

He has not had one single side effect.

moreismore Thu 10-Oct-19 15:38:27

I agree look at your carb intake, especially refined sugar.

treeofwhispers Thu 10-Oct-19 15:38:47

That sounds like a combined cholesterol result. Get the figures split into HDL and LDL. HDLis the sort of cholesterol that removes fatty deposits from blood vessels so having a good amount of that is actually beneficial. If the ratio of HDL to LDL is healthy then you do not need to worry. My husband's overall cholesterol result has been high but because his ratios are healthy he doesn't have to take any action.

Medication usually actually lowers overall cholesterol so won't necessarily tackle an unhealthy HDL and LDL ratio as I understand it. And as you have said there are side effects and contradictions.

Diet wise I would say cut sugar and simple carbohydrates. Don't go overboard on carbohydrates full stop. High insulin levels IIRC can be linked with high cholesterol.

moreismore Thu 10-Oct-19 15:39:06

If you do end up on statins take coenzyme Q10 as there is evidence it can protect against side effects.

moreismore Thu 10-Oct-19 15:39:37

There’s some good info on the fb page marks daily apple

Imtootired Thu 10-Oct-19 15:40:37

Are you sure your parents didn’t have it? Sounds like it might be genetic. I’m sorry I really don’t have advice I need to make a similar decision and it’s such a controversial area with conflicting views. Maybe start with a cholesterol lowering margarine and cut out animal fat and see if that does anything

mindutopia Thu 10-Oct-19 15:43:55

Have you been tested for the familial variant? It was thought I had it (my dad had very high cholesterol, despite eating very healthy and generally living a healthy lifestyle) and I had high cholesterol from childhood. They need to do genetic testing to know if it's the familial kind. Mine seemingly isn't as it went away and I no long have high cholesterol. But they wouldn't have confirmed it either way without genetic testing.

That said, the best thing you can do is eat a low carb, high healthy fat diet. My cholesterol was high for years as a vegetarian for 20 years. When I started eating a high fat, low carb diet (purely because anything else made me feel a bit ill), that was the first time in my adult life that it was ever normal.

Batqueen Thu 10-Oct-19 15:44:00

Hi, I have high cholesterol due to diabetes. The biggest thing I find helps is regular exercise. Changing diet has made marginal difference to mine but regular gym workouts help.

FWIW I’m a size 8, vegetarian in my 30s (relevance being that I’m not exactly who you would expect to have high cholesterol)

Sometime genetics just sucks!

treeofwhispers Thu 10-Oct-19 15:48:04

cholesterol lowering margarine

These tend to work like statins. That is they will not necessarily make your HDL LDL ratios healthy. They can work, though. My MIL has used them and said her cholesterol was lower.

For better ratios though you need to cut down carbs, cut out sugars. Eat fruits with pectins in. High solubility fibre is supposed to help to. Saturated fat is actually considered more healthy, than oils, by some as it reduces hunger and so long as it is not combined with high carbohydrates is not believed to detrimentally effect cholesterol. Mono unsaturated are good for reducing cholesterol but don't cook with them as they are unstable at high temperatures. For cooking you need a more stable fat such as coconut oil.

Cegbee Thu 10-Oct-19 15:53:35

You should calculate your Framingham risk score based on your other risk factors- this will give you an estimate of your risk of cardiovascular events (stroke, heart attacks) in the next 10 years. Your GP will have done this and used it to advise on statin use (but also because they have targets to get their patients cholesterol to). Then you can decide if the risk is low enough for you to accept. Diet makes very little difference to cholesterol but exercise increases your HDL 'good cholesterol', so the you can improve the ratio of bad to good cholesterol by increasing exercise.

goingtotown Thu 10-Oct-19 16:01:33

I have a brisk 15 minute walk & porridge every day as recommended by my GP. My cholesterol was 6.1 18 months ago it’s now 5.2 with no other change to my diet.

Idratherhaveacupoftea Thu 10-Oct-19 16:05:51

I take statins, they brought my cholesterol down to 3.8 from 5.8. I have had no side effects whatsoever.

MrEzraGoldberg Thu 10-Oct-19 20:57:03

Thanks for all your responses, it's much appreciated. Cegbee - a 10 year risk calculation was done a while back and the doctor that did that was happy with the score - it was low, though can't remember the exact number. It's difficult to increase my exercise due to having the ME; I can only exercise at a low to moderate pace. I do exercise several times a week where possible.

goingtotown - I have porridge often, along with cholesterol reducing spread and three other measures that are supposed to help lower cholesterol, but to no avail, it seems sad It's great that yours has reduced! I live in hope that my body is simply slow to react.

My bad (LDL) cholesterol is also high, flagged up as 'abnormal' on results.

mindutopia Not been tested for the familial variant, the consultant decided it was genetic on the basis of questions about my lifestyle. I didn't know there was a test. there was definitely a name though, hyper something, and I have a letter in which he states this must be the case (I'll look it out). My mother definitely didn't have high cholesterol and nor did my dad. Neither had heart problems. It's really odd!

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