I need your advice regarding taking cholesterol medicine

Hello my Dr. wants me to start taking cholesterol medicine. He thinks my levels are too high. What is your opinion on this with Type 1 and should I take this or follow a healthy diet. Here are my levels for the last three years. The top one is the most recent. This is the meds he is offering. ATORVASTATIN TAB IOMG



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Have you already tried the other options besides meds? Like improvements to diet and…exercise!?

You could always try it for a while and see if there is an improvement, and if not, then go to the meds next.

  • Do you currently do anything for it?
  • Have you been working on improving diet at all?
  • Have you been exercising?

If you have already tried those things, then it might be time to try the meds. But if you haven’t, you can give them a shot first.

As your numbers are now it would be beneficial to improve them. It does takes work, but most good results do.


Well I always try to stay active but last 6 months have been tough. I have two herniated discs in my neck that have made me completely stop running. My diet was very poor last year but my A1C is 5.7. If you look at my test results the first two years I was able to lower cholesterol with exercise and diet. But increased due to injury and poor diet. So I knew it was going to be higher cause of the issues I had last year.

You can increase your HDL with healthy fats. Lots of different kinds of nuts, olive oil, fatty fish, coconut oil. Another easy way to do it is to take Udo’s Oil 3-6-9, it has all the good fats combined:

If you are not able to exercise, you would need to work harder on your diet. But it may be possible to do it with diet alone. Worth a try.

Or if you want to go with medicine to help, that is another way to do it. It depends on how hard you are willing to work on it, and if you think the medicine would cause a problem.

I do think working on the numbers in some way would be a good idea.

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Would a stationary bicycle work for you?

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I have the Bowflex max trainer which is no impact. I just have to use it more often.

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So do you guys consider 143 a scary number? Does good fat lower the bad cholesterol? How about hydration is that important when lowering cholesterol?

Is this true?

Diabetes: Atorvastatin may increase your blood sugar levels. You and your doctor should monitor your blood sugar levels carefully while you’re taking this drug.

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So, I’m in a very similar state as far as lipid panels. Just barely above the “high normal” level in total and LDL, slightly under in HDL. My GP at time of diabetes diagnosis wanted me on a statin. I started the statin, my numbers stayed about the same, and I developed horrible sun sensitivity (any amount of sunlight would cause hives). Had an emergency doctor take me off the statin (atorvastatin), and my GP wanted to start me on whatever the next type was…

Meanwhile, I have another doctor (a metabolic specialist), who looks at my panels and prescriptions and says, and I quote: “What the hell, he didn’t try you on fish oil and Niacin first?”

So, GP gets fired (he was also, I kid you not, anti-exercise for a 40 year old diabetic), start taking therapeutic doses of niacin and Omega-3 fish oil, and my lipid panel goes back to levels typical of an 18 year old athlete. I also workout a ton and eat lowish carb, so that probably helps (especially with triglycerides). For me, at least, it’s pretty simple: why take a medication with known (and common) side effects when I can use known (and trusted by actual doctors) dietary supplements to produce a greater therapeutic effect? At least in the case of cholesterol, I’ve found the latter option to be both more effective, safer, and a hell of a lot cheaper than taking a statin.


My endo put me on lipitor 20 years ago with similar numbers to yours. Chol. 223, LDL 167, HDL 43 and Triglycerides 73. I took 10 mgs a day and my numbers improved dramatically. At the same time I developed an unremitting backache. It was there when I woke up and there when I went to sleep. It did not matter what I did, muscle relaxants, pain meds, chiropractor, massage therapy. My PCP was considering sending me to a pain management doctor. This went on for 3 or 4 years and was truly debilitating. A chance post on here made me look up the side effects of statins. Lo and behold, myalgia (muscle pain) features prominently. I decided to discontinue taking the statin and literally within 2 weeks my backache was gone. Over the years my docs have tried to get me to reconsider a statin. I briefly attempted to take Crestor at 5 mgs a day. The back ache returned, we dropped the dose to 2.5 mgs a day and then 2.5 mgs every other day but it persisted and finally it is in my medical records that I am allergic to statins. My numbers are okay without statins and not worth the pain. If you take a statin and do not notice any side effects then it’s certainly an easier way to reduce the cholesterol and LDL numbers without having to put in a lot of effort. Considering the fact any PWD is at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, statins can be a useful tool.


I put up a fight about this with my Doc about this. My numbers were a bit worse than yours. I am 36 years old. She finally convinced me by saying that eating differently wasn’t going to change anything. I tried. It didn’t. My brother is the strictest eater that I have ever met. His chol is also high and he is also trying to remedy it with diet/exercise. Currently, he is still checking if he can get it down.

My doc told me that your body simply manufacturers chol overnight while you are sleeping. “If you eat only 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day (one egg yolk has about 200 mg), your liver will produce an additional 800 milligrams per day from raw materials such as fat, sugars, and proteins.”
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I finally asked her to prescribe something super low dose, so I could just try it out. She gave me Simvastatin 10 mg, which made the pharmacist laugh. He said he would feel totally comfortable with me taking more than one of those.

P.S. My brother is in LOVE with his exercise bike (which I find pretty comical). He made me try it this week. He has 2 big computer monitors in front of the bike, multiple fans (that make it seem like your actually outdoors), a heart monitor, and he rides using CycleOps software. That lets you pick anywhere you want to ride in the world. It was more fun than I thought it would be, but it was a lot of work to setup. Also, you can’t run over pedestrians, which I found disappointing. CycleOps Virtual Training - YouTube


This is a subject of intense controversy—one of those that can easily start impassioned debates that can, in the right circumstances, degenerate into flame wars. The crux of the argument has two parts:

  1. Is high cholesterol really the clear and present danger it’s been presented as?

  2. Do statins actually do more harm than good?

The first question may seem moot since we’ve had it drummed into us for the past 50 or 60 years that it’s true. However, a goodly portion of what we’ve been told on the subject of nutrition during that time turns out to be politics, not science. (For example, the beaten-to-death dietary recommendations that emphasize carbs over fats and protein.)

Coupled with that is the fact that parts of the research on this are suspect; in some cases, highly so. Consequently, how much or how little of the traditional wisdom on this question to believe and follow is a personal choice that can, as stated, start arguments. It’s one of those things each individual has to study and make up their own mind about. There are some good books on the subject, beginning with Gary Taubes’s.

The second question can provoke equally strong feelings. Statins do lower total cholesterol, there’s little or no dispute about that. The controversy is over the side effects. And like most things medical, they can vary enormously from person to person, from barely noticeable to downright debilitating. Again, every individual is an individual. In my own case, the side effects were severe (and scary) enough that I ditched them and have never regretted it. (I still have to have this debate periodically with my doctor, because he is subject to guidelines that can get him sanctioned if he doesn’t prescribe them; he has to put “by patient request” on the chart so they don’t hassle him about it. But that’s just my own experience and as a very wise person once said, the plural of “anecdote” is not “evidence”.)

The bottom line is the same as it is with most things medical: every situation is individual and we have to do our own homework and make our own choices.


You’re missing another key piece of the controversy—while statins do indeed lower cholesterol, it’s not at all clear that their cardioprotective effects are mediated by lowered cholesterol. Basically, the reason statins help people may well have to do with other effects, such as anti-inflammatory processes, and the lowering of cholesterol may be incidental to their effect. Elevated cholesterol levels may well still be a reason to consider taking them, since elevated cholesterol is an indicator of increased risk for cardiovascular disease, but it’s all potentially a lot more complex than it seems on the surface, given that the key end result is improved cardiovascular health/outcomes and no one really cares about cholesterol itself outside of that. If it’s the anti-inflammatory effects that prevent heart disease, then there may be other effective pathways to that goal with different risk/side effect profiles.


That all said, one side of my family has a strong history of cardiac disease and the lipid profiles and hypertension to match. One thing has become clear—all the men with that profile who did not take statins eventually had a heart attack in their 50s or so. The ones who started statins young, haven’t. Even as a woman, with the protective effects of female reproductive hormones, if my body shape and lab work suggested I took after that side of the family, I’d be on statins too. So a missing piece of info here is definitely family history, both of cardiac health and also effects of statins, if that’s known. Genetics is the biggest factor by far in all of this, both in risk and probably in response to medication too.

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This is a very hotly contested topic and as with all that is diabetes, it’s what works for you.
I take the same medication you listed in the same dose and have for many, many years. I have never had a lipid issue. My numbers are always lower than the required (was told by one doctor people with diabetes should have much lower numbers! And of course I got pissed because the disease is hard enough and now you want better than good!) The main reason I take the medication is due to some major family history of heart problems. Two grandparents died from heart attacks, one had high blood pressure and my Dad had his first of many heart attacks at the age of 42 and a stroke at the same time. So in my case, better safe than sorry. I am one of those very lucky people, no side effects from this and really for most drugs the side effects are usually pretty mild for me and I am usually over them within a week or so.
This is a heart to heart conversation to have with your medical team. But I do think going at it from a diet and exercise standpoint is usually the best way to start. Drugs first if numbers are off the chart and you are not anywhere near that.
I also have never noticed any blood sugar issues with. Good luck with your decision.


I agree about the genetics. On both sides of my family, for close to 200 years (when the Scottish started recording cause of death) the men have tended to die of heart attacks or strokes (if the coal mines didn’t kill them first). Given this history/predisposition, when I reached the “high normal” borderline, and it was decided that my diet was healthy and I was getting enough exercise, it seemed prudent to take the pills.

Since reading about the controversy, I now take the minimum dose of atorvastatin required to yield “normal” lipid profiles. For now, that means three pills (10 mg) a week. In winter, when I am less active, I sometimes need to take four. I have not, in roughly 10 years, experienced any side effects whatsoever.

All I know is after 2-3 years of taking atorvastatin I just recently stopped taking it as was causing large amounts of pain (which consequently took several doctors and many visits and tests before one finally said it might be the statin). So far I am getting a little better. I am not sure if the benefits of the statins outweigh the pain for me. If I live longer but hurt the whole time that doesn’t sound very nice!

And, respectfully, you’re missing my point. I’m not taking sides either way, simply pointing out that there is serious controversy that has the potential—too often realized—of becoming heated. Whatever your personal views on the question are, they’re fine with me.

I’d just follow your doctors guidance, if you experience any side effects discuss it with them… that’s their job. Your levels are marginal, very similar to my own. A good doctor will evaluate them in the context of your overall health. If you don’t trust their judgement they shouldn’t be your doctor…

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Thank you for everyone input on this. You can tell this is a hot topic. Love the input and the knowledge I am gathering.

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