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Old 01-05-2007, 05:32 AM   #1
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Should I take cholesterol medicine?

Last year my total cholesterol was 234. This year my total cholesterol is 249. Last year my LDL cholesterol was 155 this year it went up to 177. I don't really want to take cholesterol medicine. I am only 42. I would rather control it with my diet. Any suggestions?

 
Old 01-05-2007, 08:39 AM   #2
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

What is your HDL (good cholesterol)? Your numbers are similar to my untreated numbers and I'm age 39. Do you exercise? I do and still have those type numbers, untreated. First, you might try diet and exercise modifications and then retest. Also, you can add Niacin (Vitamin B-3) as you may get an increase in HDL and a reduction in LDL/Total. Plus, you can try a regimen of Fish Oil tablets (especially to reduce your TG's). Others here would suggest other herbs, supplements, etc. however I've not had much luck with them. Certainly, if your doctor wants you to take a statin you should be able to do a low dose of Lipitor or Zocor or Vytorin . . . thereby reducing your risk of statin side effects. Finally, do some research on the Framingham Risk Assessment (there is a calculation for both male and females) which can help you assess your risk of a CHD. Mine calculated out to be a 3 % risk of a CHD within 10 years, untreated, but with a small dose of Vytorin (10/20), I'm able to go to a <1% chance. Therefore, I decided taking the medicine is okay for me (for now at least .

Good luck. You can get many opinions on this forum but in the end, you must make the best decision for you (hopefully with the input of a good doctor ).

 
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:46 AM   #3
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

I agree with the above answer, but would add a couple of things. The Framingham scale is a good start, but it scored me as relatively low risk and I had to have a stent placed in a 99% blocked artery, narrowly avoiding a heart attack that would likely have killed me given the location of the blockage, a week after my 54th birthday.

What is your family history of heart disease? Diabetes? Do you (or have you) smoked? Are you overweight? Is your job very stressful (or do you have other strong life stresses?) Are you more a couch potato than an athlete? Is your HDL below 40? Are your triglycerides above 150? Is your fasting blood sugar above 100? Does your waist measure more than 35 inches? The more of these (and other risk factors for heart disease that I've probably forgotten) that you answer yes to, the more I'd be prone to starting medication at your age (knowing what I know now).

But I'd probably give diet, exercise, and non Rx solutions one more HARD try for about 3 to 6 mos. first.

Last edited by Connie122516; 01-05-2007 at 12:54 PM.

 
Old 01-06-2007, 06:46 AM   #4
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

rapin,

If you want to vastly improve your numbers without drugs read one of Dean Ornish's books...best is titled something like DR. DEAN ORNISH's PROGRAM for REVERSING HEART DISEASE or something that sounds like that...check your library.
Or his LIFE CHOICE DIET.
[removed]

Basically it's a near vegan diet that gets <10% of calories from fat and lowers weight dramatically.

He has proven that the diet dramatically lowers cholesterol and actually reduces arterial plaque.

BUT IT'S a HARD DIET!

Even if you do it half way, you will probably get a dramatically improved lipid panel.

If statins didn't exist, his diet would be my choice...but I take the easier way, Lipitor and niacin!

Last edited by mod-anon; 01-07-2007 at 12:23 AM. Reason: do not instruct members on how to find websites.

 
Old 01-06-2007, 08:58 AM   #5
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

Thanks for all of the great suggestions. I like the book idea. My mom has high cholesterol also. I am going to tell her about the books. I have a sister-in-law who eats only natural things. She said eating a vegetarian diet would help my mom and me. It's hard for me because I have a husband and 3 kids. They won't eat that stuff. I would have to make 2 seperate meals. I eat all natural at breakfast and lunch. I am going to give it one more hard try before I start to take medicine. I have an information packet on Vytorin that I haven't looked at yet. I should probably also have a test to see if my arteries are blocked. What is the Framington Risk Assessment? Is it when you divide the Total Cholesterol by the HDLs? It looks like this Total Cholesterol / HDL. Mine would be 249 / 51 = 4.88. My mom said under 5 is OK. But I am close. I have never smoked. I am not overweight. And my waist measurement is under 35. I am more of a couch potato than an athlete. My job is not stressful. So I have all that going for me. My family history is not good. My mom's parents both died at the age of 68. My grandfather had a massive heart attack. My grandmother had a heart attack and complications from Diabetes. My mom is 68. She must be really scared right now. She is the youngest of 4 children. Her oldest brother is 85 he is still living. Her next brother is 80 years old, he is still living. Her sister just passed away in Sept. of 2005. She had acute lukemia. She died 6 wks after she was diagnosed. Wow, I really went on and on didn't I? I have one question....What is a statin? Thanks again!

 
Old 01-06-2007, 09:23 AM   #6
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

Statins are the drug class that are the mainstay of medical cholesterol control: Vytorin, Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, and red yeast rice are statins.

Last edited by Lenin; 01-06-2007 at 09:24 AM.

 
Old 01-06-2007, 01:23 PM   #7
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The Framingham Risk assessment is just a tool that factors such thing as your age, ldl cholesterol, blood pressure, whether you smoke, etc. . . and gives you a % threat of Coronary Heart Disease for 10 years. [removed] What you calculated is your ratio. Yours is pretty good but you're after 3.5. With your family history, I wouldn't put this decision on the backburner.

A statin is a class of drugs used to lower your bad cholesterol (ldl and total) and raise your good cholesterol (hdl). Some names of statins are crestor, zocor, lipitor, lescol. Vytorin has a statin component (zocor) and a non-statin component (zetia).Statins work well but come with serious side effects such as muscle and liver damage. Therefore, the less statin that you can take and reach your target numbers, the better off you are going to be in the long run (especially at our age).

Last edited by mod-anon; 01-07-2007 at 12:21 AM. Reason: do not instruct members on how to find websites.

 
Old 01-06-2007, 06:32 PM   #8
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

I am a 56 years old man. I just got a scare which is 6%. My total Cholesterol 230. HDL 56. blood pressure is normal and I never smoke. I don't know what mean about this 6% and I should take medicine? now I just take Garlic and diet.

 
Old 01-07-2007, 05:13 AM   #9
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

Oh my,

That's the first time I used that risk assessment...10%. Oh well, that gives me a 90% chance of NOT having one.

 
Old 01-07-2007, 09:40 AM   #10
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

Lenin,

It has me at 1% (I used my "controlled with meds" numbers), about the same number it gave me before my 99% blockage was found (and probably why my doctor never put me on statins, as my BP and lipid readings were usually never more than borderline high).

At least it captures low HDL, but the science behind leaving out weight, family history, exercise level, blood sugar level, and perhaps even stress escapes me. I guess they did calculations on their population and at some point decided this handful placed you at highest risk. It's always amazed me though that family history didn't make the list.

Last edited by Connie122516; 01-07-2007 at 11:12 AM.

 
Old 01-07-2007, 11:57 AM   #11
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

Framingham leaves a lot to be desired. Some of the original 200 "risks" are humerous to say the least. One is being male and being bald...another is being male and being married to a highly intelligent woman.

 
Old 01-09-2007, 02:30 PM   #12
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

I told my mom about the book. She sent me an e-mail saying that a few months ago she stopped taking all cholesterol medicine. She was taking Tricor, Niacin, and Welcol. I've never heard of Welcol. She was going to the doctor Mon. afternoon. Her doctor is not going to be happy with her. My mom has a lot of old fashioned ideas about cholesterol. She goes to her brothers and sister-in-laws for advise. She needs to take a different approach. She gets her medicine from an internal medicine doctor. Maybe she should see a heart doctor.

 
Old 01-09-2007, 02:37 PM   #13
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

Welchol is an old version of what Zetia is today, I took it..YUK! The pills are huge and U have to take 6 a day, 2 at each meal. Made me very gasy, bloated and I felt like a beached whale on it. Hope your mom finds something that will agree with her, unfortuneately I never did.
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:05 AM   #14
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

JJ--So now you don't take any cholesterol medicine? How does that work out for you? How long has it been since you took cholesterol medicine? My mom's numbers are pretty bad. Her bad cholesterol is high and her good cholesterol is low. She has been taking cholesterol medicine since she was about 40 years old. She has a bad family history with heart disease. She is 68 years old now.

 
Old 01-10-2007, 07:50 AM   #15
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Re: Should I take cholesterol medicine?

Connie,
Quote:
but the science behind leaving out weight, family history, exercise level, blood sugar level, and perhaps even stress escapes me
I agree...what they left out had me flummoxed. I kept wanting to scream "Why can't I say that my LDL is 62 and that in my Sixth decade I can still do an hour on the elliptical trainer regularly!"
So yeah, I took that 10% risk with a grain of salt!

JJ,
Quote:
Welchol is an old version of what Zetia is today, I took it
No Zetia is very different.
Welchol and it's sisters are bile sequestants and works in the gut to sequester bile and escort it out the body...Zetia blocks the absorption of dietary cholesterol from the intestine.

 
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