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cholesterol
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cholesterol

I am a 56 year old female. weight 115, height5'4'. exercise daily no health problems, no heart disease in family Total cholesterol 235,LDL 131,HDL 93, triglycerides 75, blood pressure 110/70.My doctor says I need to take cholesterol medicine to get it below 200. I don't agreed. I take no medications I don't want to if I don't need to.
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74076_tn?1189759432
Hello,

Your choleserol panel falls through the cracks of the current guidelines.  Your doctor is following the guidelines and should be given credit for doing so.  The problem is that the guidelines don't really address what to do for someone with an HDL so high.  The HDL is what is tipping you above 200.

If you don't have any other cardiac risk factors like smoking, family history of premature CAD, diabetes, I don't think I would put you on a statin.

I hope this helps and thanks for posting!
16 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I believe this cholesterol issue is over-emphasized.  My mother-in-law had perfect numbers and had a triple by-pass.  I believe that family history is a greater predictor than the "cholesterol" numbers.
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Avatar_n_tn
After cholesterol was discovered, my mother in law's total cholesterol was found to run consistently about 300-315.  She smoked most of her life, was sedentary, and fairly overweight.  She lived to be 92, decades beyond the ages reached by her own parents.

Still, it's a Pascal's Wager thing, isn't it, if you have high numbers.  My MIL was given statins during her last ten years.  We'll never know for sure if they added to her lifespan.
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61536_tn?1340701763
Wow, my husband has the exact opposite problem you have: his HDL is LOW, his triglycerides are high, but his total cholesterol is only 150.  If I had your numbers, personally, I think I'd try to lower my total number with diet and exercise and avoid the statin...if there's no family history saying it's a good idea. I'm not a big fan of medication unless there's clear cut evidence it's benefit will outweigh risks and side effects.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have Graves Disease which is usually associated with family history except no one in my family has had thyroid disease.  I have high cholesterol and take statins for it.  My doctor explained that a small percentage of cholesterol comes from food the rest is produced by your liver.  For whatever reason I have high cholesterol even when eating practically nothing.  So, don't base your decision on family history alone.  If YOUR cholesterol is high then deal with that not what one of your relatives may or may not have.
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Avatar_f_tn
I used to be scared stiff of taking statins.  I eat healthy am not overweighed, do exercise six days a week yet my cholesterol was constantly around 309 with an LDL of 231.  I tried diet, over the counter cholesterol lowering stuff plus my doc prescribed none statins to lower cholesterol, nothing helped, I still refused to take the statins and my doctor just about went through the roof.  I finally got tired of hearing him telling me what a "walking time bomb" I was etc etc etc.  I let him talk me into taking 20mg of Zocor once in the evening.  That was 2 yrs ago, I NEVER had a side effect from the Zocor and my cholesterol dropped from 309 to 180 my LDL dropped from 231 to 130, my HDL is in the upper 50's don't remember exactly.  Trigs are in the 80's.

All I can say if nothing else helps bring the cholesterol down don't be to afraid of taking a statin.  If you get side effects you can always stop.  My doctor checks my liver enzymes every 3 months (doctors do that when you're on statins)  and there was never a problem as in elevated liver enzymes.

The Internet is full of horror stories about statins, you don't read as much the success stories and people with NO side effects as you do about the side effects and the horror stories.  ALL meds have side effects even aspirin can kill certain people.

Yes, some people get very old without taking statins, but way back when there was no cholesterol checks, and we don't know if their cholesterol was high, and for the people who knew they had high cholesterol and still lived to be 100 I say they were just lucky.  I had a relative who had two arteries clogged over 90%, refused bypass surgery and lived another 20 yrs, and died at the age of 78 of Parkinsons NOT from heart disease.  Then you hear of younger people dropping dead because of clogged arteries.

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63984_tn?1385441539
I had very elevated LDL, low HDL, and refused to take Statins, I decided to lower the bad and raise the good with diet and exercise.  My total cholesterol was over 300.  I reduced the total to about 230 and raised my HDL dramatically, and proud as a peacock I still refused statins.  That was before the heart attack and stents. There is nothing like reality therapy of seeing Angioplasty take place, watching the stents, seeing the blood clots, I've done this twice.  I now take Statins, feel great, cholesterol is lowered.  Great advice, Barbarella.
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Avatar_f_tn
Flycaster,

Sorry to hear about your heart problems.  I fought taking statins for over a year, but the playing "Russian Roulette" was worst than the fear of the statins.  Constantly in the back of my mind "will I be one of the lucky ones and live to a ripe old age despite my dangerous high cholesterol or will I have a heart attack".  I remembered my mother in law who had very high cholesterol and not taking statins she had several small strokes and they found out that her carotid arteries in her neck were almost totally blocked.  Little pieces of the plaque from the cholesterol build up broke off and traveled to her brain and caused these small strokes the Neurologist told us.  Then came the big one, a massive stroke which left her in diapers and her memory lost, and therefore ended up in a nursing home for the next 6 yrs till she died.  And at my next doctor's visit when my doc told me "I was a heart attack or stroke waiting to happen" that was it and I agreed to take the Zocor, and wish I had not wasted over one year worrying about "what if I'll have side effects".  I remembered my mother in law and did not want to put my family through the same.  If I still should end up with serious heart or stroke problems at least I and my family knows that I DID try to help myself by taking the statins, and did not let the worrying about side effects get the best of me and therefore cause serious health problems.

I know people also get heart attacks who have normal or low cholesterol, other causes can also cause a heart attack, but very high cholesterol if not treated wont just flush out of your body, it will settle somewhere and its usually in your arteries.

BTW, I heard a Cardiologist say on TV that the statins also have an anti inflammatory ingredient.
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Avatar_n_tn
hey all, i'm 24 and i have had high cholesterol since i was 16... strong familial thing. though, oddly enough, they all lived to be old and none of them had blockages or heart attacks...maybe we have good arteries? i dunno, but in my case my LDL is slightly raised and my HDL is high. HDL is the good stuff and my doctor says not to worry about anything because i am very low risk. LDL is suppost to be 2.5 and mine is 3.5 my HDL is 1.8...what do you all think i should do? i eat healthy and exercise, thin, ...?

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Avatar_f_tn
Do you live in the U.K.?  I never heard of LDL suppose to be 2.5.  In the U.S. they say for the LDL not to be over 130, if you have heart problems they like it to be under 100.  

Like I said in one of my posts above some people are lucky and live a long life as all your relatives with high cholesterol did.  You're still young.  When I was your age my cholesterol was "slightly raised" and it went up a little, and then down to normal again over the years, once I hit my 50's it shot over 300 and stayed there, no life style or diet changes, just older :)

If your LDL is only raised a little and your HDL is high you should be able to control it without statins i.e. diet, life style changes etc.

Good luck!

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88793_tn?1290230777
Mine Cholesterol is 6.3mmol/L & Triglyceride is 1.4mmol/L.  It is blank in LDL & HDL.  Dr said is high?  If I compare to 200 or 300 it is very low!  Would my number need to x10 or x100?  How to read it?
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Avatar_n_tn
I've had low HDL for a while now..It's a difficult number to raise, I'm on Niaspan again, but it's not raising it that much...And the flushing that sometimes occurs is awful, feels like the worst sunburn...My other numbers are good, including the cardio CRP, which came in at .4 this time..

Is anyone else taking Niaspan?...If I take it on an empty stomach (which is contrary to what they recommend) with glass of milk, I usually won't flush...It seems like I'll have problems if I try to take it shortly after having caffeine...I'm a big Coke Classic drinker, no coffee or tea, so I need to make sure I have 2 hours or so between last soda drink & when I take Niaspan...
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Avatar_f_tn
Hiker,

My husband and I both (before I took statins) took Niaspan and it didn't help with our cholesterol one bit.  My husband whose cholesterol was not nearly as high as mine now takes "Cholest Off" (its an over the counter supplement) for over a year and it lowered his cholesterol 40 points to a total of 180 and raised his HDL in the upper 50's.
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Avatar_n_tn
You seem so informed about a lot of things, so I am posting to you.  I saw a surgeon last Tuursday, and he said that he could not believe that I have not addressed my situation.  I am to have an aortic valve replaced and 5 arteries bypassed.  Will I have to take Toprol XL after surgery?  Also, I assume that I will be finished with the nitro patch (can't go without it now) and the nitro pill.  It would be nice to be rid of some of the medicines going through that surgery.  I have been reading about the surgery, and  it is scary.  Have you ever talked to anyone about what they do to the leg and the outcome  Any information that you have will be welcomed.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, they are going to harvest from the leg, because I have so many blockages.  I am concerned to have the aortic valve done and 5 bypasses at the sametime.  He told me that I could drop dead at anytime.  The symptoms , I think, is what has gotten me into trouble.  I have increased with symptoms a lot in the last 4 months.  I think he said that the arteries add to the problem of the valve.  I can tell you that I am really scared of this operation.  I exercise alot and am very active.  I am a teacher of science and do alot of enviromental things with the children.  I have never had health problems, so this is hard for me to come to accept.  I am already second guessing myself wondering if I need to do this. He went on and on about my choices were life or death.  He said that I could drop dead at any minute.  How can they come up with that opinion.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am going to have my surgery done by a Mayo Clinic surgeon.  They are in Florida area.  He also does transplants.  They fly in patients that need repair jobs on aortic valve that have not been done successfully.  So if it is true what he says, then I assume that he should be pretty good.  I know that you are right about dealing with what I should do, but I seem start second guessing myself.  Do you have any advice about  the hospital and what to take?
I am sorry that you are having problems.  You have been through so much.
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