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I don't want to take Statins. Advice please.

(243 Posts)
Macerena Wed 30-Aug-23 11:44:11

I recently had routine blood tests and my cholesterol is 7.5 The doctor has said I should take statins . I haven't heard good things about them. Also, she said once started I would have to take them for life. I am underweight and do quite a lot of exercise and have never had much of an appetite but because I had a major operation in March, and needed to regain some weight I have been eating doughnuts, chocolate, biscuits, butter on everything - you get the picture! The doctor has agreed that I could try to change diet and get a blood test in December. I am a bit of an "All or nothing" person and have cut out all but veg, fruit, nuts fish. Much eye rolling from daughter. So any advice or help from anyone who is on Statins would be great. Thank you.

Fleurpepper Sat 02-Sep-23 19:03:44

growstuff

Vintagewhine

GPs definitely don't get paid for writing a prescription, just like they don't get paid for prescribing statins. People spread such rubbish but it's damaging if patients think their GP is just trying to make money out of them instead of giving them something that may stop them becoming ill. It reminds me of all the rubbish that was posted about covid vaccines. Conspiracy theories spread by ill informed people!

Thank you for posting that Vintagewhine. I don't know why people persist in posting the nonsense. Yes, it is damaging - and dangerous.

This, strokes and deaths are the result- that could so easily be avoided.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 19:08:44

nightowl

Thank you for the guidelines growstuff, they are helpful. I’m amazed, I was never offered this type of consultation or any suggestion of it!

I'm surprised too. I did know that the new guidelines have proved controversial. Your weight and age presumably mean that even if your cholesterol is within the "normal" range that your risk of having a heart attack or stroke is more than 7.5%. I guess that's why the advice was given without a test.

However, if you had agreed to be prescribed statins, I think it would be ridiculous not to do a baseline test and another one in a few months. If you had experienced side effects, you would then have had all the information you need to make a rational decision.

I have routine blood (and other) tests every 6 or 12 months, so I'm very much in control of what various drugs are doing to my body, so I'm in a different situation from people who don't have that information.

RedRidingHood Sat 02-Sep-23 21:49:28

ruthie2

My doctor suggested statins without even knowing what my cholesterol was, as it hadn't been checked. It still hasn't, 2 years later. I don't believe in taking preventative medicines especially those which give you muscle pain as a side-effect.

They probably did a Qrisk score (risk of heart attack or stroke) . I had the same and because of other conditions my Qrisk was very high. Therefore even without high cholesterol statins reduce the risk. No muscle pain here. That's a myth that has been debunked.

colliemum Sun 03-Sep-23 11:20:14

RedRidingHood

ruthie2

My doctor suggested statins without even knowing what my cholesterol was, as it hadn't been checked. It still hasn't, 2 years later. I don't believe in taking preventative medicines especially those which give you muscle pain as a side-effect.

They probably did a Qrisk score (risk of heart attack or stroke) . I had the same and because of other conditions my Qrisk was very high. Therefore even without high cholesterol statins reduce the risk. No muscle pain here. That's a myth that has been debunked.

Potential statin side-effects are NOT a myth and haven't been debunked.

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statin-side-effects/art-20046013

foxie48 Sun 03-Sep-23 11:35:11

colliemum

RedRidingHood

ruthie2

My doctor suggested statins without even knowing what my cholesterol was, as it hadn't been checked. It still hasn't, 2 years later. I don't believe in taking preventative medicines especially those which give you muscle pain as a side-effect.

They probably did a Qrisk score (risk of heart attack or stroke) . I had the same and because of other conditions my Qrisk was very high. Therefore even without high cholesterol statins reduce the risk. No muscle pain here. That's a myth that has been debunked.

Potential statin side-effects are NOT a myth and haven't been debunked.

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statin-side-effects/art-20046013

A very balanced article and confirms what most on here have said or demonstrated, ie a few people will get serious side effects but the vast majority won't, so give them a try and if you get a side effect, tell your GP and he'll prescribe a different one. There are a very small % of people for whom they are unsuitable but most of us will be fine and have extra protection against strokes, heart attacks etc. Thanks for posting.

Primrose53 Sun 03-Sep-23 15:19:12

Some people get their livers ruined by statins and are never allowed on them again. Happened to an ex colleague.

Jaxjacky Sun 03-Sep-23 15:58:22

As have some people who take paracetamol Primrose53.

Marydoll Sun 03-Sep-23 16:08:35

I thought part of the protocol for taking statins was a liver function test and a risk assessment, prior to starting them.

Many drugs affect your liver function as does alcohol.
The biologics I am on are toxic, amd my liver is checked on a regular basis. It's a matter of looking at the disadvantages and advantages, then making your decision.

Hearing that some people suffer liver damage after taking them, would not impact on my decision.
I prefer hard evidence, rather than anacdotal.

Primrose53 Sun 03-Sep-23 19:54:06

Marydoll

I thought part of the protocol for taking statins was a liver function test and a risk assessment, prior to starting them.

Many drugs affect your liver function as does alcohol.
The biologics I am on are toxic, amd my liver is checked on a regular basis. It's a matter of looking at the disadvantages and advantages, then making your decision.

Hearing that some people suffer liver damage after taking them, would not impact on my decision.
I prefer hard evidence, rather than anacdotal.

yes it is part of it. That is how the person I know discovered statins damaged her liver and over a very short time too.

Marydoll Sun 03-Sep-23 20:19:32

I am curious to know what factors can increase the risk in patients, e.g genetics, medication, alcohol consumption, diet or just plain bad luck.
I suppose you cannot cover all bases. I have had a number of serious reactions to new medications, which have landed me in hospital.
These were well know drugs, which were not known to have serious side effects. Sometimes, I think it's the luck of the draw.

Farmor15 Sun 03-Sep-23 20:34:25

Apart from heart disease, there is some evidence that taking statins may reduce risk of developing dementia. This information may help someone trying to decide whether to take statins.
www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/risk-factors-and-prevention/cholesterol-and-dementia

I've been taking a statin for over 10 years now with no side effects.

growstuff Mon 04-Sep-23 07:07:54

Marydoll

I am curious to know what factors can increase the risk in patients, e.g genetics, medication, alcohol consumption, diet or just plain bad luck.
I suppose you cannot cover all bases. I have had a number of serious reactions to new medications, which have landed me in hospital.
These were well know drugs, which were not known to have serious side effects. Sometimes, I think it's the luck of the draw.

I don't know the answer. I suspect our personal DNA has something to do with it. DNA certainly affects our susceptibility to high cholesterol.

Off topic slightly I know, but I'm not unfamiliar with side effects. I was prescribed letrozole after my breast cancer surgery last year. I know that many women take it with no problems, but I started experiencing symptoms like a turbo-charged menopause and my hair starting falling out. The oncologist's advice was to have a break and start again when it had cleared from my system.

Unfortunately, the side effects started again. I have to take letrozole for five years. I worked out that at my age, I can probably expect to live for another 20 years and I didn't want to feel like I did for a quarter of that time, even though I accepted that the medication reduced my chance of a breast cancer recurrence.

It was a difficult decision to make, but it was personal to me. I decided that I wasn't going to continue. Fortunately, I was offered an alternative, which works slightly differently and doesn't appear to cause any problems.

The point I'm trying to make is that everybody needs to make the decision which is right for him/her and accept that there will be pros and cons. IMO people shouldn't listen to anecdotes and scare stories (especially from quacks who sell books and alternative therapies) but try medication out before rejecting it. In the case of statins, the overwhelming evidence is that they help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, especially for people with other risk factors. Nevertheless, they do cause problems for some people, who need to balance the side effects against benefits.

growstuff Mon 04-Sep-23 07:32:25

colliemum

RedRidingHood

ruthie2

My doctor suggested statins without even knowing what my cholesterol was, as it hadn't been checked. It still hasn't, 2 years later. I don't believe in taking preventative medicines especially those which give you muscle pain as a side-effect.

They probably did a Qrisk score (risk of heart attack or stroke) . I had the same and because of other conditions my Qrisk was very high. Therefore even without high cholesterol statins reduce the risk. No muscle pain here. That's a myth that has been debunked.

Potential statin side-effects are NOT a myth and haven't been debunked.

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statin-side-effects/art-20046013

I agree that it's not a myth that some people experience side effects, but it is a myth that most people experience them.

M0nica Mon 04-Sep-23 09:22:16

They probably did a Qrisk score (risk of heart attack or stroke) . I had the same and because of other conditions my Qrisk was very high.

Always get the doctor to calculate your Qrisk for if you take statins and if you do not.

In some cases, mine was one, despite high cholesterol the two risk levels were very close together, so there was little to gain by taking statins, so I didn't.

However when a change in my health increased the risk I didn't hesitate to start taking them.

I can see little point in cutting off your nose to spite your face. Like growstuff my reaction s to drugs can be very variable, so I am careful whenever I need to take new medications, but blanket bans on drug groups ar foolish

Molly10 Sat 09-Sep-23 12:24:37

growstuff

cangran

Vintagegirl

Sorry I have not read thru all replies... I also have always had high level up to 7.8 But this figure needs to be broken down into the LDL and HDL amounts and then a ratio worked out between the two to get a better figure. When I queried this, it seemed I had the healthiest rate in the practice. I would refer you to a book called The Cholesterol Myth tho not sure if still in print?

I've always thought that it was the proportions of LDL ('Good') and HDL ('Bad') rather than the overall figure in a cholesterol test (which can be high without being a problem) is what's important but it sounds from many replies that these figures aren't always looked at unless you are aware of them and ask the doctor. Having said that, I can't remember what those proportions are and whether this changes with age and other factors. Can anyone shed more light on this please?

You're right. It's the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL which is important. Divide total cholesterol by HDL. Any result over 4.5 is considered high risk.

The other figure which is important is the triglyceride level, which should be below 1.7 for women.

LDL is bad HDL is the good not as stated here.

Decisions whether to take statins should be informed and personal to the individuals circumstances.

Aldom Sat 09-Sep-23 12:33:27

LDL think (lousy) HDL think (Happy)
makes it easier to remember. smile

Northernlass Mon 11-Sep-23 10:38:16

Macarena
I've just re-joined this thread having been away. It's mind-boggling. I wondered if you've made a decsision about taking statins yet?