I've been trying to read as much as possible on this bulletin board, as it seems to be an invaluable source of first-hand information, and have been encouraging my husband to do the same.
The reason is that recently our family doctor decided to put him on Crestor because his good cholesterol is lower than normal, and there are some fats (tryglicerides) in his blood.
Unfortunately, my husband did not write those numbers down when he had an appointment. His good cholesterol is 0.82. My husband does not any heart condition, his EKG is normal. He used to have slightly elevated blood pressure which is normal now. He is otherwise healthy and does not have any bad habits. His parents are in their eighties without serious illnesses as well, except his mom takes some heart medication and has been on Lipitor.
My husband had this situation before, but successfully reached normal cholesterol and trygliceride results a few years ago with the help of diet and exercise. Unfortunately, both of us did not stick to that regime and had more steaks and burgers than we should have had. We did not exercise much either, and both of us spend a lot of time sitting (jobs involve use of computers).
When my husband told the doctor that he wanted to try lowering his numbers through lifestyle changes, his doctor said he would not feel good if he did not prescribe Crestor to him, alleging that my husband was in a risk group, and that he could die. The first thing I did when he came home and brought a Crestor box with him (the doctor provided that for free!), I looked through the medication leaflet and immediately started googling.
I was terrified to see there were so many reports of bad side effects and all kinds of bad things said about statins in general. I immediately informed my husband of my findings, but he appears to be willing to take the drug. I am worried sick because I am afraid he can cause irreparable damage to his body, and frankly I simply don't believe that my husband is high risk for heart attack, given his situation and history.
We also will try to have another baby, and because we already lost a child to a chromosomal disorder, I am afraid that this drug will have tremendous effect on the future baby's health. If it causes such bad complications with liver, muscles and other things, it is guaranteed to affect sperm quality as well.
I was wondering if you could advise us if you think this drug should be avoided. Does my husband really need it? also, what other more healthy alternatives are there to mimic statins without complications?
People don't seem to realize that statins were only approved by the FDA for people that were in emminent danger of a heart attack. (whether I agree with that is immaterial as this point). Artificial cholesterol lowering (by medication) can easily damage the mitochondria. Women are never, ever to take any cholesterol lowering medication if they are pregnant, intend to get, or possibly could become pregnant. Cholesterol is vital to the development of a fetus. There isn't enough information on lowering cholesterol in men and the risk to a future child, but you are correct in that lowered cholesterol can show up in sperm quality. I would error on the side of caution. I find it a waste of money and possible health to try and raise HDL with Crestor. THe alternatives are the ones you already tried, modifying your diet. Doctors are treating cholesterol lowering medications as a magic pill....unfortunately they are a time bomb.
.... his bad cholesterol is normal. It's only the good cholesterol (which is lower) and tryglicerides (which are high) are the problem.
I also have a doctor that feels compelled to interefere with the way my body works. My LDL is a bit high (167mg/dl). But there is no sign of inflammation (CRP was negative). So I won't take a statin. I am letting my body get on with what it does best. I find the fact that I am having to do this against doctors advice quite extraordinary.
Anyway, if you are really unhappy with the numbers, reduce carbohydrates and increase fat in the diet. Reducing carbs should bring the trigycerides down. And increasing saturated fat will increase HDL, big time.
Type 1 since 1977. On Lantus, Novorapid and Actrapid.
If I read your post correctly, your husbands only concern is the HDL (good cholesterol). In that case, the best way to raise it is with Niacin (non-prescription-Vitamin B3). Most doctors even feel this is so! Crestor is best at reducing Total and LDL although they claim it raises HDL. I was on it for a few years and it never got my HDL above 40. Also, exercise and reducing processed foods are good for raising HDL (here I'm a hypocrite ). Finally, 3 to 4 grams of Fish Oil per day is excellent for everyone and helps reduce triglycerides, among others.
I would suggest reading the thread here on Niacin. Remember, most here are not doctors giving medical advise and are giving personal experiences as the basis for their posts (especially me .
Look into a condition called Metabolic Syndrome, also called Syndrome X. it is characterized by high triglycerides and low HDL. THe syndrome tends to include poor sugar utilization with a tendency towards diabetes and fat deposition in the belly.
If you are trying to get pregnant the fewer drugs you both take the better.
Another case of the doctor in bed with the drug company reps . For minor elevations you don't go and stick someone on the strongest statin available with all the side effects that go along with it . What are these guys thinking , they obviously believe everything the drug reps tell them and any drug company sponsored study .
I would like to thank you all for taking the time to reply to my message - my husband and me appreciate it a lot.
Yes, the doctor alleged my husband has the so called metabolic syndrome - though when his numbers were actually normal a few years ago (that is when he actively addressed the issue) this metabolic syndrome magically disappeared???
One reason my husband is not sure whether he should not be taking Crestor (despite my begging, threats and everything else I could come up with so far) is that he does not know how to deal with our doctor. He is obviously afraid to confront him and challenge his professional opinion - what if the doctor gets upset and stops having him as a patient? To which I replied that a good doctor will listen and will try to persuade with facts and actual numbers. If he goes into extremes, then we do not need such a doctor in the first place.
I just don't quite understand why there seems to be such obsession with statins. I mean I can not believe the doctors are taking bribes, and literally 100 percent of them ... are there any doctors out there who openly criticize what is going on? and where are they??
Last edited by Vicky-Vicky; 11-26-2006 at 09:53 PM.
I am worried sick because I am afraid he can cause irreparable damage to his body, and frankly I simply don't believe that my husband is high risk for heart attack, given his situation and history.
Alas, you SHOULD believe that your husband is in a high risk group for heart disease. In "American numbers" his HDL is 32. THis is quite terrible. I speak from experience becasue an HDL only a few points lower got me heart disease in my early 50's.
As he found out, metabolic syndrome CAN be dealt with by strict diet, excellent weight control and exercise, with perhaps the addition of an agent like niacin or even daily alcohol. BUT this is not a diet that one can go off of...it must be a lifetime committment.
How heavy is your husband today? What is his height? What are his OTHER cholesterol numbers?
Your husband is not at high risk for heart disease just because of his numbers. No one can say that having a low HDL caused them to have heart disease. You can have very high HDL...and it can all be of the useless kind. Inflammation is the key to heart disease.
..... are there any doctors out there who openly criticize what is going on? and where are they??
Yes there are. Google The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics . What we have here is a prime example of pharmaceutical companies having uexcessive influence over doctors. And bribery is not neccessary. They do kit by controlling the information that doctors rely on to make decisions. Like the clinical trials. And apparently 60%+ of the studies that get published in prestigious medical journals are funded either directly or indirectly by Big Pharma.
Type 1 since 1977. On Lantus, Novorapid and Actrapid.
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 205 pounds
Waist circumference: 41 inch or 104 cm
Bad cholesterol: 4.55
Good cholesterol: 0.82
Tryglicerides: he does not remember, told him to confirm with his doctor
Previous medical conditions: none, except for milk and gluten intolerance (can drink processed milk and we mostly eat organic multigrain breads, sometimes yeast-free etc). A few years ago had slightly elevated blood pressure which is normal now. Possibly does not need any meds in that area either. Never had chest pains, except in a couple of cases under stress.
I read descriptions of metabolic syndrome, he does not meet it on several indicators. By the way, I obviously have it myself, because it turned out my good cholesterol was low too, and tryglicerides were somewhat elevated. And today my blood pressure was 160/120 (!), partially stress-related. At the same time our doctor dismissed my complaints saying I was too young to have high blood pressure (?!?).
Mark, thank you for the great link - I hope my husband will be able to finally open his eyes and accept the actual facts. He advised me today that he was thinking on starting Crestor soon. After a heated discussion (which is partially the reason of my elevated bp) he decided it could be a good idea to get some testing done first instead, such as a CT scan of the heart. They can do it here and it is supposed to detect plaque and blockages if any. At least if there are problems, then using statins can be justified.
..... he decided it could be a good idea to get some testing done first instead, such as a CT scan of the heart. They can do it here and it is supposed to detect plaque and blockages if any. ....
You may also want to have his thyroid checked out. An underactive thyroid can raise cholesterol. And they can test for inflammation, the absence of which would suggest this cholesterol isn't being used for laying down plaque.
Type 1 since 1977. On Lantus, Novorapid and Actrapid.
The Following User Says Thank You to Mark1e For This Useful Post: UTVOL06 (09-06-2011)
I STRONGLY advise your husband to have a nuclear stress test also called a sestamibi scan, thallium stress test, MIBI scan and a few other names.
Especially since he suffered a couple bouts of chest pain under "stress."
I just wanted to let you know that we did my husband's CT heart scan the other day and his calcium deposit score is 0! that is his arteries are clean ... now, does he need statins with all of that, considering his cardiograms were consistently normal and he did not have chest pain ever?
An LDL/HDL ratio of 5.6 is catastrophically AWFUL. His TC/HDL ratio must be off the CHART especially if his triglycerides are high!
IF he passes his nuclear stress test then he can CONSIDER making the bad call and ignoring his terrible cholesterol readings. If he fails it...then there is no reasonable alternative to statins and probably niacin also. I doubt that his arteries are clean, "calcium count" nothwithstanding...it is NOT a good test!
There is some potentially dangerous mis-information posted in this thread. Beware of anyone who gives the same response to every question, e.g. that statins are always bad, always dangerous or not needed, etc. for everyone.
The person whose advice I would most heed is Lenin (though he and I do not always agree, he is giving you some very good advice here).
Make sure your husband gets a nuclear stress test - not just the stress test where they put him on a treadmill. The one he needs involves injecting a nuclear isotope and taking "pictures" of his heart at rest, then putting him on a treadmill, injecting the isotope again and taking another set of pictures of his heart after exercise. It is the best way, short of an invasive angiogram, to determine whether there are any life-threatening blockages in his arteries, and gives an idea where they are. The calcium thing is not as reliable.
Your husband has a number of risk factors that make him a prime candidate for a heart attack. While I would question the use of Crestor as the "drug of first choice" (there is some data which shows it has a higher rate of potentially dangerous side effects that some of the other statins), it is imperative that he find a way to get his HDL up and his LDL and triglycerides down, particularly if he has a family history of heart disease. Much can be done with diet, exercise, and supplements, but he may have to take statins.
Click on my name and read the last post I just made under the thread entitled CBS News - Denmark study. There you will see my story; your husband's current situation sounds a lot like mine 3 years ago...I narrowly escaped a heart attack and have a stent in my coronary artery to prove it.
There are many things that are being overlooked in CHD because of the invention of statins. Inflammation is being overlooked. Low metabolism is being over looked. Thyroid is being overlooked. And just plain old exercise is being overlooked. Processed foods and transfats are being overlooked. I do a lot of research on cholesterol, and make a lot of calls to experts in bio-chemistry. Cholesterol is vital to the body, and even more vital as a person gets older. Effects of manipulating the cholesterol pathway may not show up until years later....even if the medcation that interfered with the cholesterol production was stopped years before. There is a good component to all statins, and that is to stop or reduce inflammation. That component cannot be removed from statins. It has been shown that even before cholesterol is lowered statins can improve inflammation in the arteries (provided there was inflammation). I think dosages of statins and cholesterol lowering medications are too high. I don't see any potentialy dangerous information posted here, whether it is for or against statins, or in between. Unfortunately there is plenty of information to support both sides. I do not believe that crestor should be a medication that is given in any instance, there were too many problems with it. The lack of doctors who would ever admit that statins could cause problems is my main concern. They will not listen to patients or ever admit that a cholesterol medication is the root of their problem. I believe that interference with a chemical pathway in the body is not appropriate when there are many other functions involved in that pathway. Way to many people are being put on statins. Some basic concept in the involvement of cholesterol in the human body is important for everyone. You have seen by the recent bust of Pfizers new HDL raising drug that Raising HDL (at all cost) is not always the best approach. Why sould we assume that lowering cholesterol or LDL (at all costs) is also the best approach. In the recent Dutch Study, they also printed (and assumed) that there could be no lower limit on cholesterol and LDL. This is not the case. As in weight, lower is NOT always better. Coq10 is also vital in our bodies, and most docotrs never mention the interuption of that pathway by cholesterol lowering medications. Just because some of our information is different than others have heard, does not mean it is mis-information.