I have given in. Finally, I am taking Statins to help lower my cholesterol. Since menopause, my cholesterol has been elevated. But now it has gone through the roof!
Fifteen years ago, my then doctor tried to put me on statins. I resisted. But since giving up tennis (because of back-related problems), it has risen even higher. I cannot do intense exercise any more.
And when I had my Transient Global Amnesia episode a few months ago, I seemingly thought I was having a stroke. I kept asking my husband and elder daughter if I was having it because I would not take statins.
So, it has been preying on my mind obviously.
WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL? THE SCIENCE
Your body uses cholesterol to make hormones and vitamin D, and support digestion. Your liver generates enough cholesterol to handle these tasks, but your body doesn’t just get cholesterol from your liver. It also gets it from foods.
There are two main types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Lipoproteins are made of fat and proteins. Cholesterol moves through your body while inside lipoproteins.
HDL is known as “good cholesterol” because it transports cholesterol to your liver to be expelled from your body. HDL helps rid your body of excess cholesterol so it’s less likely to end up in your arteries.
LDL is called “bad cholesterol” because it takes cholesterol to your arteries, where it may collect in artery walls. This can increase the risk of blood clots in your arteries. If a blood clot breaks away and blocks an artery in your heart or brain, you may have a stroke or a heart attack.
MY BLOOD RESULTS FOR MY CHOLESTEROL
Cholesterol (total) 8.0 <5.0 Total should be less than 5mm/
Fasting Triglyceride 1.25 <1.70 should be less than 2 mmol/L
Cholesterol (HDL) 1.91 >1.00 the higher the better
Cholesterol (LDL) 5.5 <3.00 should be less than 3 mmol/L
Non HDL-C: 6.1 <3.8
WHY I DID NOT WANT TO TAKE STATINS
There are side-effects associated with statins.
My mother, who took statins for years, developed fybermyalgia. She had severe muscle pain all over her body, particularly in her legs. Eventually, her doctor took her off statins and the pains went away. She is not taking any now, but she has had several TIAs which showed up in a recent scan.
Some research indicates that taking statins for years can cause dementia. My memory is bad enough already.
Other possible side-effects according to the leaflet with my prescription:
These affect 1 person in 10. That seems high to me. What do you think?
HOW TO REDUCE YOUR CHOLESTEROL WITHOUT DRUGS
- If you smoke, give up
- Eat a healthy diet… cut down on red meat, full-fat dairy products and processed foods (some research includes poultry in this).
- Ditch all trans fats.
- Increase intake of fish, nuts, high-fibre foods
- Take regular exercise
- Reduce stress
- Losing weight if you are overweight can help
- Take fish oil supplements which help lower triglycerides
MY HEALTH ANALYSED
My diet is pretty healthy. I eat very little dairy except for a yogurt daily. Plus, I eat lots of fruit and vegetables and nuts. Olive and rapeseed oils are regulars on my shopping lists. Smoking is abhorred by me. I am relatively fit and I am not overweight. Yes, I do like a drink! Taking fish oils has been a good habit for years and now I take omega 3 fish oils from Irish company Somega.
So the doctor concluded that my high cholesterol is genetic. However, she did an absolute risk score to calculate my chance of suffering a stroke in the next five years.
- blood pressure
- cholesterol levels
- whether you have diabetes
- whether you smoke
- your weight
- family history
- irregular heartbeat
My risk was just under 10% so I am borderline as to whether I should take statins or not. However, my lovely new doctor recommended I did as I was obviously concerned and possibly stressed about it. I am a quiet worrier. Yes, there is such a condition!
Blood tests are scheduled again in September so I will report back then. Do you take statins? Am I being overly concerned about the bad press they get?
I would love to hear from you.
OTHER REASONS I AM ‘PISSED OFF’
The weather has really improved and we have had some lovely sunny days particularly in the East of the country. So that has been lovely.
I am wearing a lovely top bought in Studio 124 in Malahide and my jeans from Paula’s (Malahide) must be the most worn item in my wardrobe. So I should not be complaining.
However, I have been having difficulty with my pelvis for a few months and it has affected my ability to walk and play golf. I also had to limit my yoga and pilates so am feeling pretty unfit. But, I think that it is sorted now. Fingers crossed anyway. I must say that I was getting depressed about it. But I am back walking (albeit at a slower pace) and hope to return to playing bad golf soon too.
Thank God for physical therapists.
So enough about my cholesterol problems, my back problems and I won’t mention the fact that I have five younger sisters who are all fully vaccinated and I have only had one jab of Astra Zeneca.
That is really pissing me off!