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    Old 12-30-2006, 11:55 AM   #1
    sassygrrl32
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    Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Hello, haven't been here in a long time. Anyway, going back for another cholesterol test in a couple of months. It's been roughly 9 months. Will also get homocysteine test done.
    Last numbers were:

    TC-204
    HDL-44
    LDL-138
    trigs-can't remember, think it was 110
    CRP-almost zero

    Over the past few years my cholesterol has increasingly went up. The LDL goes up about 10 or 15 points every couple of years and nothing has really made a difference. At least not diet and exercise. I've cut out almost all meat(occasionally eat white meat and fish mostly) and all red meat. Don't eat butter, margarine, oil, dairy(a little skin milk, that's it). Don't eat much really, alot of salad(fat free dressing), soup(veg kind), cereal.

    I have tachycardia and take 50 mgs of metoprolol a day(down from 75 mgs). That's it for prescription meds. Take nutritional yeast(has alot of b vitamins, niacin, etc.), fish oil, vitamin e(for something else), occassionally vitamin c.

    I walk 5 miles a day, sometimes more and have been for a number of years now. Although, the last test I hadn't been walking much for about 3 months and wonder if that would make that much of a difference. NOt overweight, diabetic, anything like that.

    My dr wasn't too concerned with those numbers because my crp went down considerably which could have been affected by me having sinus infection when the first test was done. And currently have no other risk factors. Although he did want them to improve.

    It just keeps getting higher even with improved diet and more exercise.

    The thing I don't understand is just a few years ago I had a far worse diet(I mean a really bad diet, I ate hamburgers, potato chips, milk shakes, all bad food all the time, every day) and cholesterol was far better than it is now and it was good every time I got it tested and for a good portion of that time I didn't even exercise at all. I just don't understand it.

    It's frustrating. And my Mom died from heart disease at age 67. She had her 1st heart attack at 66, 1st stroke at 57(4 strokes and 2 heart attacks total). She also had that PAD(clogged leg arteries) so bad they thought they were going to have to amputate her leg. MY dad just got out of the hospital a couple of days ago after having a heart attack(he just turned 83 on the 28th of this month).

    I'm 37. My question is when to start statins.
    As frustrating as this is I'm better off than either of them because I already know I have risk. Almost all the people in my MOm's family(grandparents, great aunts and uncles, cousins, everyone either has heart disease or has already died from it). But does this mean that no matter what I do I can't miss the bullet?
    I don't relish the idea of being in a nursing home at 60 if I live. My Mom was in a nursing home before she died. And I surely pray that dad doesn't wind up there too.

    Anyway, if my Dr doesn't bring up the idea of statins when should I bring it up? I don't want to wait until my cholesterol is excessively high b4 getting on it. Do I need to be on them already?

    Second question: I have no children yet and would like to have them. Does anyone know if statins cause birth defects, etc.? Or if pregnant women can even take them?

    Sorry for such a long post. Thanks for any ideas, advice, etc.

     
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    Old 12-30-2006, 12:03 PM   #2
    JJ
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Pregnant women, or anyone thinking of having a child should NOT be on any statins, as yes, they can cause birth defects. Do a search on cholesterol drugs, and you will see the warning for anyone pregnant, or planning on getting pregnant. For now your numbers look ok, but with such a strong family history of heart diease, your smart keeping close tabs on things. Doubt you need any statin, but later down the line if things get bad, I'm sure your dr. will talk to you about some kind of cholesterol lowering drug. Just do NOT take them unless necessary, especially if you plan on children.

    Good luck, and Happy New Year.....
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    Last edited by JJ; 12-30-2006 at 12:08 PM.

     
    Old 12-30-2006, 02:28 PM   #3
    Pivly
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    It seems people always say what they don't eat but what you do eat might have just as much if not more impact.

    Who knows though... Different people are different and maybe you already eat everything good you can. I eat a ton of fiber-rich products.

    - 3/4 cup oatmeal for breakfast (1 tsp cinnamon; raisins)

    - At least one whole banana and apple plus other fruits every day.

    - Well over a cup brown rice and a cup beans every single day (that's cooked measurements).

    - 4 oz of 100% duram whole wheat pasta.

    - At least 4 pieces whole wheat bread.

    - Handful of nuts every day (almonds, pecans, and walnuts)

    Sounds funny but I eat enough fiber that I need a bigger toilet to keep from stopping it up every day

     
    Old 12-30-2006, 02:51 PM   #4
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Statins are marked as an X drug as far as birth defects by the FDA. They are know to cause SEVERE birth defects. Cholesterol is vital for the development of the brain of a fetus.

     
    Old 12-30-2006, 07:55 PM   #5
    HubbleRules
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Sassy,

    Our cholesterol goes up as we grow older - so it does not really surprise me too much that your LDL goes up every few years. Going up by 15 every other year is a bit much though...

    Given that your Mom had premature heart disease (I'm assuming she had her first stroke before 65)... you need to watch your numbers, especially the LDL and triglycerides... Your triglycerides are fine. If you have anything to be concerned about, it would be your LDL.

    Do NOT go back on your old, poor diet. Stick with your current diet and exercise regimen. See if you are consuming any trans-fats (anything with 'hydrogenated' in the ingredient list) and if so try to eliminate them completely...

    If I had your numbers, I would personally not be on a statin... But if your LDL continues to go up and you and your doctor are concerned about it - maybe you could try a weak statin like Zocor or Mevachor (they're less expensive also)...

    By the way, when it comes to family CHD history, it's really only your immediate family (mother, father, sibblings) that count. Aunts, uncles and cousins are not that important...


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    Old 12-31-2006, 01:16 AM   #6
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Maybe when your situation is severe, but from what
    you posted, your scores are normal. Enjoy life, worry less.

     
    Old 12-31-2006, 09:39 AM   #7
    sassygrrl32
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Thanks for the replies. I try not to worry but I guess maybe I worry a little too much and if I get so much as a little pain here or there I'll worry about it. Watching my Mom go through heart disease was awful and it really is an insidious disease. I never realized just how bad it is I don't think until she got it.

    Neither of my parents eat that great and my Mom sure didn't exercise like I do(in fact she didn't exercise much at all and smoked, something I sure don't do). When she first developed high blood pressure at 44 I would get on her about it and fuss about eating too many fat grams.
    The main reason she had the strokes were from high blood pressure(her carotid arteries were not blocked at all, only a minor amount of buildup on one wall, less than 10%). I was quite surprised about this. She never could keep her blood pressure under control really and none of the meds she took really worked. A few years before she died she finally found a DR who got really aggressive about getting it down and it did come down but he got her too late.
    I don't know if it makes much of a difference if the stroke is caused by a clogged artery or a hemorrage.
    She wasn't too good at improving her diet. Neither of parents in that respect.

    I could still improve some on my diet but I just haven't figured out how to completely cut out all fat. And believe me I've tried.
    I don't and can't eat alot of food. I found the more I walk the less hungry I get. I eat usually only two meals a day. Lunch and dinner. Lunch is cereal, sometimes a sandwich, dinner is salad or soup(veg kind) or beans with sandwich made of tomato, cucumber or some other veggie/fruit or combo. Most people think I'm odd making a veggie sandwich.
    My big weakness is subway. Mostly I eat veggie subs sometimes ham or turkey. Tuna is my other big weakness.

    My DR put me on a very restrictive diet of no meat, dairy, eggs, oil, butter, margarine, fish. Told me to eat nothing with cholesterol and very low fat. Less than 30 total fat grams per day with less than 25 total fat grams being better. I kept it at less than 20 for awhile and even got it down to less than 10 and was able to maintain that for a little bit. NOw I'm somewhere between 20 and 30 most days sometimes 35 if I'm bad.

    It's really hard sticking to a completely vegetarian diet. Recently my DR loosened up my diet and said I could have fish. Said pay attention to ratio of saturated fat compared to total fat and portions.

    I try very hard to watch what I'm eating. TRying to find a good middleground between completely vegan and occasionally not.

    You mentioned zocor being a weak statin. That's what they put my dad on and I hope it helps to improve his cholesterol.

     
    Old 01-01-2007, 08:05 AM   #8
    Lenin
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Quote:
    I don't know if it makes much of a difference if the stroke is caused by a clogged artery or a hemorrage.
    Yes it really does...the two processes are almost OPPOSITES and treatments are, or SHOULD be, vastly different. From the two heart attacks, I'm guessing the strong likelihood of your mother's 4 strokes (from age 57 to 67) were occlusive strokes just like the heart attacks, rather than hemmorhagic ones, even despite a clean carotid.

    If I were you with that catstrophic family history, and it really IS, I would ask my doctor for either Lipitor or Zocor (simvastatin.) I consider them both pretty strong statins. Remember from the outset that getting a doctor to prescribe MORE than you need will save LOTS of money. Thus an Rx for 30 Lipitor 20mg. easily becomes 60- 10mg. pills. Thirty day prescriptions of either dosage cost the same.

    A reasonable starting dose for you is either 10 mg. Lipitor or 20 mg. Zocor (simvastatin.)

    It sounds like that diet might be a bit hard for you, or ANYONE, over the next 40 years although a vegan diet that is very low in fat WILL do the trick.

    PLAN your pregnancy well and stop any statin at least a month before a planned conception. You cannot take statins while pregnant.

    Last edited by Lenin; 01-01-2007 at 08:08 AM.

     
    Old 01-01-2007, 09:46 AM   #9
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Your diet sounds terribly restrictive. I tried cutting fats and cholesterol and didn't see much effect. Cutting carbs worked for me. I'd add some of that fat and cholesterol back into your diet. Your body will make cholesterol anyway. Instead, limit things such as potatoes, bread, rice, cereal and anything made with flour and sugar. Since your CRP and your lipids look good now, I wouldn't worry so much. Do check out your homocysteine though.

     
    Old 01-02-2007, 12:03 AM   #10
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    i would worry more about the carbs instead of the fats. Most people ignore the Duke univ. tests on southbeach diet. They found that cholesterol still went down even eating saturated fat. Why do people think saturated fat is so terrible....because they have been told it is, just like they were told margarine is heart healthy (the old type with trans fats). Saturated fat is different than other fats. It is processed differently in the body. And, no, it does not instantly turn into plaque. Don't try so hard on your diet...just watch the carbs and sugars. I don't believe your doctor really understands fats and cholesterol...in fact i'm sure he doesn't. You doctor didn't want you to have fish???? Now i know he isn't that well educated.

     
    Old 01-02-2007, 09:10 AM   #11
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    Re: Cholesterol-When to start statins

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NHone
    i would worry more about the carbs instead of the fats. Most people ignore the Duke univ. tests on southbeach diet. They found that cholesterol still went down even eating saturated fat. Why do people think saturated fat is so terrible....because they have been told it is, just like they were told margarine is heart healthy (the old type with trans fats). Saturated fat is different than other fats. It is processed differently in the body. And, no, it does not instantly turn into plaque. Don't try so hard on your diet...just watch the carbs and sugars. I don't believe your doctor really understands fats and cholesterol...in fact i'm sure he doesn't. You doctor didn't want you to have fish???? Now i know he isn't that well educated.
    This implies that the South Beach Diet is high in saturated fat. It is not. South Beach stresses fruits (after the first 2 weeks) and vegetables, whole grains, carbs low on the glycemic index, LEAN protein, and dairy products are supposed to be fat free or reduced fat. Small amounts of olive oil and reduced fat mayo are allowed.

    While most people, including me, cannot follow one strictly or long-term, vegan or near vegan diets with 10% or less fat have been proven to reverse heart disease and reduce or eliminate any need for statin drugs.

     
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