I need your advice regarding taking cholesterol medicine


#21

I have numbers similar to yours @borijess… My endo, GP and two cardiologists (that I saw at my endo’s request) have been pressing me to start taking statins. My primary objection is that BOTH my parents had debilitating side effects from statins… Meanwhile, my endo had me try diet/exercise to change things (with mixed results) – SO… last visit, he prescribed pravastatin for me in a “baby dose” (5mg) and told me to try taking it once/week. In addition, he gave me a trial of Praluent and is trying to get approval from my insurance for that… Praluent is new - not a statin - and, so far, very few-if-any side effects have been reported…

I’ve tried both. I dunno what would happen longer term , but when I take the pravastatin, I feel tired and like I’m coming down with a cold for 2-3 days – HOWEVER, I also notice a significant INCREASE in my insulin sensitivity – pravastatin is the only statin that sometimes does this (the others tend to cause insulin resistance). The Praluent is injectable and SCARY - but, I’m not sure I’ve noticed much of any side effects - other than possibly a dry cough for a couple days.

Not sure what you can take from all that, but that’s my experience so far.


#22

Respectfully, I think I understood your point just fine.


#23

I’d try fish oil and other fats to raise hdl first. I tried a low dose statin and I had a lot of pain and I felt very dopey so I stopped it. Most of my docs say I don’t need it, including 3 cardiologists. I have high hdl, low Vldl, and low triglycerides. Red yeast rice is a natural remedy but it cause the same side effects as statins. Statins help because they reduce inflammation, most likely not because of lowering cholesterol. My cholesterol levels came down a bit after starting thyroid meds so that can affect things too. When you test, you have to eat low fat the night before and fast for several hours overnight.


#24

Red yeast rice is a statin, just a naturally occurring one. No different from lovostatin.


#25

What makes it scary?


#26

Probably not to everyone, but despite all the insulin shots, etc., I’m still fairly scared of needles. This one is a bigger needle (from what I can see) and an auto-injector, so I have no control over the delivery. It stings a bit - and deploys slowly - so, overall, it just makes me anxious. If it works as advertised, I suppose it’s worth it…


#27

One small vote for diet here. A year ago, I had blood pressure and cholesterol numbers that were always at the borderline or a bit above. I was taking several blood pressure medications and Cholest-Off (an over-the-counter med that gives modest cholesterol improvement.) My A1c’s were in the mid 7 range.

About 9 months ago, I decided to get serious about a Low-carb eating plan. I didn’t try for ketosis, but used a number of keto recipes.

Recently I had an office visit with my GP and she reviewed the results. I told her I had lost about 30 lbs and had stopped most of my heart meds, as well as Nexium. She agreed that was OK since my blood pressure and lipids panel was better than ever. She had just gotten my bloodwork results that morning, so when she saw my A1c was 5.8. the look on her face was priceless (for everything else, there’s MasterCard!)

I realize that no one size fits all. But for me, the results have been so dramatic, that I’m highly motivated to stay the course. If I needed to go on medication to get control, I would certainly do it. But there would be a lot of questions and discussion before I made the move.


#28

I hope this ends up in the right place. Every time I come here there is a new format.
Cholesterol is used by the body for tons of things. It is not bad. There is a bunch of hype about these numbers and I think it is ridiculous. We have to get smart and not follow like pigs to the slaughter all this “for our own good” medical stuff. Don’t be a cash machine.
Eat healthy, exercise, get fresh air, breathe. Leave your body to itself unless you have to take medication, like insulin. Think happy thoughts.


#29

I have been taking Praluent for about 18 months with good results and no side effects at all. I inject it (no pain) once every 4 weeks, although the “normal” prescription is every 2 weeks, because that gets the results I need. Prior to Praluent I was on an assortment of statins for many years - Vytorin, Crestor, Livalo. The last couple of years I became aware that they were causing or exacerbating peripheral neuropathy which all but disappeared every time I stopped them. My insurance covers Praluent.


#30

@borijess My doctors harassed me endlessly to get on statins. Not a fan based on all the reading I’ve done on both statins and cholesterol. However, I finally caved to a small dose for two reasons: one to get doctors off my back, and more importantly, as a hedge just in case I’m wrong. Numbers went down, doctors are happy, no perceived ill effects. Mischief managed!


#31

My history: T1 for 35 years. Long long history of heart disease in males on my father’s side of the family (meaning, ALL OF THEM either died from heart disease or if they are living they have had a stent or a bypass.)

My math: Diabetics (even well-controlled T1’s) are at increased risk of heart disease. Multiply this by the family history of heart disease. Math result: I AM AT INCREDIBLY HIGH RISK OF HEART DISEASE.

My conclusion: I should have a VERY AGGRESSIVELY LOW bad-cholesterol target. I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET. I both adjust my diet and take cholesterol-lowering drugs (in my case Lipitor) to help me meet this target. Even though I’m only age 50 I see a cardiologist semi-regularly the past couple years for stress testing to turn up any problem that might occur, early.

Side note: for decades my doctors were telling me that I wouldn’t live to be 45 because diabetes (specifically the microvascular complications like retinopathy and kidney disease) would make me blind and kill me first. Well, when I reached my forties, my doc sang a different tune: you’ve been controlling your diabetes exceptionally well for decades and it now seems more likely that heart disease will kill you.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll defeat both diabetes and heart disease, and it’ll be cancer or Alzheimers or an airplane crash that will kill me. I would regard that as a COMPLETE VICTORY.


#32

Just be sure to live your life, in the meantime, Tim. My parents (so unlike me) are more concerned with dying than living. they go nowhere, have no hobbies, just sit in front of the boob tube. My mother’s idea of exercise is walking back and forth from the family room to the bedroom. Drives us nuts that she refuses to get out. Her health condition has deteriorated because of her lack of exercise.


#33

I recently had a heart calcium score, that I thought was helpful. You may want to consider that. I got one for $49 cash price without a claim to insurance, as that was the only way they offered it.


#34

Hah! Reminds me of Rod Flanders quote from the Simpsons: “My hobbies include: being quiet during trips, clapping with songs and Diabetes”.


#35

I have been anti-statin for a long time, but a calcium scan showed signs that atherosclerosis was starting, despite the fact that I’m a life-long exerciser and generally a healthy eater. I found a cardiologist who knew my thoughts on statins and started me on 10mg two days a week. It worked, bringing my LDL from 170 to under 100. He said many doctors see these tiny doses working in practice, but of course the drug companies don’t really want anyone to know. Currently I’m on rosuvastatin because the first one he prescribed did seem to give me side effects, even at the tiny dose. For some of us a little goes a long way. In general, cholesterol is needed by all our cells to function, but if this tiny dose of a statin can bring my LDL down, I guess I’ll stick with it.


#36

I can only relate my experience, at this point. My primary has had me on both lisinopril and simvastatin for over a year, not because my numbers have been high, but because I’m a 66yo T1D female with a family history of hypertension and stroke. It’s mostly a prophylactic measure. At my last wellness visit earlier this week, I saw his NP, and she did a lipid panel. She explained the results to me as “off the charts good”, and suggested that I could probably start taking the statin every other day.

I’ve also had debilitating back pain over the past year or so, but my orthopedist told me it was spondylolisthesis. In addition to all my other joys, I have disk degeneration in my neck and now my lower back. He sent me to physical therapy, twice a week for months. It worked. I can sleep on my back again, sort of.

Long story short, make sure you’re telling your GP about all your issues, and ask him/her to explain exactly why you should be taking the medications. Diabetics are at risk for just about anything that can go wrong with the circulatory system, so this is something I can’t really argue with, for myself.


#37

I don’t have time to document my entire saga at the moment, but after suffering a heart attack and almost losing my kidneys from taking preventative statins while my numbers were similar to yours (very slightly lower), I recommend a second opinion from a modern, very engaged physician.

Statins are as bad as plutonium for many people and should be considered the solution of last resort. Don’t fall for the “drugs are the solution” pap from your doctor.


#38

I would recommend that you look at this website- http://www.lipidcenter.com/aboutus.php and read what Dr Michael Richman has to say about statins. I have been on a statin (Pravastatin) for the last 10 years with wonderful results. Crestor and Lipitor did cause some muscle aches but Pravastatin doesn’t. The research I have read leads me to conclude that statins are a wonder drug and could save the lives of may people. But do you own research and come to you own conclusions. I think dr richman explains statins very clearly.


#39

My one question to the docs has always been, “How low is too low?” My problem with statins is the fact that no one seems to care that LDL is in our bodies for a reason and that, at some point, there has to be a level that is too low. There are too many variables (again) involving cholesterol’s role in heart disease that have not been addressed by the medical community to totally convince me of the efficacy of a statin medication. Why is checking for inflammation not being done on a routine basis? What about the fact that there are only certain types of LDL that are truly harmful? Why not make the tests for these routine? (I suspect it may be because of the amount of money to be made from statins by the people who truly run medicine these days. They really don’t want to know the real causes and real risks.) I just don’t like a “blanket” prescription just because you have a “blanket” disease!! We all know how that works. By the way, to appease my doctor, I do take 5 mg. of simvastatin every other day. My LDL is at 85 and HDL is at 95. I refuse to let my LDL get below 80…just because my gut tells me no way.


#40

Hello, I have been taking Lovastatin for about ten years at the recommendation of my primary doctor and my endocrinologist and have had no serious issues. I have been doing this while maintaining a good diet and exercising. You have been provided many good suggestions on diet, exercise or other remedies. I would recommend speaking to your doctor and trying out a 3 to 6 month period on the statin and see what the results are. Keep a good diet and of course stay away from high fat foods. If after the 3-6 month trial you see good results that agree with you and your doctor you can keep on the statin, if not then drop the drug and see what else you can try that you haven’t tried before. Good luck to you. My results again have been very positive with overall cholesterol running at 150-160 range and usually the good cholesterol running higher than the bad, my statin dosage is small at 20mg tablet daily. Wish you the best.