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High Cholesterol Level? - MIL's come back at over 9

(8 Posts)
oxcat1 Sun 24-Jul-11 18:13:41

MIL has recently had a load of blood tests to try and investigat e some dizziness. Everything has come back completely normal, but they have foudn that her cholesterol is very elevated, at over 9 on a fasting blood test.

MIL insists that her diet is healthy, and that is must be familial. It is true that her father died of heart disease, but he was well itno his 70s, and her mother died at 94. MIL is 63, probably a size 14 (difficult to guess as only 5ft tall) and a smoker.

I would imagine it is diet, but do you think the levels are too high for diet to be the case? She gets very uppity when the GP suggests lifestyle changes so I would like myself and DH to be able to help her a bit more, but I know nothing really about cholesterol. I don't imagine her diet is particularly healthy, but then I'm only going on what I see her eat when she's with us, and that counts as her holiday? Any advice hugely appreciated. Thanks.

ameliagrey Sun 24-Jul-11 18:20:10

well, first thing is to stop smoking. No good doing anything if she won't stop that. has dr not offered NHS quitting support?

Yes, high cholesterol can he hereditary but 9 is really, really high- they like it to be under 5.

Diet contributes to high levels but the liver makes cholesterol so you can have high levels even if you eat healthily.

My mum had high chol- but it was just over 6. She got it down to normal ( 5-ish) through diet BUT she was in her 80s then ( is now 84). her mother and brother ad heart disease.

However, my mum is small- weighs 8.5 st, exercises , doesn't smoke and eats very healthily. She has now been put on statins after a minor stroke 4 years ago.

Ways to reduce cholesterol include:

low fat diet ( and that means cutting out fatty meats, cakes and biscuits etc as well as the obvious stuff like high fat cheese, full fat milk, chocolate etc)
increasing fibre ( it helps to soak it up and move out of the body)
exercise daily- such as 30 mins brisk walking
not smoking

Any changes can take at least 3 months to show up in a blood test.

oxcat1 Sun 24-Jul-11 18:30:23

I know the dr did offer help to stop smoking, as she took it very badly and got very defensive on the phone!

As far as I know, she does very little exercise, and although her diet certainly isn't high in junk food or anything like that, I suspect it probably is quite high in fat. If we go out to eat, she tends to say that she won't have anything as she's just eaten......but then order a panini followed by pudding. They don't 'count' though?! I think she probably eats more than she imagines she does, and certainly more of teh wrong kind of food, but it is very difficult to broach the subject without her feeling got at. I know she doesn't eat rice, pasta or wholemeal bread, and she's recently had her front teeth taken out so I shouldn't imagine she eats much fresh fruit either. I have never once seen her drink a glass of water, in the 10 years I've known her - she just survives on tea and coffee - but she doesn't drink alcohol at all.

Do you think her level is so high that there could be a familial component?

oxcat1 Sun 24-Jul-11 18:31:24

Will stopping smoking actually reduce cholesterol as an act in itself, or just reduce the risk of stroke/heart disease?

Putthatbookdown Sun 24-Jul-11 18:48:55

Stopping smoking will do both. Also olive oil is good -she can eat as much fruit and veg as she likes as well. Chocolate is ok in SMALL amounts if need somhing sweet but no cakes/biscuits, cream, buter, chesse Get low fat spread and skimmed milk

TotalChaos Sun 24-Jul-11 19:10:40

I imagine they will start her on statins at that sort of level so that should be a big help in bringing her cholesterol down anyway, there's only so much that an improved diet can do tbh. If you want more information, the heart uk website has lots of info about diet.

ameliagrey Sun 24-Jul-11 19:26:02

smoking will be narrowing her arteries and making her blood thicker- as will the cholesterol- so both combined are very bad news.

one other thing- get your DH to have his checked as if there is CVD in his family he needs to take care.

oxcat1 Sun 24-Jul-11 19:46:31

Thanks so much. Will get on to all of that. They're staying with us next week so I'll see if I can apply some gently pressure to push for a few lifestyle improvements. Hadn't thought about implications for DH - thank you.

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