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  • Need advice - Cholesterol at 275 for over a year

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    Old 01-01-2007, 12:05 PM   #1
    Wiseman's Avatar
    Join Date: Jan 2007
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    Need advice - Cholesterol at 275 for over a year

    Hi folks,

    I am new to this list, and still reading the various postings. I thought I would post my situation, and solicit your advice.

    I am a healthy 33 year old male. Up until 3 years ago, I was also fairly fit. However, since my children have been born, my level of fitness has gone down and I have gained about 10-20 lb in fat (and lost some muscle in the process).

    A year ago I had 2 blood tests done that returned with alarming results:
    Total Cholesterol - 254 & 275
    HDL - 36 & 39
    LDL (calculated) - 196
    Triglycerides - 305 & 182

    I declined my Doctor's recommendation to go on medication, choosing instead to modify my diet a bit (cutting out fatty foods), cut stress (quit my high-powered job), and drink more red wine. I should mention that my family has a history of cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. I don't suffer from the latter two.

    I just had another test done, and my results are virtually unchanged:
    Total Cholesterol - 275
    HDL - 38
    LDL (calculated) - 195
    Triglycerides - 192

    My doctor now recommends going on a statin med (simaustatin - 20 mg a day) for a year, and then re-examining if my cholesterol can be controled only by diet and exercise.

    I am open to advice:
    1. Regarding drugs (I live in Israel, so I am somewhat limited)
    2. Dietary recommendations.


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    Old 01-01-2007, 02:47 PM   #2
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    Re: Need advice - Cholesterol at 275 for over a year

    IMHO, you really don't need a statin. You should be reducing carbs in your diet as low as possible and replacing them with fat. That will reduce your triglycerides and increase your HDL. And, most important, you should be getting lots of exercise. It will have a beneficial effect on your lipid profile. And, even more importantly, the improved insulin sensitivity will protect you from diabetes and heart disease. Your family history makes this especially important. Muscle building resistance exercise is the most effective type of exercise for improving insulin sensitivity.

    Type 1 since 1977. On Lantus, Novorapid and Actrapid.

    Old 01-01-2007, 03:29 PM   #3
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    Re: Need advice - Cholesterol at 275 for over a year

    Although you are young, your numbers combined with your other risk factors are alarming (especially the low HDL; your recent triglycerides aren't too bad but that old 300+ number sure was). You may not have diabetes and HBP now, but you are on your way.

    To suggest that someone with your family history should add fats is dangerous, unless the fats are moderate amounts of monounsaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil. It is true that reducing carbs will help, but only if they are the "white" carbs like sugar and white flour. Eating "good carbs" like whole grain foods, fruits, and veggies is fine. Reduce the animal products in your diet and get as close as possible to a plant based diet. (The extreme ones like Ornish and McDougall are hard to stick to long-term unless you have other motivations for not eating animal products, but they have been proven to reverse heart disease and my opinion is that the closer we can get to eating that way the better. Even if you can only follow their plan a day or two (or a few meals) a week, you will be better off, in my opinion.

    Exercise is also important. Lose those 20 lbs. Get a handle on the weight gain as soon as possible...unchecked, you are likely to continue to gain as you get older.

    That said, simvastatin is a good statin med to start with at the dosage your doctor has suggested. You'll have to decide for yourself whether you want to start medication at your age, but if you've made an honest attempt at diet and exercise and there has been no significant change, with your family history, especially if there is also heart disease, you may want to consider it. Given your age, you might want to put it off another 3 to 6 mos and really give a stonger diet/exercise/weight loss plan a try.

    You might also want to discuss niacin (the B vitamin) with your doctor; it can help the HDL which the statins usually don't do much for. But it does have side effects that some people cannot tolerate.

    I'm providing this input as someone who had a doctor who didn't think that numbers somewhat lower than yours - I've never had a total TC reading above 240 in my life, but did have low HDL and high triglycerides - were anything to be concerned about as I was "young" and female. He was wrong; I had to have a stent placed due to a 99% blockage at age 53. Stress, family history, overweight, lack of exercise, and low HDL were my primary risk factors.

    Old 01-01-2007, 06:49 PM   #4
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    Re: Need advice - Cholesterol at 275 for over a year


    I was in your place two years ago, my cholesterol numbers were out of line. My doctor also started me on Simvastatin, which is the generic for Zocor, a very good statin drug. In your case, your LDL is way too high and you HDL is a little low. Your LDL should be under 130 and your HDL should be over 40. LDL is the fat that tends to cause fatty deposits in your arteries and HDL is a binding agent that takes the LDL back to your liver to be processed.

    Within 6 months my total cholesterol went from 245 to 165 with a LDL of 51 and and HDL of 43, but my trig's stayed high but are coming down. You need to understand that Simvastatin does not normally work on lowering you trig's and when your trig's are high your HDL tends to be too low. I just swiched to Tricor for 90 days which is not a statin, it is a fibrate. It has a better effect lowering you trig's and raising your HDL. It works by binding with fat in your digestive system rather than a statin which does the same thing in your blood. My doctor wanted to give this a shot as my LDL is fine at 51. You can impact you trig's better with diet and exercise. Doing what Connie suggested would be a great way to get those numbers in line. I have changed my diet and been much more physically active as she has outlined which I feel has helped considerably. I'm only off the statins because my trig's are not coming down quickly enough after two years. I also never experienced any side effects with the statins, many people do.

    Good Luck,


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