I recently went to the doctor for a regular check up and was shocked to find out that I have high cholesterol. I exercise regularly, have no family history of heart disease, don't smoke and lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle. My numbers were 259 TC, 151 LDL, 96 HDL and 59 Triglycerides. I rarely see people whose numbers are similar to mine with a high LDL, but ALSO a high HDL and low Triglycerides. My doctor gave me 4 months to improve my numbers. I will be going back in December to get checked again. She said that if there was no improvement, I would need drugs. Based on what I have read about ratios, I don't believe that I need drugs even with my current numbers. Am I right about this?
The Following User Says Thank You to Allison965 For This Useful Post: Railroadgirl (06-14-2012)
I'd certainly never consider any statin medication for your great numbers. As they stand, you have a fantastic Tot-C to HDL ratio of 2.7 that puts you in the lowest category of risk. Anything under 3.3 is considered very low risk.
Here is what you are shooting for:
200 or less, Total Cholesterol
150 or less, Triglycerides
120 or less, LDL
40 or higher, HDL
Your total cholesterol is only higher than the 200 threshold because your HDL is so wonderfully high. Most folks probably have an HDL of 40 to 46. So... subtract the astronomically enormous amount of extra HDL from your total cholesterol... which is 50 points, and this would bring your Tot-C down to near perfect range.
In my opinion, you would be foolish to go on any medication for your number... I would give my right arm for your numbers.
Keep your Doctor at bay. You decide what to do for yourself... don't let Doctors dictate to you. I tell mine "no" all the time. He's ok with me saying no.
Thank you for your reply. I had to do all the research on my own about LDL vs. HDL and ratios. My doctor just said "your cholesterol is too high and you will need drugs if it doesn't improve". I think I should switch doctors
Yes... you should. Doctors do not get to tell you what to do... they only get to give you their opinions on what you should do, and provide you some reasoning as to why. I have a great Doctor that listens to me and gives me his professional opinion and advice... even if I don't follow it... and doesn't take it personally when I say I'm done with a Med.
At this point I would not even consider taking medication. I'm guessing that your test was done using the Friedewald formula for the calculation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. While it is common knowledge that errors occure when the TG levels are > 400 the caculation is also prone to error with low TG levels. Your LDL levels may actually be closer to the 120-130 range. Typically, low TG < 60 cause the caculated LDL values to be high. Your doctor should have a direct measurement cholesterol test done before even talking to you about statins considering your TG levels. Even if your present levels are correct I would pass on the drugs considering your overall profile.
Thank you for your reply. I had not heard of the Friedewald formula -- that is very interesting. I feel so much better hearing from you and others telling me that I don't need a statin. I went to the doctor for a regular check up -- the thought of having high cholesterol never even entered my mind. I knew absolutely nothing about cholesterol when she told me that mine was too high. I have learned so much through the internet and through this site. Thanks to the support of people like you and other people on this site, I feel much more informed. I am upset that my doctor didn't explain more about all this to me in the first place. She had me thinking I could never eat real cheese, red meat or desserts ever again! I thought I was headed for a heart attack before I took it upon myself to learn more about HDL vs. LDL! Thanks again!
... So even if I cut out the cheese, red meat and desserts my LDL most likely wouldn't go down just a bit? ....
Some people have cholesterol levels that seem to be sensitive to these foods and others don't. My experience has been that food doesn't affect my cholesterol levels at all. For example, I increased my egg consumption from 2 a week to 21+ a week and my cholesterol levels didn't change. So I now eat lots of eggs and other natural foods containing fat. The only fat I restrict is trans fat.
The only way you will know how your body responds to fat is if you test it. Cut out all these fatty foods for three months, have your cholesterol tested again, and compare it to the baseline level. If there is no significant change, you may as well start eating them again. But be sure to keep everything else the same, like exercise, so that the comparison is meaningful.
Type 1 since 1977. On Lantus, Novorapid and Actrapid.
Depending on your current diet some changes might be a good investment. But I wouldn't make the primary focus of the dietary change cholesterol numbers. There are many problems that result from a poor diet, many of them are much worse than having high cholesterol. I think making small positive changes that you can live with forever is probably the best way to go for most. Over the course of years 5 or 6 small changes could add up to make a big difference. The evidence of preventing many diseases with diet is just now starting to scatch the surface. I think in time it will be undeniable how important diet really is to our health.
Wow! 21 eggs a week is a lot! I think I am going to try the "3 month test" and see what happens. It certainly can't hurt to eat a little healthier, but I would like to believe that on occassion I can eat red meat, cheese, desserts, etc. I will be curious what my numbers are 3 months from now!
Really? So even if I cut out the cheese, red meat and desserts my LDL most likely wouldn't go down just a bit? I changed my diet a lot after my doctor scared me! Was she wrong about that too?
I don't think you Doctor is wrong, per say. He is towing the line that all Doctor's use. So, I think that agregately, it seems most Doctors are narrow in scope and knowledge when it comes to diet. I know my Doctor has asked if I wanted to go a nutritionist... so clearly, he knows his scope is limited in this area.
As stated... Diet may help, but usually doesn't as your liver produces nearly all the cholesterol your body needs regardless of food... and in my case and many other people's case... it produces wayy more than needed.
I did a vegan diet for about a year... no animal fat or cholesterol what so ever... and my cholesterol went throught the roof... way higher then when I eat normal. And my cholesterol actually improved when I followed Atkin's diet, what actually runs into the face of conventional cholesterol theory regarding diet.
I eat red meat only about one day a month... mostly chicken and turkey... maybe pork once a month.