I don’t have all the answers… I do hope you’ll give good consideration to the professional advice you’re given, as well as your own experiences and research. Your cardiologist has likely managed the cardiac health of thousands of patients and had a lot of continuing education of the highest caliber on the subjects you’re pondering… to me the frustration is that they have almost zero time to explain to patients why they recommend what they do… tending to leave us as patients rather unsatisfied
At this point, I don’t understand my current heart health status to be an acute situation. If true, that will give me time to make some decisions and set out on a near-term treatment path. I think traditional medicine has long advised, when possible, to make lifestyle changes first, before taking any drugs or other medical procedures.
You already know that statins not only help reduce cholesterol, but also help stabilize plaque, right?
I’m sure I won’t tire of reading your progress and discoveries. Your BG numbers are amazing, and a low carb/no grain diet has many benefits, including reducing inflammation in many people. I eat about 80-100 carbs/day still. Continuing to reduce, but not ready to go as low as you.
I have very high cholesterol, but my ratio is good and when I do those risk tests it still shows me low enough risk that I choose not to take statins. It’s complex issue, and I hope to learn more as you share more. Thanks!
Thanks for the links, @Eddie2. I followed and read both of them. I am pursuing knowledge accumulation at this point, resisting making conclusions too quickly. I am skeptical about using statins, for sure, but I’m hoping that my dietary and other measures can accomplish the same plaque stabilization benefits.
One thing that caught my eye reading the first linked study is the mention of using 80 mg/day of Lipitor. When I was on Lipitor, I was taking 40 mg/day. I am concerned about this high dose and the possibility of increasing risk for bad non-reversible side-effects.
I agree that anything somebody can accomplish with lifestyle and diet changes is normally preferable to taking any medicine. I try to limit what I take.
But I just wanted to share the other possible benefit of statins, because often times doctors will speak only of the cholesterol reduction, but don’t even mention the other possible benefits. So I wanted to share that.
That is my understanding as well, that they can disrupt the plaque forming mechanism as well as just generally lowering cholesterol…
My cardiologists emphasized this point and I had not heard it before then. Getting a diagnosis, for me, tends to focus my attention in new directions.
I was at my doc a couple weeks ago and asked him about justification for statin use seeing how there are some people saying they would prefer not to use. He referred me to this study for my enlightenment: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/39/6/996.full.pdf . Maybe you have already read this study, I found it convincing enough to stay on my prescribed dose of 10 mg of Zetia which is susposed to help the 40mg of Zocor work that I am on. In following the entries on statin use I have not seen mention of using Zetia but I must admit I have not searched for it either.
Thank-you, @Mel22, for bringing this study to my attention. I’ve read through it and the conclusion seem to point to the benefits of using statins to improve the risk of people with T1D of avoiding heart attacks and strokes. The study specified that this benefit accrued to people who used statins before any heart attack or stroke, in other words as primary prevention.
I think I need to increase my skill with discerning the strengths and weaknesses of any study. Maybe I need to find a “health studies for dummies” resource. When we, as patients, depend on secondary sources, like our doctors, to weigh the relative merits of any health issue in the scientific literature, we open ourselves to the subjective bias of the interpreter/doctor. Some people just trust the doctor. I am more inclined to be in the trust but verify camp. I’m struggling to identify quality alternate resources for this.
If I’m to strategically use scientific research to better inform my decisions going forward, I need to increase my skill level in reading and interpreting these info sources.
I quickly found this resource that squarely addresses my interest.
Taken from the article linked below.
So how do you distinguish hyperbole from scientific evidence? By reading the papers yourself.
That’s not easy, even for scientists, who readily admit that reading these papers can be akin to torture. (A recent article in Science , enumerating the steps of reading a paper, included “fear,” “regret,” “bafflement,” “distraction,” and “rage.”) Rather than charging headfirst into several thousand words of science-speak, follow this plan of attack for primary research articles. With a little practice, you can do more than just understand them: you can replace conventional wisdom with knowledge, make more informed decisions in the areas of life that concern you most — health, fitness, and diet, for example — and better understand and participate in the public debate about important scientific issues.
Here’s a link to this promising article. I’m off to read it in full.
I’ve not been here in a while because…well…I just had a coronary artery disease diagnosis in August when I had a very mild heart attack. It didn’t surprise me, I did have an extensive paternal history of heart and blood disorders but like you…I didn’t really anticipate how I would feel about it.
I had been finding myself slightly short of breath upon exertion and had been upping my walking routine. When I finally admitted to myself that I felt really crappy, I called my endo to go in early for my 3-month appointment. My endo is also my Primary Care doc. Upon arriving and describing my symptoms, he sent me immediately to the ER which was just across the street.
They did an electrocardiogram and compared it to one they had on file from five years earlier. There was no change. BUT, when my blood work came back, there was a tiny bit of the protein troponin present, indicating that some heart cells had been damaged. Before I had much time to process that, the head of the Cardiology Department stepped in and said she had time to do a cardiac catheterization on me and assess the damage, and by the way, the lab was available at that moment.
I was pretty nervous, but she assured me I could keep my pump and cgm and I was already familiar with the proposed anesthetic, Versad, and felt comfortable with it, knowing I would be relaxed and awake but feel nothing.
The cardiologist herself took my phone, which had my cgm reading and handed it to the anesthetist. I also showed him how to unplug my pump in an emergency. I’ll say right now, I’d never fear to have a cardiac cath procedure again. Even though they took a lot of pictures they did not feel the need to place a stent. The artery that was blocked was relatively small, and better yet, my body was already building collateral arteries to get more blood to that area of my heart. (Everyone is capable of this to some degree, it’s well worth researching if you have coronary artery disease and with or without stents.)
Jump to recovery. I have kept the cardiologist, she is young, informed and gave me her personal cell. She was trained at a world-famous heart center. Her approach is the reserved one that I prefer. She explained that exercise would help the collateral arteries grow and advised me to work back up to my previous level slowly, resting when necessary.
This is nearly four months out. I’ve returned to my volunteer job, am gaining in my ability to exercise without getting short of breath which keeps my insulin working correctly, and feel a little clearer on my approach to life.
And now to address your (above) quote.
I’ve always preferred simple and quick meals, I shop so that I have plenty of vegetables (steamed and raw), condiments, salad dressings, tasty cheeses and a meat for flavor now and then. I have to be careful of overdoing it with dairy products because of the lactose, but I do include them.
Simple meals that I know how to dose for are my way of dealing with earing when I really don’t want to think too much.
I eat many salads. For any meal. Last night’s was lightly cooked green beans, halved grape tomatoes, green onion,
swiss cheese and cucumber in small cubes, six large croutons (10 g) and a spoonful of Litehouse Poppy Seed Dressing.) I know for me, that’s a 3 unit meal.
I eat deviled eggs, ham and cheese roll-ups and cheese spreads on veggies and the occasional cracker. My spouse has mastered the art of the very thin crust pizza, and we also make cheese and veggie crust pizzas.
Knowing I’m living with coronary artery disease has caused me to re-evaluate my priorities. I’m also one of those old-timers who heard the doc telling my mom I’d never see 40. I just turned 71. To me, every day is a gift.
I wish you well on your journey, and thank you for sharing your story and prompting me to write this.
Thanks for telling your story, @Splash1. One paradox that I’ve learned with all the heart health I’ve been learning about is that the degree of coronary artery plaque does not predict the rate of adverse events. In other words, people like you, who have relatively little plaque often experience the same rate of heart attacks as people with more measurable plaque.
As to diet, I have successfully eliminated all grains. That includes crackers, bread, croutons, noodles, pasta, and rice. I’m not eating kimchi 4-5 times per week. I also eat dairy, veggies but avoid any salad dressing made with vegetable oils. I favor oils such as olive oil and coconut oil.
I attended an initial visit with a naturopath last week and will address optimizing my thyroid labs. I am hypothyroid. I understand that thyroid health plays a significant role in the development of coronary artery disease for many of us.
I like reading about similarly situated people and what they are doing to address their heart disease. It seems like you have adjusted nicely and were lucky to get the tests you needed right away. I wish you continuing good health.
Over the years I can easily slip into simple meals that I can quickly make in 5-10 minutes. I eat repetitive meals and don’t get bored easily.
I’m seeing now that this is an area I can kick it up a gear and help contribute to better health.
@Terry4 I’ll preface this post by saying I mostly hate discussions of recipes on diabetes message boards. But I had to tell you that I was motivated to order an Instant Pot when you mentioned that you ordered one. I thought I was the only person in the world who didn’t have one. I’ve had mixed results with it so far. My best success was hard boiled eggs and I also have done well with steamed veggies. Other than that I’ve ended up with mushy stuff but think it is a matter of getting experience on how long to cook things.
But I wanted to tell you that I am making yogurt today and thinking of you (and Norm!). I used to have a yogurt maker in the 1970’s and wish that I still had those glass jars with the seals and white lids.
Have you had success with the Instant Pot?
And how are you doing?
Hi @Laddie – I hear you. All the internet chatter about cooking and recipes has always been a mystery to me. I knew there was something real about it but I just couldn’t get excited.
I just finished an excellent bowl of delicious tumeric chicken soup. I am astounded that I made it. It’s flavored with tumeric, ginger, garlic, and full-fat coconut milk.
I also made the chicken stock used in that recipe from the bones and remnants of a store-bought rotisserie chicken. I’m thinking of making and drinking bone broth on a regular basis now. I think it genuinely fits into the “food as medicine” category.
There’s nothing like a threat to your life to clarify and boost one’s motivation!
I love the aroma that good cooking creates. I mostly enjoyed that second-hand in the past from being invited over to someone’s home for a nice meal.
I just finished my third successful batch of yogurt today using the instant pot. I hope your yogurt turned out well, too.
I am doing well. I see a naturopath for my initial 90-minute visit tomorrow. I’m hoping to change my thyroid medication and start shooting for optimal thyroid lab tests instead of simply in-range.
I’m experiencing some success working on my gut health and I’ve started meditating again. It’s all a long-term project but I’d like to think there’s more ways to treat heart disease than drugs and procedures. I may very well need some drugs or procedures in the future but I’m giving this lifestyle campaign my full attention and effort!
I enjoy reading your helpful comments in the various Facebook groups. It’s nice to read comments like yours that are focused, logical, and clearly stated.