Anyone been advised to reduce their cholesterol?

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  • Anyone been advised to reduce their cholesterol?
  • IHN
    Member

    Just had a health check wotsit at the local pharmacists, as part of my life assurance policy with Vitality, and my cholesterol reading has come out on the high side. This is the third time I’ve been advised that it’s a bit high, so I should probably do something about it (they actually advised that I should see my GP).

    For those that understand these things, the readings were:

    Total: 6.23mmol/L
    HDL: 1.05mmol/L
    Tot/HDL Ratio : 5.93

    Last time I had it done (late April) the total reading was 5.26mmol/L, there wasn’t a HDL reading.

    Anyone else been in the same boat? What did you do? Did it work?

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Yeah, me. I’m on statins. But that’s cos of my TIA, so probably not very helpful 😀
    (my cholesterol was already low)

    trumpton
    Member

    Yeah, mine was too high. I swapped semi skimmed milk for skimmed ( which I drink alot of ) stopped eating cheese, changing to zero fat yogarts and stopped all junk food except the odd home cooked pizza. This reduced it to below average. Fatty diary products should be cut out.

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    eat more walnuts. helped to reduce mine

    IHN
    Member

    I swapped semi skimmed milk for skimmed ( which I drink alot of ) stopped eating cheese, changing to zero fat yogarts and stopped all junk food except the odd home cooked pizza. This reduced it to below average. Fatty diary products should be cut out.

    This is the thing, I don’t think I eat much of the ‘obvious’ stuff. I have semi-skimmed milk in tea, maybe three cups a day, so a tiny bit of milk. Only other dairy is cheese, maybe three or four cheese sandwiches (or equivalent’s worth) a week. Junk stuff, yeah, a bit, not loads but I could eat less of it I suppose.

    I don’t eat a huge amount of meat (we’re actively trying to eat less), I’m not overweight, I get a reasonable amount of exercise (hitting 12.5k steps most days).

    And I don’t really like walnuts 🙁

    cheekyboy
    Member

    eat more walnuts. helped to reduce mine

    I thought it was Brazil nuts ? Or is it most nuts, partial to the odd sack of almonds.

    Gunz
    Member

    Mine has started to nudge upwards and like yourself I feel I have a reasonably good lifestyle. My Dr said that it can also just run in the family.
    Also, walking isn’t exercise.

    footflaps
    Member

    Mine is / was

    Triglycerides 1.1 mmol/L
    HDL 1.2 mmol/L
    non HDL 4.0 mmol/L
    Cholesterol 5.2 mmol/L
    Toatal/HDL Ratio 4.33

    which is a little high apparently. GP said should try and reduce it, not actually sure how though….

    johnners
    Member

    Also, walking isn’t exercise.

    You are incorrect.

    P-Jay
    Member

    Yeah, they gave me statins but I stupidly didn’t like to take them.

    Cut out dairy (gives me IBS anyway) dropped 90% of red meat from my diet, dropped about 2 stone – jobbed.

    Nig E5
    Member

    Yes same here, now on the following Flax seeds (ground), almonds, walnuts, benecol, and on 10mg of Statins per day. Starting low as can always increase.
    I eat fairly healthy, and not over weight.
    Got a reveiw in 6 months.
    And as much cycling as possible.
    Vitality got me £150 off my Garmin 1030

    footflaps
    Member

    Vitality got me £150 off my Garmin 1030

    I couldn’t get their referral discount thing to work when I bought some Polar kit. Found it online at pretty much the same price though (Halfords of all places).

    footflaps
    Member

    Also, walking isn’t exercise.

    You are incorrect.

    Just about everybody now recommends approx 10k steps a day, which bizarrely enough I manage as a desk jockey, which quite surprised me. All those walks to the kitchen / loo must add up….

    IHN
    Member

    Also, walking isn’t exercise.

    Oh, really?

    You are incorrect.

    I agree, especially a brisk half-hour walk, with 5kg+ of laptop and paraphernalia in a bag, twice a day.

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    Cholesterol 4.7

    Triglyceride 1.16

    HDL 1.45

    LDL 2.72

    On statins since Feb. GP didn’t mention reducing these figures so I guess the statins were prescribed almost automatically.

    Premier Icon madmechanist
    Subscriber

    I can’t claim for high colestrol(don’t actually know mine..

    But a well regulated diet, plenty of excerise and disciplined consideration to what is healthy goes a long way..

    I just about a year ago set a ‘very strict’ sleeping routine, adjusted when I eat and what I eat plus a bit of vigerous excersize 50-60mins on a 20kg bike is ample on a day to day..

    Have family with slightly high cholesterol and dairy is definitely not going to help you…but if its not going up or fluctuating or giving you other problems is there an issue?

    footflaps
    Member

    but if its not going up or fluctuating or giving you other problems is there an issue?

    Furring up your arteries…

    avdave2
    Member

    Just about everybody now recommends approx 10k steps a day

    Falls into the same category as five a day. What do we think people might accept as a target not what do people actually need to do.

    Currently eating salad for lunch which contains nuts and more veg than I can count and going to spend 2 hours on the turbo as soon as I finish work `:-)

    footflaps
    Member

    Falls into the same category as five a day. What do we think people might accept as a target not what do people actually need to do.

    And in the same way that eating 5 a day is better than eating no veg, I suspect walking 10k steps is better than doing no exercise. Sure, it might not be optimal / perfect, but better than nothing….

    longdog
    Member

    As far as I’m aware the dietary fat causing high cholesterol link has kind of be debunked for most unless you have a specific condition. The liver produces something like 80% of the cholesterol the body uses regardless of diet. If you don’t eat enough it makes is as its needed for cell building.

    Google someone like Ivor Cummings (amongst others) for some understandable discussion about fat, glucose, insulin and CAD.

    Some with low cholesterol get arterial/heart issues, some with high don’t at all. I had a total cholesterol of (I think) 5.4. Had a calcium scoring test and angiogram scan recently and got a score of zero and told no signs of CAD at all. I’m 49.

    As you might guess I’m sold on the high glucose and insulin is the issue, not good fats.

    poolman
    Member

    I just got my blood test back and had a chat with the doctor about it.

    Hdl 2.37 mmol and stable, good diet and loads of exercise.
    Ldl 2.48

    So high hdl which is the good one, low ldl which is the bad one.

    Tot cholesterol 5.25

    The reason why total colesterol does not equal hdl and ldl is vldl, which people are undecided whether it is good or bad, so not reported.

    My doc always says look at your results in totality, ie, weight, height, lifestyle, bloods…family history.

    Good luck

    avdave2
    Member

    Sure, it might not be optimal / perfect, but better than nothing….

    Agree totally but at least be honest with people and let them make decisions based on the best information available.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    Currently eating salad for lunch which contains nuts and more veg than I can count and going to spend 2 hours on the turbo as soon as I finish work `:-)

    Don’t forget to polish your halo, as well. 😁

    footflaps
    Member

    Agree totally but at least be honest with people and let them make decisions based on the best information available.

    I would guess there is a good reason for this. If you set the bar too high it just discourages people and they do nothing. In sports coaching you’re supposed to keep raising the bar to achievable targets rather than on day 1 day talk about running a 4 min mile to someone with a BMI of 35..

    avdave2
    Member

    Don’t forget to polish your halo, as well. 😁

    If you saw what I had for breakfast and what I’ll eat later you’d realise I don’t have a halo, I,m the guy in the big chair appointing the angels :-)

    I understand about not setting the bar too high to begin with but in this case the bar will never be raised. The message should be this is a minimum that will start to make a difference and from there you can go on to make bigger changes and greater improvements. I don’t want to discourage anyone from making a start but neither do I think you hang a medal round their neck for winning a marathon when they’ve run a mile

    footflaps
    Member

    I understand about not setting the bar too high to begin with but in this case the bar will never be raised.

    I think you’re over estimating many people’s levels of exercise. From reading coaching blogs / guides lots of PTs start with 2-3k steps a day and then try and work upwards once clients can achieve that. I suspect most people never hit 10k/day.

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Subscriber

    Furring up your arteries…

    High cholesterol runs in the family, 57yo sister was advised to go on statins but had a scan instead – no furring of arteries found, so didn’t bother with statins.

    tjagain
    Member

    My gp wanted me to take statins based on an assessment tool which uses among other things cholesterol levels.

    Having looked into it further I realised that the assessment tool takes no account of a number of significant factors which affect risk where my risk is very low ie it took no account of the fact I exercise which reduces yourt cardivascular risk and that I have low BP.

    I didn’t take the statins, I haven’t checked my marginally “high” cholesterol since. Probably should do so again.

    There is a lot of debate around cholesterol levels and statins. Clearly they are life savers in high risk groups but around those of us that are marginal? Other factors as much as cholesterol level need to be included

    As above – there is also a debate about the role of dietary fat intake and cholesterol. Its probably now more accepted that dietary intake plays little part

    Be aware – a lot of junk science out there on this topic especially on the anti statin side.

    konagirl
    Member

    OP, read the NHS website to give you an idea of what levels will flag up, you are on the boundary: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-cholesterol/cholesterol-levels/

    If you’ve only done tests at a pharmacy, it is worthwhile seeing your GP to have more in-depth tests that include fasting before hand and potentially genetic testing. If you have familial hypercholesterolemia (i.e. it is genetic) you may need to take medication to get the LDL down (because your body is creating too much of it), but it can’t harm to change your diet. It is very useful to have a diagnosis of familial, because then you can have immediate family & children checked and if they have the condition they can do something about it before it starts affecting them.

    Cut out dairy fats all together, reduce all other fats and each oat porridge every morning for a month and see what difference it makes.

    Some [people] with low cholesterol get arterial/heart issues, some with high don’t at all.

    Some people who don’t smoke die of lung cancer, some people who smoked all their lives don’t develop lung cancer and die of something completely different. Because lung cancer isn’t only caused by smoking. Heart disease is not solely controlled by cholesterol. You are missing the point about statistics done on large data sets, which go on to inform research into the processes that cause fatalities (cancer or stroke or heat disease or whatever). Cholesterol levels, and particularly the ratio between HDL and LDL, *is* a useful indicator (statistically significant across a population) about risk. That doesn’t mean medical science isn’t improving its understanding of the link between cholesterol and stroke and other factors, but it is still sensible to follow the best advice based on the state of the art science. IMO.

    DrJ
    Member

    Seems like it’s largely luck – my MIL eats like a sparrow. No dairy. No meat. Fish veg fruit. Cholesterol through the roof. My dad eats like a hog. Full fat everything. Fit as a flea (cholesterol anyway).

    avdave2
    Member

    Seems like it’s largely luck

    You can’t change the hand life has dealt you but you have a lot of choice of how you play it.

    People always like to bring up Jim Fixx, “the man who invented jogging” and point out he dies at 52 from a heart attack while running. They don’t seem to know though that his father had died from a heart attack at the age of 43. You are only competing against yourself, it’s not a game in which you are trying to outlive someone else.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    Been on statins and aspirin for a month, LDL was 3.2 but some tests and an angiogram showed some heart disease, at age 53. The plan is to bring the LDL to around 1.8 which should stop the progression and hopefully lead to some reversal..

    Premier Icon bigdean
    Subscriber

    Yeah, me. I’m on statins. But that’s cos of my TIA, so probably not very helpful 😀
    (my cholesterol was already low)

    Yeah me too, was already low really tried to lower it and the GP just gave me statins.

    trumpton
    Member

    If it runs in families ( or you measured high ) you may well need Statins regardless of your health and diet as I understand things.

    shermer75
    Member

    I always thought that LDL was the important number?

    I went from:
    Total: 6.9
    HDL: 1.0
    LDL: 4.7
    BMI 24.6 (163 lbs)

    to
    Total: 4.8
    HDL: 1.1
    LDL: 3.0
    BMI 22.8 (151 lbs)
    in 3 months.
    No medical symptoms when I had the test. Reduced the cholesterol by trying to completely cut out saturated fat and generally keeping a close eye on calories. Also by using plant sterol stuff (ie Benecol spread rather than butter.) So food intake for me was pretty significant. TBH my high result was a surprise being both vegetarian and pretty active. (8-10,000 mile a year cycling + other stuff) But that did mean that up until then I hadn’t really twigged how many unhealthy snacks etc I allowed myself because I was apparently fit and a decent weight. The low HDL implies that there is a genetic component to the scores. In the end the strictness of the diet wore me down & I decided it was easier to try statins, which seem to do the job. Still keep an eye on the saturated fats.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    WHen i was chatting with cardiologist, he reckoned that statins could almost half my LDL from 3.2 to around 1.8 and strict diet control could take another 10% off that.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    As I understand it, sugary shit (processed carbs) drives LDL cholesterol much more than fats do

    … and statins are probably protective in ways beyond “just” reducing cholesterol

    Premier Icon rone
    Subscriber

    Anyone else been in the same boat? What did you do? Did it work?

    Yeah mine was around ten bad boys.

    I lowered it by just eating Brazil nuts. It’s in the book “how not to die.”

    Lowered it by about 20% in no time. But not much more.

    Don’t get hung up on it though.

    As long as the rest of your health is in check, then you don’t have much worry about.

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