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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.

M0nica Wed 30-Aug-23 17:11:31

I did the research and did the maths and did not take statins until I had a mini stroke. Faced with a high possibility of a full stroke if I didn't take them. I now take them.

Sometimes the choice is between what you really want to do and what is in your best interests. I will always go for what is in my best interests.

MerylStreep Wed 30-Aug-23 17:13:10

Primrose53

PS My cholesterol was higher than yours.

Mine hasn’t been under 9 for over 10 years. Every doctor I’ve seen has tried to persuade me take them. All have failed.

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 17:17:28

MerylStreep

Primrose53

PS My cholesterol was higher than yours.

Mine hasn’t been under 9 for over 10 years. Every doctor I’ve seen has tried to persuade me take them. All have failed.

That's your choice, but the doctors would be failing in their duty of care if they didn't give you the advice.

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 17:20:41

Primrose53

Puts tin hat on!!🤣

Never taken them and never will. I hate the things. 20 years ago I was advised to take them by GP but I said I would go home and do my own research. I saw my Dad deteriorate just weeks after starting them, countless elderly people I worked with and I didn’t like what I was reading.

20 years on I have no problems whatsoever and recently did a health check and my risk of having a heart attack or stroke was only 10% so I am happy with that. As my old neighbour used to say (who tried 3 different types of statin all of which made her very poorly) “ I would rather have high cholesterol and feel well than be on these things, feeling so ill that I can’t do anything or enjoy my life.”

It’s your body and your choice but I would say cut out all that junk you have been filling up on and you may find it will come down anyway.

If your risk of having a heart attack or stroke is only 10% (presumably because you don't have other risk factors), I'd be surprised if you were advised to take statins. 10% is considered normal.

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 17:24:17

Primrose53

Grantanow

There's a lot of loony nonsense talked about statins. Millions of people take them every day and so do I with no ill effects whatsoever.

It’s not “loony nonsense” if you feel so poorly you can’t get out of bed in the morning or your joints and muscles ache like mad when they never did before. It’s also very worrying if you start forgetting things and are easily confused shortly after starting statins.

No, it's not loony nonsense, if you really feel that poorly, but is loony nonsense to claim that the majority of people taking statins feel like that and that they don't have beneficial effects. It's also loony nonsense to claim that GPs get paid to prescribe them or receive some kind of back-hander from the pharma companies.

Primrose53 Wed 30-Aug-23 17:30:28

I don’t smoke, I barely drink, I have excellent BP but I have gained weight in recent years. I have no replacement knees, hips, hearing aids, no mobility problems.

I consider myself healthy for my age and am pleased that I have spent the last 20 years NOT being on statins and worrying about heart attacks and strokes or the side effects of statins. I don’t even take a paracetamol unless I really have to.

Primrose53 Wed 30-Aug-23 17:38:18

growstuff

Primrose53

Grantanow

There's a lot of loony nonsense talked about statins. Millions of people take them every day and so do I with no ill effects whatsoever.

It’s not “loony nonsense” if you feel so poorly you can’t get out of bed in the morning or your joints and muscles ache like mad when they never did before. It’s also very worrying if you start forgetting things and are easily confused shortly after starting statins.

No, it's not loony nonsense, if you really feel that poorly, but is loony nonsense to claim that the majority of people taking statins feel like that and that they don't have beneficial effects. It's also loony nonsense to claim that GPs get paid to prescribe them or receive some kind of back-hander from the pharma companies.

I have not claimed that the majority of people on statins “feel like that”.

Neither have I said on this thread what you suggest in your last para.

All I will say to you is QOF points. 😉

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 17:44:19

I don't smoke or drink alcohol and have excellent BP. I'm not and never have been overweight. I don't have any replacement bits either. I hardly ever eat processed food.

Nevertheless, I had high cholesterol and stubbornly refused to take statins. I then had a heart attack (cause unknown) and was advised to take statins, which I have done for six years.

I changed from the first one I was prescribed, my cholesterol has reduced and my risk of having another heart attack or a stroke is still above normal, but has reduced considerably. The risk can never be normal because I'm diabetic.

Who knows whether I'll still be one of the unlucky ones? I don't have a crystal ball, but I'm happy to follow any advice which reduces the risk. Statins are one of the most researched drugs on the planet and the evidence is quite clear that they do reduce risk for most people and I'm happy with that.

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 17:45:47

Primrose53

growstuff

Primrose53

Grantanow

There's a lot of loony nonsense talked about statins. Millions of people take them every day and so do I with no ill effects whatsoever.

It’s not “loony nonsense” if you feel so poorly you can’t get out of bed in the morning or your joints and muscles ache like mad when they never did before. It’s also very worrying if you start forgetting things and are easily confused shortly after starting statins.

No, it's not loony nonsense, if you really feel that poorly, but is loony nonsense to claim that the majority of people taking statins feel like that and that they don't have beneficial effects. It's also loony nonsense to claim that GPs get paid to prescribe them or receive some kind of back-hander from the pharma companies.

I have not claimed that the majority of people on statins “feel like that”.

Neither have I said on this thread what you suggest in your last para.

All I will say to you is QOF points. 😉

I didn't claim that you claimed that, but there certainly is a load of loony nonsense about statins on the web.

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 17:51:56

PS. I know how QOF points work. GPs don't get paid for prescribing statins.

lemsip Wed 30-Aug-23 19:00:31

my mother went to bed one night and didn't wake up in the morning......an autopsy showed arteriosclerosis and left ventrical failure....... her arteries were blocked by cholesterol which caused a clot in left side of heart. no statins back then. she was 69.

I am happy to take my 20mg of simvastatin.

If there's too much cholesterol in the blood, the cholesterol and other substances may form deposits (plaques) that collect on artery walls. Plaques can cause an artery to become narrowed or blocked. If a plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form.

silversurf Wed 30-Aug-23 19:13:20

Took statins for a couple of years until joint pains and cramps became unbearable.
Went to my GP and said I wanted to stop taking them. He was OK with that but asked me to take a low dosage asprin a day.
Been doing that since, no problems.
, but I haven’t had a cholesterol test since.

2mason16 Wed 30-Aug-23 19:20:00

My doctor advised taking statins as I had a 7.5 cholesterol reading., and high blood pressure. I've just been checked after 3 month's of taking the medication. My cholesterol is now 4.2 and feel fine. As a friend who is a nurse said "I'd rather have a pill than a stroke"!

crazyH Wed 30-Aug-23 19:36:40

10 years ago, a locum GP started me on statins. Within a day, my feet started swelling. When I mentioned it she advised me to stop. I take BP medication now, but no statins.

Marydoll Wed 30-Aug-23 19:47:21

Sometimes, It's a matter of the lesser of two evils. Another heart attack would probably be fatal for me, so statins it is. I have never had any side effects, so I am fortunate.
I inject biologics, which do have severe side effects, that again is the lesser of two evils. A rock and a hard place comes to mind.

No two patients are the same and I believe we should make our own decisions and with our clinicians decide what is appropriate. I will do anything to maintain a some quality of life.

saltnshake Wed 30-Aug-23 19:50:54

I can't take statins. I have tried so many different ones. The doctor now prescribes Ezetimbe to help lower my cholesterol. It works in a different way to statins. It is worth asking your GP about it. My cardiologist quite happy with me taking it instead of statins.

Primrose53 Wed 30-Aug-23 20:01:28

growstuff

PS. I know how QOF points work. GPs don't get paid for prescribing statins.

growstuff I wasn’t going to mention GPs increasing their income but you raised it so I am responding.

managementinpractice.com/practice-intelligence/qof-2023-24-what-practices-need-to-consider-to-gain-maximum-income/

This is actually telling practices all they need to know to maximise their income.

I hope this explains what I mean and what has been going on for years but not everybody knows about it. QOF points are awarded for various treatments and treating high cholesterol is one of them. The points are awarded to the Practice and this is then converted into income which can be considerable so is it any wonder that more and more people are being put on statins?

I don’t have a crystal ball either but having spent 20 years not taking statins as advised, I plan to carry on as I am.

Skye17 Wed 30-Aug-23 20:05:58

Macerena

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.

It sounds like all you need to do is change your diet.

I agree with the PP who suggested a Mediterranean diet and healthy fats to gain weight. I can recommend Grace coconut milk (the cartons not the tins). When put in the fridge it becomes semi-solid like thick cream and is lovely just eaten off the spoon.

One doctor’s view of statins:

//Because statins interfere with antioxidant defences and energy supply they may be contributing to the epidemic of Alzheimer's disease we are now seeing.//
www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Cholesterol_-_the_whys_and_wherefores#The_Problem_with_Statins

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 20:19:55

Primrose53

growstuff

PS. I know how QOF points work. GPs don't get paid for prescribing statins.

growstuff I wasn’t going to mention GPs increasing their income but you raised it so I am responding.

managementinpractice.com/practice-intelligence/qof-2023-24-what-practices-need-to-consider-to-gain-maximum-income/

This is actually telling practices all they need to know to maximise their income.

I hope this explains what I mean and what has been going on for years but not everybody knows about it. QOF points are awarded for various treatments and treating high cholesterol is one of them. The points are awarded to the Practice and this is then converted into income which can be considerable so is it any wonder that more and more people are being put on statins?

I don’t have a crystal ball either but having spent 20 years not taking statins as advised, I plan to carry on as I am.

I know about that, but GPs don't get paid for prescribing statins. They get paid for reducing cholesterol levels. There's a difference! If a patient can reduce cholesterol levels without taking statins, the record will still be included in the GP's records and he/she will be paid if the targets have been reached.

Most GPs think that prescribing statins is the best way to reduce cholesterol, which is why they do it. They would be failing as GPs if they ignored high readings and didn't advise patients how it can be done. Patients don't have to follow the advice and that will be recorded too. If you have access to your Patient Summary, have a look. Before my heart attack, it's been recorded that I was advised to take statins, but refused and it's been recorded. As a result, the GP is allowed to exclude me from the records submitted for QOF targets.

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 20:26:07

Primrose53 You have a free choice not to take statins - that's entirely up to you. The OP asked for other people's experience, so other people and I have given ours. The internet is full of loony scare stories about statins and I don't think anybody is denying that they can cause serious problems for some people, but there thousands of research articles about the benefits of statins (and the side effects). Nearly all of them have concluded that the benefits outweigh the side effects for most people. No drug is a magic panacea and all will cause problems for some people. Statins are so widely prescribed that it's no wonder that they've generated so many scare stories.

growstuff Wed 30-Aug-23 20:31:45

Sky17 That is just one doctor's view - there are others.

However, I do agree with him that fat isn't the bad guy it's traditionally seen to be and there needs to be much more research on the effects of carbohydrates.

Every patient is free to decline any medication or treatment. All I've done is give my own experience, which is that I'm happy to take statins, after reading loads of peer-reviewed articles about them.

buffyfly9 Wed 30-Aug-23 20:32:49

I'm with you Primrose!! I am overweight (love my food) but I consider we eat healthily. We have lots of fruit and veg, we grow our own in the summer, I make yoghurt and wholemeal bread. I grow microherbs on my windowsill and add them to sandwiches and salads. I have a G&T every night and a packet of crisps. I am 78, my cholesterol is 6 although I'm told my "good" cholesterol is fine. I don't take statins, BP medication, have never had HRT and I have to be really bad to take one Paracetamol. I went to A&E recently (hernia) and was asked numerous times by numerous medics what medication I was on. I have taken Thyroxine every day for underactive thyroid for the past 39 years and that is it. Every doctor I saw looked totally perplexed that I was not taking a variety of drugs. I speak as an ex surgery practice manager and I can tell you that it is a lot easier to stick patients on drugs than spend quality time discussing diet, stress etc, GP's just don't have the time. I consider myself healthy and very lucky indeed to not have conditions that require a lot of medication. Our bodies make cholesterol naturally and we need a certain level of it. There is a pressure to medicate the "worried well" but I don't intend to be one of them unless it is imperative.

M0nica Thu 31-Aug-23 07:52:17

*buffyfly& I have always eaten well and sensibly, the result of a bowel problem as a child. I have always been active, within all the accepted weight limits and generally very healthy. My consumption of UPFs has always been low because I have been suspiccious of them for decades. My blood pressure was low. The only thing I have is high cholesterol.

I am 80 and until a few months ago was medication free and rarely saw a doctor. Then at the beginning of this year I had a small stroke, a TIA. I was scanned and checked and none of the scans really explained my stroke as my arteries were generally very clear for someone of my age and everything was working
very well.

The moral of my story is do not be too self congratulatory. Once you reach your late 70s-80s, no matter how well you have looked after yourself, no matter how healthy you are, things can and do go wrong.

I do not regret not taking statins when first offered them, there were no indicastions they would do me much good, and the scans I had after my TIA showed that high cholestrol for some years had not done me any obvious harm. But now I have had a TIA, I am taking them. It is clearly proven that for people in my new health situation have fewer further strokes and they are less severe and thir lifespan and life quality is enhanced.

Never paint yourself into a corner and let your health hubris be the death of you.

Marydoll Thu 31-Aug-23 08:26:58

The moral of my story is do not be too self congratulatory. Once you reach your late 70s-80s, no matter how well you have looked after yourself, no matter how healthy you are, things can and do go wrong..
I agree wholeheartedly, Monica.

A healthy diet and lifestyle, low chlorestoral, clear arteries and no leaky valves, did not prevent my two heart attacks.
I was admitted to hospital with an allergic reaction to an RA drug.
I got such a shock, when I was told I had had a heart attack and previous silent ones.
I had no idea that I had cardiac problems and because I was in my early sixties, having a heart attack had never crossed my mind.

Quite smug, that I took care of my health, the diagnosis shocked me to the core. Never say, never!

Grantanow Thu 31-Aug-23 10:16:27

Just because someone experiences deterioration after starting statins does not mean there is a causal relationship. Correlation is not causality. It's true that a few people experience large muscle pain but millions don't and I shall certainly continue to take them.