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Statin dilemma
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Statin dilemma

Question about cholesterol numbers -- any non-MD "experts" out there with opinions, please chime in.  My total chol. is always high -- right now it's 253.  LDL is currently 147, triglycerides are 71 and HDL is at 92.  I am 58 years old, female, slightly overweight (about 12 pounds).

My cholesterol numbers drop a little when I lose a few pounds, but what you see above is pretty typical.  My ratio this time is 2.8.  Here's the dilemma.  My internist has been wanting me to take a statin for a number of years and I don't really want to do that.  

I had the calcium scan of the heart done nearly 3 years ago and had a "zero" (hard) calcium score.  It's true that softer calcium could be floating around in the heart arteries, however, I am told if a score is around "zero" it's unlikely there is a lot of soft stuff in there, either.  What to do?  The top cardiac doc at the test site said don't bother with statins due to high HDL, but my internist insists I now need a statin.  

Father died at 82 of cancer and mother at 84 of bradycardia, probably due to hardening of arteries but this is a guess.  Who knows what their cholesterol levels ever were???  Mother could still be alive but refused a pacemaker at the time and wanted to die.  

Does anyone have similar cholesterol numbers to report and if so, what are you doing about them?  I have learned that many women have these weird numbers that produce good ratios but some docs, like mine, "don't believe in ratios."  Thanks!  I don't know what to do!
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Avatar_f_tn
If I was your age, and had cholesterol numbers like you AND zero calcium score I'd never take statins no matter what my doctor would tell me.  It takes years for cholesterol to build up.  An HDL of 92 is EXCELLENT.  For people with no heart disease or family history they like the LDL to be below 130, yours is slightly higher.  I would not worry at all if I were you but count my blessings.
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Avatar_n_tn
There is lots of information about the ration being the key. Your's look great. The reserach on statins is a bit confusing and based on some interesting studies that seem to have been taken out of context. Search google to see what I mean. If you are intrested in something, try no-fluch Niacin from a reputable vendor. My husband has high cholestoral and we opted out of statins and concentrated on raising HDL instead. Consequently his ratio went up, which is what we want.

Also, Cholesterol has some purposes in our body as an antioxident. Search the interent for some peer-reviewed studies. Your parents lived past life expectancy....wonderful.

Additionally, your top cardiac doc say no worries....enough said. He/she is the expert, not the internest.

good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
    Wow!  I can understand your confusion.  Please know that none of us contributing to this forum are truly expert, but my experience on this forum is that many do have much experience from managing their own conditions.
Your doctor does have expertise--but which one?  I would tend to go with the cardiologist because of greater expertise in hearts.  Another view comes from Arthur Agatston, a renown cardiologist and author of "The South Beach Heart Program."  He advises aggressive prevention of heart disease.   It is known that younger women are somewhat protected from heart disease.  However, postmenopausal women have equal risk to men in this category.  We also know there are no long term studies of statins because statins have only been on the market for approximately 20 years.  
   I do take statins, but I have a far different profile than you.  They have lowered my LDL to 66 and I am very pleased with the results.  
   I do have one suggestion:  Do talk again with a cardiologist and have a discussion about "aggressive prevention."    If that fits what you want to do, statins may have a benefit--but then I am no expert.  Your cardiologist is.    (I am male, age 64)
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Here is an interesting link with very good references to peer reviewd articles on statins: http://www.westonaprice.org/moderndiseases/statin.html

As always, there is a contrary side to what you will read here. But always good to know what both sides are saying. Also, you can go to the Lipitor web site and look at the list of adverse side effects.
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63984_tn?1385441539
I initially tried Niacin therapy along with a strict diet and exercise, as I for quite awhile did not want to take statins after blood tests showed very elevated LDL and Trigs. I'm a male, age 66.   Right off the git-go I got a terrible reaction, I turned red and itched like crazy.  The doc tried two other types of Niacin, same reaction, so it didn't take long for me to quit taking it.  I just tried diet but a couple of heart attacks and numerous stents to open up my heart arteries changed my mind and I've taken a statin with no side effects whatsoever, and I've seen my LDL levels drop dramatically, the HDL raise, the Trig's are tolerable.  I am also taking two grams of Omega pills daily per directions from my Cardiologist.
I'd mention this also --- I believe I paid a heavy price for not listening to my doctor initially.  Sweetwaterguy said it very well.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks so much for your comments -- they are much appreciated.  This whole question of statins is so debatable and yes, there can be significant side effects.  I've got friends saying just take a low dose statin and see what happens, and others saying I definitely should not need it and to take what the cardiac expert says as gospel.  It kind of depends upon whether you think the good about statins outweighs the bad.  Clearly, some people really do need these drugs and they are good drugs to be sure.  When one has confusing numbers, though, it's hard to know which way to go.  

Anyone else care to weigh in?
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Avatar_n_tn
   One more comment:  The only real question is:  Do I need statins, and would they benefit me?
The hype about side effects is way overblown.  It is true some people don't tolerate them.  The percentages of a negative reaction are exceptionally small--to small to warrant all the misinformation that is floating out there about statins.  Take the potential side effects out of your decision making and make your decision from the information you glean from sorting out the conflicting arguments from your  doctors.  I would not suggest to know what is best for you.  I would only suggest an informed decision is one made by evaluating good information, even if it is conflicting.  As Artemus Ward said over a hundred years ago, "It ain't the things we don't know that get us into trouble,  it the things we do know that just ain't so."  Your challenge is to find out what is so, and find it out from reliable, competent, and professional sources.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I totally agree with you.  I cannot tolerate one single aspirin, not even the coated ones, not even a baby aspirin, my stomach lining will be on fire.  Yet I can tolerate Zocor for the last 4 yrs.  Like I told Carol would I have her numbers I would not take statins, but that is just my opinion, and maybe I am dead wrong about that,  But if you had numbers like me over 300 and an LDL of 231 despite healthy eating and exercise, and not being overweighed, and no natural products will bring it down its time for the statins. Even as a young woman in my 20's I never had a cholesterol below 220, but back then 220 was not as alarming as it is now a days, and therefore I was never put on cholesterol meds.
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