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    Old 07-09-2005, 01:19 PM   #1
    TNWalz
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    Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    I was put on Pravachol over 3 years ago. The first couple of years were uneventful and my cholesterol lowered dramatically (and I felt fine), so when the symptoms described below began, they were not recognized as statin- related for several months.

    When the symptoms began, what followed was a year and a half of puzzling symptoms and misery, beginning with both hands and arms aching constantly. Any twisting or wrenching such as wringing out a wet towel would increase the pain for days.

    Because of my strong family history of arthritis, my internist put me on Cliniril and shortly afterwards, I developed reflux symptoms (difficulty swallowing) so he put me on Protonix. The pain continued and spread to other areas. It became almost impossible for me to bend or twist because of pain in my stomach, ribs, and sides. I had trouble putting on my shoes. I had pain in my calves and an increase in leg cramps.

    I also began retaining fluid (not the typical hot weather kind) and was put on Lasix but, even with this, my feet and legs were huge at the end of each day and I was sleeping on two or three pillows because the fluid moved up when I lay down. An appointment was made (six months away) for a local arthritis group to see me. My doc suspected rheumatoid arthritis (like the other females in my family) but also began asking questions such as did I have family history of lupus, MS, fibromalgia, myasthenia gravis, etc.

    In the meantime, the pain in my hands and arms had become seven/twenty-four and were so weak, I was using both hands to pick up a cup of coffee. When I mentioned to my internist that, on top of everything else, it seemed my bladder wasn't working right either because I couldn't 'hold it' anymore, he raised one eyebrow and said, "REALLY? " Maybe we've finally tapped into something!! ALL of your problems seem to be muscle-related - and now it's the bladder! another muscle! I'm taking you off your Pravachol TODAY!"

    Within 60 days, the pain had subsided to something I could live with and in another thirty it was gone. The strength returned to my hands and arms and the aches and pains all over my body miraculously disappeared.

    Since I wasn't hurting anymore, I discontinued the Cliniril and after another 30 days, the reflux symptoms were gone and swallowing was no longer difficult.

    Sooooo, since I didn't have reflux anymore, I discontinued the Protonix and the swelling left my feet and legs and is still gone except for the occasional hot-weather type swelling.

    My doctor laughed and said, "You're doing terrific since we stopped trying to kill you!" Then he said, "You can't ever take statins again! Not ever! Your symptoms were too severe."

    I have developed something NEW, though. On a routine EKG in April '05, only weeks after all the other symptoms went away, they discovered a bundle branch block on the left. After testing (echo, nuclear), a cardiology team has diagnosed me with 'idiopathic, intermittent' bundle branch block, left, and warned me if I feel faint or lightheaded (syncope) to head to the E.R.

    I can't help but wonder if the Pravachol had an adverse affect on my heart... after all, the heart is a muscle, too, and the timing was right.

    So, now I'm back at square one about what to do to lower my cholesterol. The LDL is high (155), the HDL is normal (76), and the triglycerides are normal (169), for a total cholesterol level of 265. After hearing about my 'muscle' history, my new cardiologist agrees with my internist that I shouldn't be on statins.

    A couple of friends suggested I check out red rice yeast. So, here I am, hoping to learn more from you and your experiences with statins and red rice yeast.

    That's the way it all happened and this is the way it ended - except that, with a total cholesterol level of 265, I realize it really hasn't ended at all.

    Sorry! I couldn't say all that in a few short sentences.
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    Old 07-09-2005, 02:30 PM   #2
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Wow, sounds like statins did a number on you, they didn't like me either. Glad your dr. took U off of them, and things are getting a lot better. As far as the red rice yeast, that is a natural statin, so in my opinion, I would stay away from it.

    I know it is hard to bring down the numbers with diet and exercise, especially if it is a genetic thing, as I have been going thru it also. Only thing I can tell U is to stay away from trans. fats, and junk food, and also refined processed foods. If U feel up to it, a good exercise program will help. I'm sure many others will come on and give U some tips about foods and even some supplements U can take. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, get some exercise and hopefully U will see some good results.

    Feel better, and good luck.....

     
    Old 07-09-2005, 03:50 PM   #3
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    I wouldn't take Red Yeast Rice either, if I'd been unable to tolerate statins. You might want to look at some other options. Niacin therapy, of course, is an old standby. It has been used to lower cholesterol for decades. Therapeutic doses usually run about 1000 to 2000 mg., though I got good control (reduction of TC from 247 to 190 plus improvements in other lipids) with 750 mg Enduracin, an OTC sustained-release niacin. Like statins, though, it does have the potential for liver toxicity in a small percent of people, so regular liver enzyme tests are needed. You'd need to be under a doctor's supervision for that. I'm not sure whether he'd want you on it after having problems with statins, but they might be different enough that you could at least ask about it.

    One thing you could try on your own, though, is cinnamon. Here is a link to an research article about it and a quote from the article:

    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/26/12/3215

    Quote:
    RESULTS—After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18–29%), triglyceride (23–30%), LDL cholesterol (7–27%), and total cholesterol (12–26%) levels; no significant changes were noted in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant.
    That research was done with diabetics, but I see no reason to believe cinnamon wouldn't also be helpful to those with normal glucose levels.

     
    Old 07-09-2005, 04:38 PM   #4
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    I had horrible side effects from statins and years later tried the RYR. In less than a week, I couldn't even press the nozzle of the windex bottle my muscles were so weak.

     
    Old 07-09-2005, 05:24 PM   #5
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Oh my! I think that leaves Red Rice Yeast out for me!!!

    This is not the first time I've heard cinnamon mentioned as having health benefits ... good for heart and arterial health. I also heard you should take cinnamon in very small doses or it, too, may not be so good for you. So that's my research project for tonight...'health benefits of cinnamon'.

    As for the exercise, I walk about 30 min. MOST every evening - but there's those times I get sick of the routine and want to stay home. Your comments have definitely nudged me back into a regular walking program.

    Thanks, y'all!
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    Old 07-09-2005, 07:14 PM   #6
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    I know some folks use cinnamon capsules, but I take a 1/4 of a tsp. each morning. My dr. had suggested me taking Niacin, but it didn't agree with me, so now I also drink green tea. I like the Bigelow, I usually brew a pot of it, let it cool, then put it in a container in the fridge and use it as iced tea. Like anything, I'm trying whatever I can that will agree with me, as I am soooo sensative to things.

    Good luck TN, anytime U have questions, just ask, as the folks here are mighty helpful and do their homework, so they will try their best to help U out......

     
    Old 07-10-2005, 06:48 AM   #7
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Waltzie,

    If you cannot take Pravachol (pravastatin) you absolutely should not take red yeast rice (lovastatin.)

    Several of your symptoms sound like heart failure (swollen legs, pulmonary edema when reclining.) But they would have caught anything that severe on your cardiological workup. Bundle branch block is usually hereditary and nothing to worry about but it CAN be caused by a heart attack. Keep a close watch, especially if you get leg swelling.
    Are you still taking the Lasix?

    Did they ever measure your creatine phosphokinase (CPK or CK on your lab results?)

    Last edited by Lenin; 07-10-2005 at 06:49 AM.

     
    Old 07-10-2005, 12:56 PM   #8
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TNWalz
    Oh my! I think that leaves Red Rice Yeast out for me!!!
    This is not the first time I've heard cinnamon mentioned as having health benefits ... good for heart and arterial health. I also heard you should take cinnamon in very small doses or it, too, may not be so good for you.
    I agree with everyone....... stay away from RYR. It controlled my husband's cholesterol (as did Lopid, Zocor & Lipitor), but RYR produced all the same nasty side effects. His shoulder still aches and his memory is improving, but he still experiences some bouts of TGA (transient global amnesia). He stopped all statins 1 yr ago.

    Re: cinnamon:
    Commercially, there are two very different kinds of "cinnamon." There's the real thing, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, and there's C. cassia.

    Most people prefer the milder zeylanicum but this is the one that is more potent.
    Zeylanicum cinnamon is a member of the Camphor family. Cinnamon oil is the most potent.

    So, not all cinnamon is created equal, and there are potential problems with it if not dealt with carefully.

    C. cassia is the one you will find in capsule form. Capsules are 500mg.
    Hubby takes one in the AM and one in the PM.

    You might also benefit from Omega 3 (fish oil or cod liver oil). We get lots of Omega 6, but not enough Omega 3. The ratio of Omega 3 and 6 should be one to one, but with most diets, we get 30 to 1..... way out of whack.

    Good site for Omega 3: http://www.omega-3info.com/home.htm

    Your story is so familar. The doctors have tried all the statins on my M-I-L. God knows why..... she is 80 this year and very healthy. Zetia, which is a non statin, made her feet hurt. Dr said "no way" you must have arthritis in your feet. Wanted to send her to a specialist. She stopped the Zetia and the pain went away.

    When will our doctors learn to listen to us. They treat us like a bunch of idiots. We know our bodies best !

    Glad you are on the road to recovery.

     
    Old 07-10-2005, 01:45 PM   #9
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Your story is so familar. The doctors have tried all the statins on my M-I-L. God knows why..... she is 80 this year and very healthy. Zetia, which is a non statin, made her feet hurt. Dr said "no way" you must have arthritis in your feet. Wanted to send her to a specialist. She stopped the Zetia and the pain went away.

    When will our doctors learn to listen to us. They treat us like a bunch of idiots. We know our bodies best !
    **************************************** ************
    I think just about every person who develops aches and pains gets the same answer....ARTHRITIS!! If it was, then the pain wouldn't leave when U stop the drugs.

    Arthritis doesn't come on all of a sudden either, as I have a lil in my wrist, and it started about 12 yrs. ago, and slowly it gets a lil worse, but nothing like the pains I had on statins. My old dr. of 34 yrs. use to always tell us, U know your body, we just try to treat what U tell us is wrong, and if he couldn't find the problem, would send U to someone who could get to the root of it. Those kind of drs. are long gone, now they just shove ya on a pill for just about everything.

     
    Old 07-10-2005, 07:33 PM   #10
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JJ
    My old dr. of 34 yrs. use to always tell us, U know your body, we just try to treat what U tell us is wrong, and if he couldn't find the problem, would send U to someone who could get to the root of it. Those kind of drs. are long gone, now they just shove ya on a pill for just about everything.
    Hi JJ, Exactly..... a pill to counteract a pill to counteract another pill. I think [and hope] everyone is getting fed up with having pills pushed at them...... the quick fix does not work. Pills do not correct a condition, only cover it up and in most cases, create other problems. What a vicious circle.

    Most of what the medical community has told us about cholesterol is incorrect. For over a year I asked my husband's cardio to test his homocysteine. The only response was that homocysteine is not a risk factor. Then one day, Dr says, "And his blood tests will include homocysteine." And this cardio is supposed to be one of the best in the Tampa Bay area. Why do we know about these things long before our doctors? I guess they don't have time to research the internet..... They rely solely on JAMA.

    Frankie

     
    Old 07-10-2005, 08:59 PM   #11
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Hi Frankie...Yup, just like that commercial on tv about the woman who takes meds. for her arthritis. She was afraid it would give her an ulcer, so now she takes Nexium to correct that problem, yet the side effects include stomach pain, dizzyness, etc. etc. I just shake my head evertime I see some of these commercials.

    Obviously there are some conditions that people do need meds. for, we would be nuts if we denied that, but lately they have a pill for a stupid hang nail!! Even if I have a headache, trust me, it has to be a real wiz banger before I will even take a Tylenol.

    In May I went to a new dr. and she had blood work done on me, and when I see her in Aug. I want to discuss exactly what was done, as the bill was over 500.00. She knows I do alot of web searching and have medical people in hubby's family, so I ask questions. I didn't get a copy of everything like hubby does when he goes to the VA, but she did say if I want one that is no problem. Only thing she sent me was the lipid panel and thyroid results and said everything else was just fine, but I want to see if some of these tests we talk about on here were done.

    U almost have to have a degree to deal with some of these drs. today, as like U said, they act surprised if U ask them certain questions. Like I already told her, I don't want pills to cover up a problem, I would prefer to get to the root of the problem. Hubby's cardio guy is great, he will sit there and answer any questions U have and if U ask about a certain test, if it wasn't done, he will have it done. Oh well, thank God for the internet and sites like this so U can get some knowledge and be prepared to ask drs. questions.

    Hopefully U guys weren't affected too much by Dennis. My oldest son lives in FL. and so far he said they got alot of wind and rain, but nothing too bad. Hope ya have a great nite, and U keep asking those questions...

     
    Old 07-10-2005, 10:32 PM   #12
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JJ
    Hopefully U guys weren't affected too much by Dennis. My oldest son lives in FL. and so far he said they got alot of wind and rain, but nothing too bad. Hope ya have a great nite, and U keep asking those questions...
    Thanks for your concern JJ. We live about 1/2 hour north of Tampa. Had about 1 1/2 " of rain and wind gusts up to 40 mph with Dennis. All 4 big storms last year came right through our area, but we were very fortunate. Frankie

     
    Old 07-11-2005, 08:53 AM   #13
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Glad to hear the storms didn't cause you problems, Frankie.

    I tried a very low dose of simvastatin twice and was plunged into a terrible depression that went away when I stopped the pills. The doctor at the time didn't make the connection (and probably wouldn't have believed it anyway). I was on Cholestin for years and didn't have any problems, but it is it very expensive. I'm now on a low dose of good old generic lovastatin and so far, so good. There are differences among the statins, but if I had an "injury" on any one of them, I would never try another, including RYR. Diet and exercise can make a big difference in cholesterol levels. I can always tell if I've been eating too much meat and cheese because my levels go up.

     
    Old 07-11-2005, 02:43 PM   #14
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    You guys (and gals) are the greatest! So much info!! More than I received from all my doctors put together.

    Someone asked if I'm still taking Lasix. I'm back to taking it only occasionally. Since my 20's, I've had occasional feet and ankle swelling in hot, humid weather. So, over the past couple of weeks, with the weather soaring into the 90's most days, I've taken a lasix maybe every third day or so, especially if I haven't been careful with my salt intake.

    When I was on Pravachol, Cliniril, and Protonix, I was swollen 7/24 - regardless of the temperature. After dropping those three meds, and in that order, the fluid retention went away. Out of curiosity, I researched 'Protonix Side Effects' on the internet and 'feet and leg swelling' was listed as the number two side effect. So, duhhhhh.

    I'm now in my late 50's. Only a few in my family have had heart problems and they were in their 80's. High Blood Pressure (stroke), Fibrocystic Kidney Disease, and several types of Arthritis have been the most prevalent.

    Since the bundle branch block developed at the same time as the other statin-related 'muscle' symptoms, I can't help but feel it was part of the attack although I have no proof of that. But it WAS an attack! It felt like an attack - swift and intense. I remember sitting in my internist's office and weeping. My comment was "I'm under attack and I don't know who my enemies are!"

    Dang it! Looking back, I was a real mess. My hands hurt and throbbed so much I had stopped locking the door (pushing a button) when I left, because it was too excruciating to UNLOCK it (turning a key) when I returned.

    By sheer happenstance, a routine annual physical (with EKG) was scheduled only 30 days or so after discontinuing all these meds. That's when they discovered the bundle branch block.

    I am still very concerned about my high LDL and began the cinnamon capsules today (7/11) - one a day, 500 mg. I also believe in a positive attitude, so, for now, until someone tells me NOT to, I'm waltzing.

    About Hurricane Dennis - Even in these Tennessee mountains, we 're getting alternating squall lines, small showers, huge showers, ominous clouds, and bouts of breeziness. My heart goes out to those in the storm's direct path.

    Bye, y'all, and thanks!!!!
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    Old 07-11-2005, 09:23 PM   #15
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    Re: Statins versus Red Rice Yeast - Need info!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by heart44
    Thanks for your concern JJ. We live about 1/2 hour north of Tampa. Had about 1 1/2 " of rain and wind gusts up to 40 mph with Dennis. All 4 big storms last year came right through our area, but we were very fortunate. Frankie
    Glad U got thru it with lil problems. My son said he got quite a bit of rain and wind, but nothing to get excited about. We have alot of family and friends in FL., I try to make sure I keep up to date on how they do with these storms. My son is in the Bradenton area, and most of the others are in Jacksonville. Leave it to me to have all these medical folks down there instead of near me, BUMMER!!!

    I remember when Gloria hit here in the 80's, Holy Moly, what a mess, it took us months to clean up all the trees and branches, as we lost 3 big trees. Oh well, they were yucky trees anyway, but the mess we didn't need.

    Hopefully the rest of the year will be quiet.......

     
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