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Cholesterol - Statins and is it actually possible to lower naturally?

(22 Posts)
ScandiCinnamon Wed 18-Nov-15 09:30:29

OH has just has his cholesterol blood test results back. He says it was 6 (I suspect maybe higher). I really don't know much about statins and he does not seem keen on them.

Anyone take them? Or have managed to lower cholesterol naturally??

Any advice welcome. Thank you

Elibean Wed 18-Nov-15 15:12:38

Most of my family have managed to lower cholesterol from around 6 to around 5 by eating healthily, adding porridge and plant stanols (eg Benecol drinks) to their diet.

I, on the other hand, have not - after being really careful it has gone up to 6.2 angry

BUT my GP, along with many others at the moment, is sceptical of cholesterol on its own meaning much - she says it has to be taken into account along with weight, blood pressure, family history and age. My calculated risk of heart related illness in the next 10 years is 4%, even with 'high' cholesterol. She will NOT prescribe statins on that basis.

She also said the balance of good/bad cholesterol means a lot too, and my 'good' cholesterol is unusually high.

God knows, really, but if your OH's GP has not suggested statins I would watch diet a bit, get some exercise and get re-tested in a few months' time.

Sidge Wed 18-Nov-15 15:19:34

Find out his Q-Risk - this will usually be an indicator as to whether statins are necessary. A slightly elevated cholesterol alone isn't usually a problem, it has to be taken in context with BP, family history, smoking, activity levels etc. And as Elibean says it's useful to know your HDL and LDL values.

In the meantime reduce saturated fats in the diet, reduce excess alcohol, increase cardiovascular activity and stop smoking if applicable. Food products such as Benecol and Pro-Activ can help in conjunction with those other things. There is no benefit from rechecking cholesterol frequently, dietary and lifestyle changes can take 6-12 months to be reflected in blood results.

Oldsu Thu 19-Nov-15 01:12:08

Be very careful Statins nearly destroyed my DH health and nearly ruined our marriage, they can have very serious side effects not everyone gets them of course but they are far far more common than the NHS (especially NICE) and big Pharma would have us believe, my DH will never take them again, read everything you can on them if he is prescribed them and support your DH when he makes an INFORMED decision whether to take them or not.

ScandiCinnamon Thu 19-Nov-15 10:57:02

Thank you all. I am reading up on oatbran and soya and all sorts.

I am not sure what his Q-risk is Sidge, but..........he smokes, has somewhat elevated blood pressure, doesn't exercise oh and there is the fact that there is a family history of heart issues. Did I remember to mention the excessive wine consumption?!

I feel like he is a ticking time bomb.

Oh I am sorry about your experience Oldsu. How is your DH doing now? Is he taking something else? Health supplements?

Sidge Thu 19-Nov-15 11:08:39

Go to www.qrisk.org and you can input the data you have and calculate his risk of stroke or heart disease. If he is an overweight, inactive smoker with elevated BP and a family history of heart disease then he needs to make some changes to reduce that risk. sad

The single most effective thing he can do is stop smoking - easier said than done I know. Dietary changes and all the oats in the world won't have the same benefit as quitting smoking. As a HCP I'd be recommending changing his lifestyle before I prescribed statins.

Good luck.

Oldsu Thu 19-Nov-15 11:58:10

Scandi DH has an appointment with a lipid consultant next month, and he is doing his best to diet and take more care of himself.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Thu 19-Nov-15 12:03:49

I'd just like to add that my husband has been on statins for 18 months since having a heart attack and has had no side effects at all. It isn't inevitable that they cause problems and you do have to bear in mind that the problems they prevent would be a lot worse than any side effects.

It's also important to remember that there are lots of different factors in each case. The OP's partner needs to talk about this in more detail with the GP. Could you go with him, OP? That might help to get the full picture.

Helenluvsrob Thu 19-Nov-15 12:06:10

You cannot interpret cholesterol in isolation.

The evidence for cholesterol lowering is based on cholesterol that has been lowered by statins, not plant sterols. So if you lower from 6 to 5 with benecol we do not know if that gives you the same effect as the same drop caused by a statin. We hope it will but it may not.

The non PC advice to the OP is bugger the cholesterol, the one change that will make a risk free HUGE reduction in his risk factor is stopping smoking. That is evidence based, risk free and in his own hands. We are tickling round the edges even of thinking about his cholesterol I'm afraid.

ouryve Thu 19-Nov-15 12:07:13

he smokes, has somewhat elevated blood pressure, doesn't exercise oh and there is the fact that there is a family history of heart issues. Did I remember to mention the excessive wine consumption?!

Sounds like there's a lot of things that he can change before he even considers popping pills.

specialsubject Thu 19-Nov-15 13:14:48

Is there a reason he isn't bothered about trying to reduce his risks?

Elibean Thu 19-Nov-15 14:43:18

I'll also add that my dh has had statins for years (he has familial high cholesterol, as in 9 rather than slightly elevated) with no side effects.

And another random fact to throw in: he has been off statins for a while as the evidence on cholesterol seems to have got vaguer - but to play safe, he also went for a calcification scan (they measure the build up of plaque in the coronary vessels) as it is a fairly accurate indicator - and his score was a stonkingly healthy zero. No build up at all.

So in his case (which I know is only a one-off stat and meaningless) high cholesterol has not clogged his arteries even a smidge.

But smoking, drinking, overweight...? Those I would worry about, tbh.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 19-Nov-15 20:28:37

I did the Q-Risk

Non smoker/ high end of healthy BMI but losing/non alcohol/vegetarian/ BP 101/66

And elevated cholesterol, have to see GP again after blood test (though I stopped the statins because I cba getting more basically )

My risk according to Q-Risk is 1.7%

ScandiCinnamon Fri 20-Nov-15 19:30:17

Specialsubject, to be honest I have no bloody idea. We have two wonderful DDs. (5 & 7) and I hope that he'd want to be around for them.

I actually got my own cholesterol test back today. And was SO shocked at first before I took it all in. GP says your cholesterol is 5.4 shock confused

But then he said reason it's that high is because the good levels are so high (2.3 mmol/L). So it was all fine.

I'm so frustrated w OH (maybe this is a AIBU...?) about lack of action to sort health out. The man has had a very close call a few years ago too when he nearly died in seapticimia so thought he might appreciate life. hmm

Seaoftroubles Fri 20-Nov-15 20:48:49

I managed to reduce my Cholesterol level from 6.7 to 4.7 by a few dietary changes. I cut out hard cheese ( used to eat it every day), replaced cows milk with soya milk and had porridge nearly every day for breakfast. I also upped the amount of fruit and veggies in my diet, reduced meat to a couple of times a week and used the Benecol spread and yoghurt drinks.The best part was that my 'bad' cholesterol pretty much halved. Have to say the rest of my risk factors-blood pressure, weight, and BMI were all ok but I have always had fairly high cholesterol so was delighted with this result.( So was my GP!)

FuckyNell Fri 20-Nov-15 21:00:15

Mine is 7!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 25-Nov-15 22:21:28

My cholesterol is 6 and my LDL are 4.2.

But I have no blessed clue WHY mt cholesterol levels are so high?

I'm working hard on my weight (and I;ve shifted a few more pounds)

Is Benecol good? I don't like butter/margarine but I'd try the drinks IF they help.

I have no risk factors that I can see (and currantly 10st3lb on a 5'5" frame, I'm not obese but need to lose more)

I declined the statins for the time being.
Any ideas?

Wolpertinger Thu 26-Nov-15 17:42:53

Some people just naturally make more cholesterol than others. Also your body may naturally set itself as having a particular cholesterol level. So if you make an intervention such as changing your diet which reduces the diet element of your cholesterol, your body will think 'oh no, too little cholesterol here' and make more itself to get the levels back up.

There is only so much you can do with diet interventions for cholesterol unfortunately.

Seaoftroubles Thu 26-Nov-15 19:53:30

70 is a limit see my post above- I found these changes to my diet really effective. My L.D.L was 4.7 and I managed to get it down to 2.5. which amazed me! I used the Benecol spread and the drinks and I am sure they helped.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 27-Nov-15 14:13:41

Sea I bought some Benecol (Dairy Free) so I'm going to give it a whirl.
I eat an oatbased cereal (I really really couldn't stomach porridge) for breakfast (soya milk in my cereal and coffee)

<<sigh>>

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 27-Nov-15 21:11:57

Just had my Benecol ............this had better work because not only are they 50p a pop, they taste like peach handcream envy <<vom

Seaoftroubles Sat 28-Nov-15 09:35:44

Agree, they are expensive! I have strawberry flavour and I actually like the taste..not dairy free though so maybe that makes a difference? Hope they work for you 70 :-)

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