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cholesterol
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cholesterol

I am 57 year old female. Weght 115lb. and height 5'4'.I walk everyday for 1 hour  wearing a 10 lb. weghted vest. Blood pressure 98 over 62. Feel great and have no health problems.My doctor says I need to take cholesterol medicine because my LDL was 126,but my HDL was 116, my trigl. were 67. I say I don't need it the only reason total is 255 is because my good is so high.
what do you say.
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Avatar_n_tn
cpontius,

thanks for the post.

Your good cholesterol is very good. One of the highest I've seen. The main data we have is for LDL and modification of LDL correlating with better outcomes. Assuming absolutely no other risk factors, your LDL would still place you within NCEP ATP III guidelines for medical management.  

Your physician may have other reasons to recommend therapy, however. I would discuss your concerns with him/her.

good luck
13 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
I really do NOT understand why your doc wants you on statins.  Your BP is excellent, you workout is great everyday.  Your HDL is great, your LDL in normal range. Your Trigs are great.  They say (you can google it) LDL not over 130 if you have no heart disease, under 100 if you have heart disease or have close family members with heart disease as in your parents or parents who died at a young age of heart disease.

To get your doc off your back try to do some natural things to get the LDL lower, certain diets or stuff you get at the health food store.  Maybe he is just hyper because your LDL is close to 130 and is worried that it might go over 130.

You say that you are 57.  Wait till you are on medicare.  My husband just turned 65 and medicare tells him that a "lipid Profile test" Medicare will pay for every 5 yrs.  Even a person with normal cholesterol can have his cholesterol go up within 5 yrs.  But when you are young, or under 65 and especially if you have good insurance they will tell you as they used to tell my husband and are telling me now "you have to have a Lipid Profile test at least once a year", but once you hit 65 all of a sudden its every 5 yrs.  His doctor now says (since my husband is on medicare) "maybe I can get around it, I will try" since my husband does have high cholesterol.

Statins also bring in a lot of money and to many people are put on them who shouldn't be on them.  And the guidelines are getting lower and lower, not just with cholesterol, with BP and diabetes too, the guidelines are getting lower and lower which means people need to be put on drugs sooner and sooner.  Is it to sell more drugs?  Is it because the Insurance companies want to prevent paying big bucks once we get sick?  Or is it because they are really concerned about us?

But what choice do you have?  You go along with what the docs tell you after all being told that you are a walking time bomb as I was told doesn't exactly make you feel any better either.
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Avatar_n_tn
It is really the ratio of HDL to LDL that matters, not the total cholesterol so much.  Your ratio is excellent - statins seem like an extreme step for someone like you (I must take them for genetic reasons).  You could eat oatmeal every day - this really does help.
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Avatar_n_tn
as the doc points out, there is benefit to lowering LDL.  if your body can tollerate statins, i think it's decent.  and as another poster has said, ratios are important.
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Avatar_n_tn
I may have miscommunicated using the term 'medical' was not supposed to be synonymous with medicines...under guidelines you would be in lifestyle medical management.

thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Unless you had other really overiding circumstances I think you doc is crazy to put you on statins unless he feels ratios mean nothing  which goes against all current thinking
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Avatar_n_tn
Be very careful when taking statins. Do your research. They are excellent at lowering LDL, however there is no conclusive proof that this will extend your life or improve your quality of life. There are many natural changes in lifestyle that will have the same effect, without potentially causing liver kidney, and muscle problems. The dose of 80mg per day of many of the new statins has been shown to reverse arteriosclerosis, however the side effect rate is huge at this dose. Buyer beware !
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm not opposed to statins, particularly for younger people with strong risk factors for CHD.

That said, my own experiene with statins has not been good.  Because of familial high blood fats, I have twice been prescribed statins.  My first such medication was Lipitor, which dropped my numbers swiftly and squarely into the low normal range, but in the course of the next year, I developed surprising pain in my forearms, wrists, and hands, when I had never experienced this sort of thing before.  My doc took me off the drug, and within two months, all pain was gone, never to return.

That was six or seven years ago.  This last year, I was found to have a slightly leaky aortic valve, which, while apparently a stable condition for me, and symptomless, to boot, is still not a wonderful thing to have.  My new cardiologist, wanting to minimize risk to my heart, put me on a low dose of Vytorin, a combination of a statin and a different drug that works by another pathway.  The good doc assured me that this combo was so efficient that smaller doses of both drugs were possible than with either one used alone.  Again, my numbers popped right into the ideal range.  Within about three months, though, I began having weird shoulder and neck pain (not forearm pain, though), unrelated to any change in my life.  The pain was strange and difficult to characterize, and because I am female, over 50, and a gym rat, I was diagnosed with various kinds of muscle strain and osteoarthritis, and sent to physical therapy.  Nothing helped.  In fact, the pain became increasingly worse.  It was not actually disabling, but it was constant.  Neither could I find a comfortable position for sleeping, and pain often woke me at night.

After about eight months of this, I reviewed the literature for Vytorin, and of course, read the usual warning about statins.  However, in addition, I noted that the second component, Ezetimibe, ALSO may cause muscle pain and tenderness by itself!  So I took myself off Vytorin to see what would happen.

It's been three months, and my "osteoarthritis" has disappared.  In fact, it's hard to remember what it was like to live with that pain.  Of course, I do not constitute a large study group, and there's no way of proving that the drugs were in fact responsible for my symptoms, but after two separate experiences with odd muscle pain, I consider the association suspicious.

I'd suggest that if you decide to try these drugs, don't ignore muscle or joint pain that seems to arise out of nowhere.
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Avatar_f_tn
Lot of times statins can cause muscle pain, but I learned something new the other day when I had to go to the ER because I injured my leg pretty bad and the pain was horrible 24/7.  They told me to stop the Zocor for one week because WHENEVER YOU HAVE SOME KIND OF MUSCLE PAIN WHETHER DUE TO INJURY OR ALREADY HAVE A PROBLEM THE STATINS WILL INTENSIFY THE PAIN.

In other words if somebody already has arthritis etc or a muscle injure as I had the statins can intensify the pain.

In some people the statins can cause muscle pain, and in some people "intensify" the pain if they are already having a problem, but lots of people including me aside from my injury have no problems at all, it has been 3 yrs for me since I started Zocor.

Also, I take mine on a full stomach in the evening.  I have a very sensitive stomach (cannot take aspirin).  We eat our full meal in the evening so the Zocor does not enter a half way empty stomach.  I think that can make a difference too.  I'm just guessing, I do not know.  I also take my BP meds in the evening after the meal.  Of course some meds you have to take in the morning, but I was given a choice at what time to take them and I choose in the evening after supper, and I have no side effects from any of the meds I'm taking BP and Zocor.
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Avatar_n_tn
I took Crestor for three months. I got wicked PVC's which disappeared two days after stopping the drug. So I decided to do a study. I went back on Crestor and within 3 days the PVC's returned, only to disappear a day after stopping it again. My brother was on Lipitor for 5 years with numbers so low it should have reversed any plaque. He died last year at 47 with 100% blockage of two arteries and 75% blockage of the others. Like I said, buyer beware!
If you have the discipline, a lifestyle of low fat,low sugar ,low salt, and exercise
will be much more effective and cheaper than these drugs. I don't deny there is a link between high cholesterol and CAD, however there is also no link between taking statins and living longer. A lot of the drugs have disclaimers that they do not prevent heart attacks. Big pharmaceutical companies are powerful, and all the doctors are aboard the magic money train !
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Avatar_f_tn
Not all natural stuff reduces cholesterol especially if you have it as high as I had it.   TC 306, LDL 231.

It is true that people on statins still can die of a heart attack.  But if people don't do anything about their very high cholesterol where does the cholesterol go to?  Common sense tells you the choleserol build up has to settle somewhere in your body.  Its like playing russian roulette.  There are people who live to a ripe old age despite very high cholesterol and clogged arteries and there are people who do everything right including taking statins and they die young.

My mother in law too refused statins "I'm not popping such a dangerous pill" she used to say.  Well, she didn't die of a heart attack, but her carotid arteries were blocked so bad, pieces of plaque traveled into her brain she had several strokes which landed her in a nursing home, the strokes caused her to lose her memory and speech, bowel and bladder control,  and she was a vegetable for the next 6 yrs till she died.  Doctors claim that her very high cholesterol clogged up her carotid arteries which caused the strokes.
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Avatar_n_tn
There are indeed genetic cases which require statin treatment. I'm just saying we are overmedicating our society. It is clear that populations in some parts of China , Japan, and others where they still have a diet we have evolved to eat do not get heart disease ! And its  not just saturated and trans fats, its refined sugars, salt, smoke, pollution that is killing us. There are some proponents that say high cholesterol is not an issue unless you get the damage done to your arteries by wacky insulin/glucose levels and oxidation of dangerous fats. A can of Coke upsets our system beyond what you could ever imagine, and yet they market the hell out of it as being the elixir of life ! we are living like fish out of water and dropping dead prematurely because of it. The latest stats indicate 80% of us will die prematurely from heart disease and stroke. Kids, become a cardiologist, you'll have a job for life !
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Avatar_f_tn
There is a book by a Swedish Doctor, who has a Ph.D. and an M.D. (I don't think we can print the names of books) I bought that book and read it, and he claims that its all a myth about how dangerous high cholesterol is.  He studied people with high and very high cholesterol for over 15 yrs. also autopsies were done on people with very high cholesterol.  He wants people to show his book to their doctors.  Mine wouldn't even look at the cover and asked me if I found it at a Yard Sale.  Totally arrogant.  

But what do you do? I cannot just away from doctors for the rest of my life.  A friend of mine who also has very high cholesterol and also could not get it down with natural stuff and refuses to take statins her doctor gave her the boot and told her to "find another doctor who is willing to add a nail to her coffin".
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