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Whopping cholesterol level - what next?

(19 Posts)
seagull70 Fri 25-Jul-14 17:41:28

Just had a fasting cholesterol level of 7.4 hmm

In the surgery I noticed that I had a level of 5.9 several years ago but nothing was ever mentioned to me and I wasn't given any advice or called back for screening etc.

Anyway, it's now 7.4

Dr is trying to persuade me to take statins but for the time being I'm refusing as would like to tackle it with diet and exercise.

He asked me a few questions about lifestyle and family history and gave me a 1.9% chance of a heart attack in next 10 years?

Test hasn't been broken down into HDL or LDL as he said with a reading that high if was irrelevant!

Also a few years ago I had a scan for abdominal pain which revealed a fatty liver.

My mum has raised cholesterol and my dad died in late 50's of a heart attack.

Not sure what my question is really other than, what would you be doing if you were me (I'm early 40's)

I'm planning to reduce carbs and lose weight and become a lot more active - anything else?

I have heard that the Benicol drinks can help but aren't they full of sugar?

17leftfeet Fri 25-Jul-14 17:47:40

My advice? Take the statins

It's very hard to significantly reduce cholesterol through diet quickly enough

You have heart disease in your family, it's not worth the risk

RockinD Fri 25-Jul-14 19:10:10

My advice - get your thyroid tested before you even think about statins. High cholesterol is a diagnostic for hypothyroidism and the NICE guidelines say that if this is present, it should be "adequately treated" before treatment with statins is considered.

Your CVD risk is to low as to be almost negligible so there is no need to panic. Sort out your diet and exercise levels anyway.

Statins are a knee jerk reaction by the GP and anyway, there is published research that says they are of little or no benefit to women. However, if he prescribes them for you, your GP will be PAID. Go figure.

Willdoitinaminute Fri 25-Jul-14 19:48:13

The data suggest they are of little use before menopause due to protective nature of oestrogen however post menopausal they are indicated for women. Hypothyroidism MAY elevate levels but again many women have under active thyroid post menopause so not conclusive. I'm not sure GPs are paid per prescription in fact in fact I suspect it is the reverse. They prescribe preventative drugs because they want to prevent their patients chance of suffering life threatening diseases.

sanfairyanne Fri 25-Jul-14 20:26:57

have you got low vit d? are you overweight? diet?
i would wait and see if i could reduce it
it was lower once?
also get vit d tested. there is a link there as well as to hypothyroidism i believe

RockinD Fri 25-Jul-14 20:53:30

Sorry Inaminute GPs get paid on a points system and points mean income.

To believe otherwise is to be extremely naive.

NannyR Fri 25-Jul-14 21:30:40

Has your gp considered familial hyper cholesterolaemia given that you have a parent with raised cholesterol? This runs in my family, I had no idea that I had a raised cholesterol, neither did my dad till he saw an optician who saw some kind of spots in his eyes that indicated high levels. He was tested and diagnosed with this, my siblings and I were also tested and we all also have it - I was 9.2 when diagnosed.

I have seen a specialist at guys hospital who said that with this type of high cholesterol, diet has very little effect on either raising or lowering your levels, he very strongly recommended that I start on statins at the age of thirty, even though I had low risks of heart disease, e.g.normal blood pressure, non-smoker etc. I've never had any side effects from taking them and they have brought my levels down to 4.9.

GalaxyInMyPants Fri 25-Jul-14 21:32:44

With your family history I'd take the statins.

seagull70 Fri 25-Jul-14 23:08:13

Thanks everyone

RockinD. My last TSH was 3 - well within range but I have lots of hypo symptoms so am waiting to see and Endo. I doubt he'll be concerned though. Ferratin is low (10) and B12 is low end of range so I'm working to get those up.

You recommended health unlocked in previous post which I have found very helpful thanks

I'd like to try and tackle it myself before resorting to statins so will see how that goes but ultimately may end up taking them

PJ67 Fri 25-Jul-14 23:41:10

My partner who is very fit, good diet, doesn't smoke had a cholesterol level of around 7.4 age 43. We saw a consultant who said it probably run in his family as his dad needed a heart bypass in his 50's. He was strongly recommended to take a statin by the consultant who said that diet would only reduce it by around 10% if it was familial and that wasn't enough. He took a statin and 6 months later it was less than 5. I think it's worth taking.

7to25 Fri 25-Jul-14 23:50:54

Coming on to say that it is extremely hard to effect a fall of more than 10% using lifestyle changes, so still 6.5 with diet and excercise. Take the statins and change the brand if the first one isn't suitable.

RockinD Sat 26-Jul-14 09:29:14

If your TSH is 3, then you would be treated for hypothyroidism in every other developed country. I'd say you're hypo and this is probably why your cholesterol is high. Mine has come down with treatment, as I always said it would.

That ferritin needs sorting pronto. At 10 I would imagine it is below range and the endo should be considering an iron infusion when you get to see him. It needs to be over 70 at the very least to support your thyroid function. I couldn't get an infusion and it took me 4 years to raise mine by taking tablets.

Your B12 needs to be over 500 and your vitamin D over 100 to be optimal.

If your vits and mins are all optimal this may shove your thyroid back into line and your cholesterol may come down this way.

Either way, it doesn't sound like statins are going to be the answer.

Elibean Sat 26-Jul-14 17:49:17

Mine went up to 6 (in my 50s) and I brought it down to 5 again with sensible diet and daily Benecol drinks.

My husband, otoh, couldn't possibly - he has the familial type, and he tried. Statins for him, no side effects and they work beautifully.

It really does depend - but if you try for 3 months of sensible diet, enough exercise and plant stanols etc you can always move on to statins then. Personally, I wouldn't leave it for ages more though - 3 months is enough to bring levels down with diet, if its going to work.

Willdoitinaminute Sun 27-Jul-14 22:55:06

I'm afraid RockinD that as a health professional who prescribes I know too well how we don't get paid! You may be confusing Gps as a whole with gps who have a dispensary within the practice to dispense meds for which they are paid.
Seagull 70 as someone who has had serious endocrine problems since my early 20s I would advise having a chat with your GP re your concerns about your thyroid. Dr Google is no substitute.

PinkSparklyElephant Mon 28-Jul-14 14:46:12

I agree with a previous poster I would go down the diet and exercise route before statins.

DH had a cholesterol level of over 7 and was never advised to change his diet (not that his diet is that bad, mainly low fat), he was just given statins. He took them for a while with no problems but a different GP decided they weren't working fast enough and doubled the dose. He ended up with migraines, tendonitis and could hardly walk because of the muscle pain. The statin was changed several times but now he can't tolerate any of them and isn't taking any. Not ideal but there's not a lot else he can do.

If you do take the statins be very aware of side effects and speak to your GP if you are unsure about anything - we didn't know very much about them and it took a while for DH to get back to normal and I think that some of his health problems are left over from the statins.

micah Mon 28-Jul-14 14:52:51

I'd ask for a referral to a dietician. You say you're going to cut carbs, but that will likely lead to a higher proportion of dietary fat.

We have familial hypercholesterolaemia and a Mediterranean type diet was proposed as "best",, so fat mainly from olive oil, and plant sources. It was 20 years ago mind, but my cholesterol has been stable since. My brother, very much a meat water, struggles with his.

simonhartuk Mon 30-Jan-17 10:05:06

Hi all. I work at HEART UK- The Cholesterol Charity and we have a great deal of information freely available that may help, in addition to a helpline staffed by a dietitians and a nurse. In addition to practical help on diet and lifestyle, there's information on the inherited form of high cholesterol- familial hypercholesterolaemia. We're here to help so please feel free to get in touch: or 0345 4505988

trinity0097 Mon 30-Jan-17 18:01:55

Try low carb high fat, cured my fatty liver and reduced my cholesterol. (Yes eating fat!)

Read for the diet doctor website for the science behind why!

U2HasTheEdge Tue 31-Jan-17 09:38:12

Zombie post.

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