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High cholesterol help

(42 Posts)
Kez0777 Fri 27-Oct-17 13:13:38

Hi, yesterday I got told by the doctor that my cholesterol level is 7.2 so very high. I’m just 40, fit, vegetarian and even though I eat a bit of chocolate and cheese daily I’d say I have a really food diet.
I’m not sure how I can cut down my food or up my excersie so I’m after any help if anyone has any ideas.
I’m not sure if it’s hereditary yet, I’ve found out my grandpa and aunties all have had high cholesterol. But does this automatically make it hereditary or can it still be down to my diet and health somehow?
Any help would be greatly appreciated

MissConductUS Fri 27-Oct-17 13:27:55

There is a lot of confusion about cholesterol among the public, and the medical community does a poor job of explaining it.

Cholesterol is essential to health. It's a fundamental building block for all sorts of vital things, from bile acids to hormones. It's made in the liver. For most people, dietary cholesterol intake isn't that big a factor, as it sounds like in your situation. Your liver is simply making more than you need.

Your best option is medication. Ask your doctor to start with the smallest dose possible and recheck your lipids after you've been on it for a while. Statin drugs need to be used cautiously

Statin side effects

but the benefit in lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease is worth it.

Hope this helped.

Kez0777 Fri 27-Oct-17 13:51:33

That’s great thanks.
I’ve just been left really confused by it all as like I say I’m fit and as far as I thought healthy and I work hard at that. It was left with the doctor that I’d cut a few bits out where I can and then get re tested along with my thyroid in 6 months. This was all before I realised that it’s in the family, I’ve let the doctors know but she’s not in till Monday. Im not sure if she’ll still say come back in 6 months or do something about it now.
I’m finding it all really worrying sad

MissConductUS Fri 27-Oct-17 14:02:10

Ring the office on Monday and speak with the nurse (I'm an nurse smile). In your situation, I would not want to wait six months to start treatment.

You should be concerned, not worried. Advocate for your own care and see if they'll let you start on a low dose of something and then retest. Are you hypothyroid?

YouCantCallMeBetty Fri 27-Oct-17 14:10:05

I have familial high cholesterol which was picked up when I was about 30. Have been taking a statin and something else to augment it since then. My cholesterol level was similar to yours which is admittedly higher than ideal but not super high (many people with FH have cholesterol levels into double figures that have gone unrecognised).
The BHF have lots of very helpful info here https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/conditions/familial-hypercholesterolaemia if it does turn out to be familial. You should also be referred to a local lipid clinic to see a specialist nurse and lipid consultant if you wish. There’s been lots of investment recently into trying to identify people with FH early these days to reduce morbidity & mortality.
It is tricky to reduce familial high cholesterol through lifestyle interventions because it has a different aetiology to dietary high cholesterol (again BHF info explains).
I do understand it is worrying but in terms of impact on my life I really don’t think about it much these days. Yes it’s a lifelong condition to manage but it’s not too intrusive into daily life and I’ve been fortunate to find a statin that suits me without any significant side effects. Feel free to get back to me if you have any questions. I agree you should ask for genetic test sooner now you know your family history.

Kez0777 Fri 27-Oct-17 14:11:32

I’m hoping once she knows it’s on the family she’ll want to do something. To be honest she seemed as confused as me as to why it’s so high due to my lifestyle so I think she was hoping it might just come down. If it’s hereditary though it’s a different matter. Is there a way of telling if it’s actually hereditary or not?
No she said my thyroid tests had come back quite high but not any concern but wanted to check them again wolith this.
Id asked for my thyroid to be checked as I’m constantly exhausted, have a lot of dizzy spells and I’ve been losing more than average hair. She didn’t seem worried by any of that though.

gamerchick Fri 27-Oct-17 14:14:08

Do you drink much alcohol? My gp told me to pack in for a month then get retested. The bugger came down.

Kez0777 Fri 27-Oct-17 14:14:53

I think the thing that worries me most is that if it isn’t FH then I’m not sure what more I can do to actually reduce it confused Id say obsessed with my eating habits and excecise as it is so don’t allow myself to over indulge much other that occasionally and then I beat myself up about it!

Kez0777 Fri 27-Oct-17 14:16:20

Not really with alcohol, I’d say I maybe go out once a month, I’ll drink a bit then but since having kids I can’t handle much and the thought of a hangover the next day puts me off going too crazy 😂 I would never sit at home and have a drink

MarmaladeIsMyJam Fri 27-Oct-17 14:17:53

I had exactly the same results last year. I think mine was 7.3 from a check I had with Bupa. I'm not sure if it runs in the family though. I was 39 at the time, so Doc wouldn't consider statins. He also told me that my good fats were quite high compared to normal so they were pushing up my overall score? (No idea if this is correct)
I also do lots of exercise, although my diet could be better, I eat far too much cheese!
I spent six months cutting back on fats and having a benecol drink each day. I went back after 6 months to get them checked and it was down to 5.2.

MissConductUS Fri 27-Oct-17 14:18:15

No she said my thyroid tests had come back quite high but not any concern but wanted to check them again wolith this. Id asked for my thyroid to be checked as I’m constantly exhausted, have a lot of dizzy spells and I’ve been losing more than average hair. She didn’t seem worried by any of that though.

Did she palpate your neck to feel the gland or refer you for a scan? I'd see another doctor for a second evaluation. Hyperthyroid is nothing to dismiss casually. It can cause some serious complications.

Hyperthyroid Complications

Kez0777 Fri 27-Oct-17 14:24:49

No she didn’t do anything like that but would she if my results were coming up that there isn’t an issue? I have no idea how results and stuff work but on her screen for all my results the thyroid line was at about 80%

MissConductUS Fri 27-Oct-17 14:31:39

You said earlier that my thyroid tests had come back quite high so I assumed that she had drawn blood and you already had the lab results back. Retesting is a good practice to rule out an aberrant test result, but it sounds like you don't actually have finished labs at this point.

Kez0777 Fri 27-Oct-17 14:35:27

I’ve had the test but she said they had come back like they were high as if it could become a concern but not actually have any thyroid problems, I’m not sure if that makes sense and don’t really understand how reading the results work. When I rang up they said it was fine so maybe she means it is but if it went any higher then it would be an issue. Sorry if I’m making things sound confused

Teddy7878 Fri 27-Oct-17 14:35:35

Mine was 8.1 and I got it down to 6 which is now classed as borderline high but nothing to really worry about. I got mine down by losing 2 stone, stopping smoking and avoiding dairy, fatty meat and sugar as much as possible. Also cut back on carbs a bit. Sounds like you are already healthy though. I wouldn't worry yourself too much, apparently they don't start to freak out until it's above 9

trinity0097 Sun 29-Oct-17 06:44:31

Do you eat a lot of carbs? Carbs is the key with cholesterol.

Kentnurse2015 Sun 29-Oct-17 06:48:20

This has happened to my husband. He already has a healthy lifestyle but changed his diet for a number of months with absolutely no effect. They concluded it was a genetic link and he is now on statins which have done the trick

Kez0777 Sun 29-Oct-17 09:45:46

I do eat a lot of carbs but as a vegetarian I’m not sure what else I’d eat. My diet is mostly based around pasta, rice and bread. I do always go for wholewheat thought rather than white so I’m not sure if that makes any difference.

sadie9 Sun 29-Oct-17 16:16:03

I was the same, healthy diet and exercise, but just always had high cholesterol. Mine was 6.2 when I was 25 years ago and weighed about 7.5 stone. I am 50 now and weigh 8.5 stone, never ate fried foods or any high fat stuff and cholesterol was 7.8 last year.
I take a statin everyday. Cholesterol went from 7.8 to 4.5 over a few months. I have had zero side effects. I figure a stroke has pretty severe side effects too.

Kez0777 Sun 29-Oct-17 16:29:15

I am concerned if I have to take statins as some of the side effects don’t sound great and apparently are more likely to effect you if your small, which I am! I am a really bad sleeper as it is 😞 but like sadie9 says I’m sure the after effects of a stroke or heart attack are much much worse 😥

MissConductUS Sun 29-Oct-17 16:44:29

To minimize the side effects start with a very low dose and then recheck your lipids. There are quite a few different statins available, so if one doesn't agree with you, you can try a low dose of another.

trinity0097 Sun 29-Oct-17 19:48:48

www.dietdoctor.com/carbs-affect-cholesterol

2old2beamum Sun 29-Oct-17 20:07:49

I find cholesterol levels strange (ex old midwife here) I have a friend, she and her husband ate identical foods he was tubby, she slim. Her level was 9.2 his 1.9! ???

MissConductUS Sun 29-Oct-17 21:54:24

I have a friend, she and her husband ate identical foods he was tubby, she slim. Her level was 9.2 his 1.9! ???

Scroll up to my earlier post.

For most people, dietary cholesterol intake isn't that big a factor, as it sounds like in your situation. Your liver is simply making more than you need.

Her liver is producing too much cholesterol.

Kez0777 Mon 30-Oct-17 07:07:34

If anyone has any ideas what I can eat other than carbs I’d be great full as I have no idea! I am always hungry and am pretty active so find that carbs are always good at filling me. I’ve let the doctor know that it’s in the family and she back today so will hopefully get back to me to let me know what she thinks

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