Need help to lower high cholesterol & high triglycerides

Posted by lov @lov, Mar 8 6:10pm

I have AFib & a pacemaker for sick sinus syndrome. I have been on a vegan diet since Oct. 2019 + 4 meds for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, etc. (flecainide acetate 50 mg, diltiazem hydrocl 180 mg, metoprolol succ 25 mg). I thought very low oil and removing added salt and ‘flesh’ would help, but not really.
Any ideas…really hesitant of red yeast rice and statins. Thanks, @lov

I think you need to have a discussion with your doctor. I was on statin many years ago and discontinued it because of side effects. I discussed it with my doctor and told the route of lifestyle changes. My cholesterol and trygleride were not as high as yours. I cut out all sugar, started walking more and eat more healthy. The numbers came down to an acceptable level. But then I had a TIA this year and my cardiologist put me back on statin again. Low dosage every other day. When I think about it, I'd rather put up with a little discomfort of side effect than have a stroke. I don't know what your lifestyle is, there are alot of factors that affect the cholesterol level so it's best you have an honest talk with your doctor about your hesitation on statin therapy. Do you have a family history of cholesterol problem? I hope you get the help you need. Best wishes.

Liked by Lisa Lucier, sue225

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mayofeb2020 give the statin a try. Sometimes the best diet, and exercise won't be enough. Red yeast rice doesn't work. If you dont like statins, there is Repatha, an injection every two weeks.

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Hi lov, you mentioned “very low oil.” Elaborate a bit, e.g. do you use ANY oil in your food preparation? Do you avoid eating at cafes and restaurants where we have little control? High fat foods e.g., olives, avocados, nuts?

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@thumperguy

Hi lov, you mentioned “very low oil.” Elaborate a bit, e.g. do you use ANY oil in your food preparation? Do you avoid eating at cafes and restaurants where we have little control? High fat foods e.g., olives, avocados, nuts?

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I have been using Dr. Esselstyn's program from "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" and I think his goal is no more than 12 grams of oil a day or less…no nuts, no olive oil, olives, no flesh, no processed foods. I haven't gone out to eat since Oct. 2019. I was encouraged to try the nutritional therapy 100%. This may be genetic…maternal grandfather died from a 'worn out heart', maternal grandmother died from a stroke, my half sister died from cardiac arrhythmia. Sad, but I was told years ago by my orthopedist, some people aren't meant to exercise, and he said you are one of them. Since childhood had Charlie horses, scoliosis, ligamentous laxity (lose ligaments), degenerative disc disease, bursitis, arthritis, back strain, and muscles knotting up, so when I try to do anything more than chair yoga, like walking, or exercise I end up in trouble. Have cardiologist appt. on 3/24. PCP/Internists doesn't want to handle cholesterol. I have outlived all of the family older than me, so I have much to be grateful for. My parents died in an accident when they were 48 and 54, I'm 74, so I will just keep trying options. Thanks for asking.

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@sue225

mayofeb2020 give the statin a try. Sometimes the best diet, and exercise won't be enough. Red yeast rice doesn't work. If you dont like statins, there is Repatha, an injection every two weeks.

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Thanks, are you using them with out side effects?

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@lov

Thanks, are you using them with out side effects?

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mayofeb2020 I tried statins but couldn't tolerate them but many drugs bother my g.i. tract so do not let that stop you. My best friend's husband is a cardiologist and he has been on statins for years. And I know many people who take them.
I have been prescribed Repatha (Amgen) other name evoculomab. I give myself an injection every two weeks and it has definitely brought my cholesterol down. I am not aware of any side effects. (I am a small person who eats in a healthy way and weighs 107 lbs.) Probably hereditary.
Now diet. It definitely helps but my numbers are very very high (or were).
Here are foods that are known and proven to lower cholesterol : oats, oatmeal, nuts, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, pectin rich fruits like apples and pears, eggplant, okra, olive oil, canola oil, margarines that have phytosterols in them that lower cholesterol, psyllium (which is what Metamucil is but can be purchased from in the natural foods section and mixed into smoothies), oranges (the pith is actually good for lowering cholesterol). A researcher, and doctor, Dr.David Jenkins at a major Canadian hospital (and person who created the glycemic index) came up with what he called, "The Profile Diet". Google Dr.David Jenkins. I did follow this diet for about 2 years quite strictly (although I did continue to eat fish and some chicken) and my numbers did go down. Dr.Jenkins is a vegan. However, incorporating even a few of the components of the Profile diet will be helpful. A handful of almonds a day for starters.
Good luck.
Statins are not an expensive drug, and have been around for years and widely studied. So, if I could have stayed on them I would have.

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Sue225.. Thank you so much for your advice. My cholesterol was all within range until I had my TIA, then my cardiologist put me on statin, I'm now on 10 mg of prevastatin every other day which is not a high dose. He also put me on Xeralto, a blood thinner, one of the side effects is muscle weakness. Now I don't know which drug causes pain in my legs. Walking is getting difficult because my knees feel sore and weak. This is a problem I never had before. I also weigh about 107/108 lbs. I eat pretty healthy.. no red meat, only lean chicken breasts and salmon. Lots and lots of vegetables. Steel cut oats, walnuts and blueberries is my go to breakfast. No butter, only olive oil. Also banana, Pears, and apples. No sugary cookies. Don't know what else I can do.

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@mayofeb2020 Has the pravastatin lowered /not lowered your cholesterol? (Have you been on it long enough to have a follow-up bloodtest)?
Have you researched the common adverse side effects of the two medications you are on? I have read that statins can cause muscle pain. (Sometimes pharmacists can be quite helpful). There are quite a few different statins available.
The drug manufacturer for both drugs will have the info on line if it did not come with your prescription.
I'm sure the Mayo Clinic site will have info on statins. If you google both you'll find reliable sites. Also if you haven't already ask your doctor. And also ask about Repatha which is not a statin. It is a biologic.
I also know from a close friend who has CVD, that there is more than one type of blood thinner. (If it is the blood thinner causing the problem). You need to have a chat with the doctor to help you sort out these problems. (But research the meds on reliable sites prior to your apptmnt).

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@sue225

mayofeb2020 I tried statins but couldn't tolerate them but many drugs bother my g.i. tract so do not let that stop you. My best friend's husband is a cardiologist and he has been on statins for years. And I know many people who take them.
I have been prescribed Repatha (Amgen) other name evoculomab. I give myself an injection every two weeks and it has definitely brought my cholesterol down. I am not aware of any side effects. (I am a small person who eats in a healthy way and weighs 107 lbs.) Probably hereditary.
Now diet. It definitely helps but my numbers are very very high (or were).
Here are foods that are known and proven to lower cholesterol : oats, oatmeal, nuts, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, pectin rich fruits like apples and pears, eggplant, okra, olive oil, canola oil, margarines that have phytosterols in them that lower cholesterol, psyllium (which is what Metamucil is but can be purchased from in the natural foods section and mixed into smoothies), oranges (the pith is actually good for lowering cholesterol). A researcher, and doctor, Dr.David Jenkins at a major Canadian hospital (and person who created the glycemic index) came up with what he called, "The Profile Diet". Google Dr.David Jenkins. I did follow this diet for about 2 years quite strictly (although I did continue to eat fish and some chicken) and my numbers did go down. Dr.Jenkins is a vegan. However, incorporating even a few of the components of the Profile diet will be helpful. A handful of almonds a day for starters.
Good luck.
Statins are not an expensive drug, and have been around for years and widely studied. So, if I could have stayed on them I would have.

Jump to this post

Hello Sue, You can watch an excellent and revealing documentary on cholesterol on line but only from Canada. It is Dr. David Suzuki's The Nature of Things on Cholesterol. My husband who has had high cholesterol since his twenties and I watched it 3 times. Bottom line: scientists who have studied cholesterol in depth and are not affiliated or influenced by Big Pharma, state that the only people who need to be on statins for cholesterol are men in their forties who have had a heart attack. You certainly don't fall into that category. If you can watch it, here is the documentary: https://gem.cbc.ca/media/the-nature-of-things/season-54/episode-4/38e815a-00918890266
My 68 year old husband who walks an average of 8 – 10 kilometres per day and 15 – 20 km on weekends, eats plenty of vegetables and has excellent good cholesterol and triglycerides but very high bad cholesterol, refuses to go on statins. In the documentary it stated that statin use is particularly dangerous for seniors and does more harm than good. My husband's siblings are all on statins. Although they are normal weight, they are all now diabetic due to statin use. One sister wasted away losing all muscle mass. And who knows what damage was done to their livers. According to the statin makers themselves, statins cause memory loss.
So why do doctors continue to prescribe statins? According to many doctors who dare to be so outspoken, if they don't prescribe them to their patients and let's say one has a heart attack or blocked artery (which can happen to us all), that patient could sue the doctor, blaming the heart attack on the doctor's failure to prescribe statins. Not only are doctors afraid of litigation from patients but they are also afraid of Big Pharma that could ruin their careers. Doctors' hands are tied.
The new standard to measure heart health is no longer cholesterol but triglycerides which measure inflammation in the body.
You say that statins have been widely studied…by scientists paid by Big Pharma. There are plenty of independent studies that show how ineffective statins are and even harmful, especially in the elderly.

There are many articles showing research published by the world's leading site on medical research results called NCBI. But check WHO is doing the research. And then you have to google names of researchers to see if there is an association with the drug companies. In any case, it will show you the side effects of statins. Here is just one: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2849981/
Good luck!

REPLY
@afrobin

Hello Sue, You can watch an excellent and revealing documentary on cholesterol on line but only from Canada. It is Dr. David Suzuki's The Nature of Things on Cholesterol. My husband who has had high cholesterol since his twenties and I watched it 3 times. Bottom line: scientists who have studied cholesterol in depth and are not affiliated or influenced by Big Pharma, state that the only people who need to be on statins for cholesterol are men in their forties who have had a heart attack. You certainly don't fall into that category. If you can watch it, here is the documentary: https://gem.cbc.ca/media/the-nature-of-things/season-54/episode-4/38e815a-00918890266
My 68 year old husband who walks an average of 8 – 10 kilometres per day and 15 – 20 km on weekends, eats plenty of vegetables and has excellent good cholesterol and triglycerides but very high bad cholesterol, refuses to go on statins. In the documentary it stated that statin use is particularly dangerous for seniors and does more harm than good. My husband's siblings are all on statins. Although they are normal weight, they are all now diabetic due to statin use. One sister wasted away losing all muscle mass. And who knows what damage was done to their livers. According to the statin makers themselves, statins cause memory loss.
So why do doctors continue to prescribe statins? According to many doctors who dare to be so outspoken, if they don't prescribe them to their patients and let's say one has a heart attack or blocked artery (which can happen to us all), that patient could sue the doctor, blaming the heart attack on the doctor's failure to prescribe statins. Not only are doctors afraid of litigation from patients but they are also afraid of Big Pharma that could ruin their careers. Doctors' hands are tied.
The new standard to measure heart health is no longer cholesterol but triglycerides which measure inflammation in the body.
You say that statins have been widely studied…by scientists paid by Big Pharma. There are plenty of independent studies that show how ineffective statins are and even harmful, especially in the elderly.

There are many articles showing research published by the world's leading site on medical research results called NCBI. But check WHO is doing the research. And then you have to google names of researchers to see if there is an association with the drug companies. In any case, it will show you the side effects of statins. Here is just one: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2849981/
Good luck!

Jump to this post

Thanks for the info. I am not on a statin. I am taking Repatha, an injectable, which is a biologic. My diet is good. My high cholesterol is hereditary. Diet helps but not enough. I resisted all medications for several issues until the age of 63. I then decided to give the various specialists the benefit of the doubt and heed their advice. Exercise and a good diet are very important but for some of us it's just not enough.

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@lov

I have been using Dr. Esselstyn's program from "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" and I think his goal is no more than 12 grams of oil a day or less…no nuts, no olive oil, olives, no flesh, no processed foods. I haven't gone out to eat since Oct. 2019. I was encouraged to try the nutritional therapy 100%. This may be genetic…maternal grandfather died from a 'worn out heart', maternal grandmother died from a stroke, my half sister died from cardiac arrhythmia. Sad, but I was told years ago by my orthopedist, some people aren't meant to exercise, and he said you are one of them. Since childhood had Charlie horses, scoliosis, ligamentous laxity (lose ligaments), degenerative disc disease, bursitis, arthritis, back strain, and muscles knotting up, so when I try to do anything more than chair yoga, like walking, or exercise I end up in trouble. Have cardiologist appt. on 3/24. PCP/Internists doesn't want to handle cholesterol. I have outlived all of the family older than me, so I have much to be grateful for. My parents died in an accident when they were 48 and 54, I'm 74, so I will just keep trying options. Thanks for asking.

Jump to this post

Lov, You'll not do better than Caldwell Essestyn, Jr. As you know, he along with a few other "diet and lifestyle" physicians have been successful in not only arresting, but actually reversing arterial plaque buildup. BTW my reading of Essestyn (pg. 5 of his book) doesn't square with your understanding that he approves up to 12 grams of oil daily. 2/3 down pg. 5: "You must not consume oil of any kind–not a drop." No nuts, no avocado either. Granted, this injunction is directed to persons with actual heart disease though Essestyn, like McDougall, Novick, Clapper and I think Ornish; strive to get patients percentage of calories from fat below 10%, My sense from my own experience is that in order to achieve that enviable level its probably gonna require ditching all oil. Not all fat, but all oil.

You might enjoy googling William C. Roberts, M.D., long time Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Cardiology. In reading some of his stuff I noticed that he acknowledges that some individuals are subject to "familial elevated cholesterol." He has no hesitation in Rx'ng statins for them as he is a firm believer that elevated cholesterol, especially LDL is the cause of atherosclerosis. Check it out and stay in touch. Don

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Oops. In conveying to lov my admiration of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. I said “You’ll not do better…” A bit later it occurred to me that “poster” AFRrobin might interpret my comment as a denigration of Dr. Suzuki which was certainly not my intention.

Dr. David Suzuki's

REPLY
@afrobin

Hello Sue, You can watch an excellent and revealing documentary on cholesterol on line but only from Canada. It is Dr. David Suzuki's The Nature of Things on Cholesterol. My husband who has had high cholesterol since his twenties and I watched it 3 times. Bottom line: scientists who have studied cholesterol in depth and are not affiliated or influenced by Big Pharma, state that the only people who need to be on statins for cholesterol are men in their forties who have had a heart attack. You certainly don't fall into that category. If you can watch it, here is the documentary: https://gem.cbc.ca/media/the-nature-of-things/season-54/episode-4/38e815a-00918890266
My 68 year old husband who walks an average of 8 – 10 kilometres per day and 15 – 20 km on weekends, eats plenty of vegetables and has excellent good cholesterol and triglycerides but very high bad cholesterol, refuses to go on statins. In the documentary it stated that statin use is particularly dangerous for seniors and does more harm than good. My husband's siblings are all on statins. Although they are normal weight, they are all now diabetic due to statin use. One sister wasted away losing all muscle mass. And who knows what damage was done to their livers. According to the statin makers themselves, statins cause memory loss.
So why do doctors continue to prescribe statins? According to many doctors who dare to be so outspoken, if they don't prescribe them to their patients and let's say one has a heart attack or blocked artery (which can happen to us all), that patient could sue the doctor, blaming the heart attack on the doctor's failure to prescribe statins. Not only are doctors afraid of litigation from patients but they are also afraid of Big Pharma that could ruin their careers. Doctors' hands are tied.
The new standard to measure heart health is no longer cholesterol but triglycerides which measure inflammation in the body.
You say that statins have been widely studied…by scientists paid by Big Pharma. There are plenty of independent studies that show how ineffective statins are and even harmful, especially in the elderly.

There are many articles showing research published by the world's leading site on medical research results called NCBI. But check WHO is doing the research. And then you have to google names of researchers to see if there is an association with the drug companies. In any case, it will show you the side effects of statins. Here is just one: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2849981/
Good luck!

Jump to this post

Hi @afrobin,

There is no denying that a number of statin trials are funded by pharmaceutical companies, and it does raise the question if we are seeing the whole picture.
I am not a medical professional and cannot offer any medical advice. However, I am concerned that all the debate and dialogue about statin use, puts potential patients at risk of developing “tunnel vision.” And, I feel, tunnel vision limits our perception––patients hesitate to take statins, focusing on the discomfort or side effects of statins, rather than looking at the real risk that high cholesterol can have on cardiovascular health.
As with medications, not everyone's cholesterol will respond equally to other interventions. I’d sincerely encourage you to read this Mayo Clinic article, "Statins: Are these cholesterol-lowering drugs right for you?" https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statins/art-20045772

Since conversations on Connect focus on sharing medical experiences to help inform and support members in their pursuit of understanding their medical situation, and making informed health decisions, it’s always a good idea to offer supportive data. For instance, if you could offer published articles or research with regard to, "So why do doctors continue to prescribe statins?”

@afrobin, I think most of us would do without meds if given the option, but sometimes they are necessary. The treatment for high cholesterol is not one size fits all, and I wish we could get a more conclusive answer! In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you and other members who are part of this very insightful discussion.

Liked by sue225, mayofeb2020

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I am at this dilemma.. My cardiologist had prescribed a very low dosage of statin after my TIA, 10mg every other day but I simply cannot tolerate it. My legs and knees hurt so much its hard for me to go for my daily walk, which is the only exercise I do. My total cholesterol wasn't even high, at my last physical in Nov, before my TIA, it was under 200. My LDL was 100 and my HDL was over 50. I have always eat a very healthy diet, lots of veggies and no red meat only lean protein like chicken breast, salmon and plant protein. I'm not diabetic, or overweight,. I do not smoke. I'm seeing my cardiologist tomorrow, hopefully we can find a solution. I've also been put on a blood thinner Zeralto, some of the side effects is muscle weakness and leg pain so I'm asking, is it that or the statin that's causing the joint and leg pain or the blood thinner?

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@thumperguy

Lov, You'll not do better than Caldwell Essestyn, Jr. As you know, he along with a few other "diet and lifestyle" physicians have been successful in not only arresting, but actually reversing arterial plaque buildup. BTW my reading of Essestyn (pg. 5 of his book) doesn't square with your understanding that he approves up to 12 grams of oil daily. 2/3 down pg. 5: "You must not consume oil of any kind–not a drop." No nuts, no avocado either. Granted, this injunction is directed to persons with actual heart disease though Essestyn, like McDougall, Novick, Clapper and I think Ornish; strive to get patients percentage of calories from fat below 10%, My sense from my own experience is that in order to achieve that enviable level its probably gonna require ditching all oil. Not all fat, but all oil.

You might enjoy googling William C. Roberts, M.D., long time Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Cardiology. In reading some of his stuff I noticed that he acknowledges that some individuals are subject to "familial elevated cholesterol." He has no hesitation in Rx'ng statins for them as he is a firm believer that elevated cholesterol, especially LDL is the cause of atherosclerosis. Check it out and stay in touch. Don

Jump to this post

Thanks! Nurse said today that my cardiologist's response to my numbers was that I do not have coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease; I think this was to allude to not needing to be vegan. He recommended omega 3 1000mg and exercise, no additional medication. Re: Esselstyn – I'm using terms incorrectly.
Guess when I read fat content in range of 9 to 12 % none from added oils- I interpreted it to mean 1/2 cup oatmeal has 3 grams fat; oat milk has 1.5 grams fat and I added these together …should have said 12 % fat, not oil. Gave my olive oil, avocado, nuts away in October.
@lov

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