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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.

Iam64 Thu 31-Aug-23 10:31:47

Hello Marydoll, I always feel kinship with your posts. Biological treatments do carry risks. I had 12 fantastic months on the first one 12 years ago. Felt better in my 60’s than I had in my 30’s pre-treatment. All RA drugs carry serious possible side effects. My consultant describes it as an aggressive disease that needs aggressive treatments.
I gave RA(linked to early death from heart problems). Atrial fib, mild copd and of course osteo arthritis.
My cholesterol hit 5.7, the advice was ok for ‘ordinary’ people, not me. I’ve taken statins 3 years. Cholesterol ok now.

We make decisions based on sound medical advice - well I do.

Marydoll Thu 31-Aug-23 10:38:25

Your post has totally resonated with me Iam. I always feel you know exactly what I am talking about.

My previous biologics resulted in stomach issues including, pancreatitis and dreadful stomach issues and eventually had to be stopped last year. My RA went into overdrive.
However, I have started a new one, in the hope that this toxic medication will improve my quality of life. RA is such an agressive, systemic disease, you never know what organ it will target next. It's not just painful joints.

I hope you are well. x

Vintagegirl Thu 31-Aug-23 11:48:50

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?

Vintagewhine Thu 31-Aug-23 11:49:59

BIL had a catastrophic stroke which affected his physical and intellectual abilities, he survived for over 20 years needing 24/7 care. Having seen the devastating effects on his family I'll do whatever I can to protect myself and my family from the consequences of a stroke. I'm slim and otherwise healthy but recently my cholesterol started to go up. I already follow all the advice regarding diet, exercise etc so taking a daily statin was a no brainer!

pen50 Thu 31-Aug-23 11:53:31

Statins not only lower cholesterol but also reduce general inflammation. There is a (medical) school of thought which advocates statins for everyone over 50, regardless of cholesterol. So if I were you I'd take your doctor's advice.

Desire Thu 31-Aug-23 11:53:42

you can easily fix your cholesterol by changing you diet; I did. Also read this book

GrammarGrandma Thu 31-Aug-23 11:53:55

I didn't want to take them but a recent, still undiagnosed, condition led to a CT Scan which found "plaque" in my blood vessels, so the doctor prescribed them and I caved. I've been on them about two weeks - just one 20 mg pill at bedtime - with no ill effects. (I am 78). Good luck!

Sheila11 Thu 31-Aug-23 11:54:27

My doctor said the same to me 4 years ago. I said that if statins grew on trees I would take them. I have changed my diet and I don’t need them now. I’m so pleased I took that route as it worked out well for me.
It sounds as thought you are of the same mind so hopefully you can turn it around too.
Good luck with whatever choice you make.

Sheila11 Thu 31-Aug-23 11:56:52

Oh, my husband btw IS on statins and continues to eat all the bad foods he wants. 😐

Macerena Thu 31-Aug-23 11:56:57

Since I posted yesterday thanking everyone for their help, there have been more messages. So thank you all very much.

I am going to stick to what I'm doing now, cutting out all fats etc. as I said in my first post, eating fruits, veg, fish, nuts, Benecol and see what the blood results are in December.

Tiggersuki Thu 31-Aug-23 11:58:29

Really feel for you.
I had a stroke in 2005 when I was only 53 , a brain bleed not a clot. I was active and not overweight then.
I was put on many drugs including statins. On statins over a period of time my chloresterol level was under 3 and as a vegetarian I suggested to the doctor I came off them . Level remained under 5 for years but recently crept up so agreed to go back on them. Unaware of side effects on me. My husband also reluctantly went on them. Side effects may be accumulative over time but we decided at our age, me 68 and him 76 , it was worth the risk. Trust me a stroke is not fun, I had to learn to walk and talk properly again and have a permanent droop over one eye. Don't want to go there again.
I do worry about your diet though and getting that sensibly sorted out would be my priority.

vivtutt Thu 31-Aug-23 11:58:52

I have been taking statins for years with no adverse effects! Give them a try, my cholesterol level is 3.7 .

Granbelle10 Thu 31-Aug-23 12:06:16

My advice would be to review your diet. Please do not stop eating fruit and vegetables. There is also good fat and bad fat - nuts and olive oil are good fats so don't stop eating them. Avoid butter, and other dairy products. Perhaps reduce your beer intake? check out NHS website to learn more about lowering cholesterol through diet. If after following good NHS diet advice does not reduce your cholesterol, then statins may be the answer. As others have said, many people use them to good effect. Good luck.

Barnet Thu 31-Aug-23 12:06:20

My cholesterol wasn't high but my GP told me they can cut your stroke and heart attack risk so as I have a familial history of heart problems I decided to give them a try. After 7 years I've had no problems at all and if they can cut down the risk I'll carry on with them.

cangran Thu 31-Aug-23 12:06:42


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?

grannybuy Thu 31-Aug-23 12:06:54

I read that statins can affect memory, so decided to stop taking them. One thing that I quite quickly became aware of was that my urinary continence improved greatly. I checked this online, and read that statins can indeed worsen incontinence.

Chrissy19 Thu 31-Aug-23 12:07:53

I don't think there's anything to worry about with Statins, but, like you, I avoid taking drugs if at all possible. I think your recent weight gaining diet is likely the main contributor to your high cholesterol. I would suggest that your new healthy diet will help enormously in reducing your cholesterol and I think porridge has worked wonders with me in keeping my cholesterol down so perhaps you might try that too?

sharpeyes Thu 31-Aug-23 12:08:01

Is there a history of high cholesterol in your family? There is in mine and my GP told me that with familial high cholesterol all the healthy eating in the world will not bring mine down enough. They always start with the cheapest Statin and the first two did make my joints sore and ache a lot. The third, Pravastatin, works fine, only side effect is that I have to take it in the morning as taken at night I can't sleep. So far I have come down from 12.5 to 6.3 so I am still a work in progress, but the meds do work.

Dynawritecat Thu 31-Aug-23 12:08:18

I didn't read the side effects and suffered for months until the doctor took me off them. On a much lower dose of a different kind and so far ok.

Jan66 Thu 31-Aug-23 12:17:38

My cholesterol was a bit lower than yours but I asked to be prescribed a statin as I'm diabetic. I take a tiny tablet called Pravastatin each night and fortunately I've been fine with it. No side effects - and it doesn't cause a problem if I eat grapefruit either . It has helped to lower my cholesterol over months. Maybe see if you can reduce your cholesterol by your diet first and if that doesn't work, then have a chat with your doctor.

Milliedog Thu 31-Aug-23 12:22:48

A few years ago my cholesterol was 7 point something. I tried lowering it with diet but it had no effect - perhaps because I was still eating some chocolate, having my evening glass of wine and gluten free bread isn't exactly healthy.grin
I was prescribed atorvastatin and take 10 mg once a day. My cholesterol level quickly reduced to 4 point something. I've had no problems with them.

Junoesque Thu 31-Aug-23 12:26:39

I had the same problem, bad reports on Statins. GP was pushing, I did a deal with him. I undertook to take a bowl of Porridge Oats ie proper old style oats none of your Ready Brecks ever morning for a month (made with water, no sugar in the microwave, not as bad as you would think) then would return to the surgery for a repeat blood test. Long story short …..results down over 2 points therefore one slightly uncomfortable GP and Statins never mentioned again. That was ove 10 years ago and repeated routine blood tests have shown cholesterol levels fine, I’m 70 yrs of age with type 2 diabetes, and eat a normal healthy diet. I still love my porridge and allow myself a smug little chuckle now and again.
😉. I offer this up to one and all as a ‘Give it a go, a month won’t make that much difference’ Of course if cholesterol levels are dangerously high fair enough. However there are less scary drugs on the market for high cholesterol. The words Statins! Big Pharma Companies, hand in hand & profits spring to mind 🤨

Jacksgrandma123 Thu 31-Aug-23 12:26:43

I was asked to take statins at 6.5. Women can have higher cholesterol naturally without any issues and if you look at the history of statins the figure of five was chosen randomly. My dr actually said they wouldn’t take statins if they were me. Anyways, not wanting to be irresponsible I googled research on how to lower cholesterol naturally. Found quite a bit on avocados which I love so upped my intake , along with maintaining my reasonably healthy diet and exercise . My next results were wonderful and everything had been reversed. No problems since…

GrammaH Thu 31-Aug-23 12:30:32

I had a TI A (mini stroke) about 15 years ago & I've taken ststins ever since. I have a regular review of my meds & the type if stating has changed a few times but I don't have any side effects nor problems taking them because of their image.

Philippa111 Thu 31-Aug-23 12:31:57

I think before taking any medicines into the body it's best to make changes to lifestyle if you can. These substances are known to have side effects, some worse than others. And unfortunately some doctors prescribe them almost automatically... easier that lots of chats!!
Just eat a balanced diet... Protein, starch, vegetable fat, a variety of vegetables and some sugar in the form of fruit.
Meditation has a very positive health giving effect on the body, not just the mind. It's been scientifically proven.Why not try that? Also don't rule out acupuncture.
Why not have a plan to make some changes and reassess in December?