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Cholesterol and Statins (Read 166 times)

    Here in the UK my physician has offered me Statin tablets (one a day for the rest of my life) as a way of keeping my cholesterol levels down. I am 43, have type 1 diabetes, am not overweight (but have a bit of a belly), and have taken them before and didn't particularly suffer from muscle ache, etc, which is what some other people have complained of when taking a Statin. Then again I don't want to have to take a pill every day.

    What do other RA users think?

    Can't running alone do the same job? And in any case, has it really been proven that cholesterol causes heart disease, strokes, etc. I know this is the popular view, but isn't there a sizable and respectable minority medical opinion that questions this causal relation?

    Never been to the Americas, but how many of you guys have ever been to Derby?

     


    Labrat

      Diet and exercise will not reduce cholesterol as much as diet, exercise and statins.

      You don't mention you Cholesterol levels, but assuming your doctor knows the numbers and knows you already work out a lot, then he/she must have a reason to want them to be reduced further.

       

      It could be that you simply have the genetic lottery that means you are going to have high numbers, no matter how much you do right.

       

      Causation is a tough one especially in medicine (did Patient A have a heart attack due to issue B - its almost impossible to pin down a specific cause).

      Better to talk risk factors, and work on reducing them

      High cholesterol significantly increases your change of a heart attack, this much is a broadly accepted consensus.

       

      Statins are cheap, effective drugs that reduce cholesterol levels, with generally minimal side effects.

       

       

      Discuss further with your doctor, about exactly why they want you on statins as well as diet/exercise.

      5K  23:21*  (Vdot 41.53)   10/13/12

      10K  51:48 (Vdot 38.39)  7/15/12

      HM 1:46:23 (Vdot 41.95) 11/9/13

      FM 4:28:33 (Vdot 33.01) 11/12/11

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      Feeling the growl again

        High cholesterol can be related to diet, genetics, or a combination of the two.  If you have bad genetics no amount of adjustment to your diet or exercise will bring your numbers into range.  But personally I would do both of those things, if I could, prior to going onto a daily medication.  As far as I know there is not yet a genetic test to determine susceptibility to high cholesterol.

         

        I'm not even going to wade in on the cholesterol/heart disease thing.  The science is solidly on one side at this point.  Take any source you are reading, and drill back to their references until you hit actual scientific studies that are well-controlled, large in size, and published in peer-reviewed, high-impact journals.  If you get a site making claims and you can't get back to such studies, you should be very, very skeptical.  I've become very annoyed with the stuff people quote off the internet without even bothering to check on the veracity of the information.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

        GinnyinPA


          We just had a discussion with DH's doctor about this.  Because DH is diabetic, he is on statins, even though he does not have and never has had high cholesterol.  Just being diabetic is such a big risk factor, he has been on the meds for several years.  When he objected, the doctor gave a lecture on how everybody should be on statins, because the benefit is so big.  He explained what the medications do, and how they prevent strokes and heart attacks.  Since DH has a family history of both diabetes and heart disease, there was never a question of whether to medicate, just which med to use.  He was having issues with the first, so switched to a statin drug that has fewer side effects.   The lecture convinced DH, who is like you and doesn't like to take meds.  I understand not wanting to take medications unnecessarily, but sometimes it's the smart thing to do.


          Feeling the growl again

            I would ask him to cite the studies showing people with normal cholesterol benefit from statins.  That, and I'd start looking for a new physician.

             

            MTA:  To clarify, I'm more getting to his statement that "everyone" should be on statins and will get a big benefit.  I know there are data out there on people with normal cholesterol getting benefit (Jupiter study etc).  But those people had other risk factors potentially influenced by the drug.  I'm not aware of any data proving efficacy, much less a positive risk profile, in the general population.

             

              When he objected, the doctor gave a lecture on how everybody should be on statins, because the benefit is so big. 

            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

             

            cookiemonster


            Connoisseur of Cookies

              Diet and exercise will not reduce cholesterol as much as diet, exercise and statins.

              You don't mention you Cholesterol levels, but assuming your doctor knows the numbers and knows you already work out a lot, then he/she must have a reason to want them to be reduced further.

               

              It could be that you simply have the genetic lottery that means you are going to have high numbers, no matter how much you do right.

               

              Causation is a tough one especially in medicine (did Patient A have a heart attack due to issue B - its almost impossible to pin down a specific cause).

              Better to talk risk factors, and work on reducing them

              High cholesterol significantly increases your change of a heart attack, this much is a broadly accepted consensus.

               

              Statins are cheap, effective drugs that reduce cholesterol levels, with generally minimal side effects.

               

               

              Discuss further with your doctor, about exactly why they want you on statins as well as diet/exercise.

               

              Excellent post.

              ***************************************************************************************

               

              "C" is for cookie.  That's good enough for me.

              Chantilly75


              It's always something...

                Personally, I don't believe in cholesterol pills.  And when doctors are saying that everyone should be on them, that makes me doubly cautious.

                However, do your own research and make an informed decision.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                  Personally, I don't believe in cholesterol pills.  

                   

                  This makes me want to say "Yes Virginia, there are cholesterol pills".

                  But I am curious - what do you mean by this statement? That statins do not lower cholesterol, or that high cholesterol does not increase risk of heart disease? (Or something else?)

                  Dave

                    Might be a little too early for me to draw conclusions but I've now returned to statins. Been on them 2 days and for 2 days have felt incredibly weary. I haven't slept well and have taken a good long time to 'come round' in the morning. Maybe this has been caused by something else entirely, or maybe its the statins. Next time I see my GP (general practitioner, a.k.a. physician) I will request a smaller dosage, or maybe a different type. (I'm on simvastatin).

                    Oh, there's also that crappy side-effect (which I'd forgotten about since last I took them) that makes you fart all night long, and that other thing about not eating grapefruit (and I do love grapefruit). God, I hate (I mean, my psychological emotions correlate negatively with) statins.

                    And as for the reasons why my GP put me on statins in the first place, it is more to do with following general guidelines (if they're diabetic, put them on statins) rather than specifically related to my personal history, my cholesterol levels (LDL 3.1 when last measured (in December) when I was not taking statins) and my running (20 mpw). I'm not saying those general guidelines are wrong from a public health perspective, but RA users might be crediting UK GPs with greater personal interest in their patients than we normally receive.

                     

                    Are there any runners out there who are taking statins and who find them ok? Or do they suffer mild side-effects which they figure are a price worth paying? I would like to hear from them.

                     

                    Maybe I'm a live-for-today selfish kind of guy, but I'd really prefer to run better and faster now and run the elevated risk of heart disease later.

                    Never been to the Americas, but how many of you guys have ever been to Derby?

                     

                    Chantilly75


                    It's always something...

                       

                      This makes me want to say "Yes Virginia, there are cholesterol pills".

                      But I am curious - what do you mean by this statement? That statins do not lower cholesterol, or that high cholesterol does not increase risk of heart disease? (Or something else?)

                       

                      High cholesterol is over-rated as a cause of heart disease and the majority of people having a heart attack are already on statins, so what good did they do? These pills were first prescribed for a certain patient profile, then the criteria was altered to include more people, and altered yet again to include even more. Drug companies have sponsored a great deal of the studies and their profits have increased substantially.

                      Now there are doctors saying everyone over a certain age should be on them, not matter what their actual levels are.

                       

                       

                       

                       


                      Feeling the growl again

                         

                        High cholesterol is over-rated as a cause of heart disease and the majority of people having a heart attack are already on statins, so what good did they do? 

                         

                        1)  On what data do you base these two assertions?

                         

                        2)  Even if we take the second to be true, it is faulty logic as it does not account for how many people did NOT have heart attacks because they were being treated, nor the possibility that heart attacks that occurred were significantly delayed.

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         


                        A Dance with Monkeys

                          I would go further. Statins usage occurs because people have high cholesterol. So taken as a group, those using statins are more likely to have risk of heart disease (i.e., hypercholesterolemia) than those who don't, and would therefore be expected to have more heart attacks than those who don't take statins. A classic case of confounding. The real question is: among those with hypercholesterolemia, are statins associated with a lower rate of heart attacks. Surprise: they are!


                          Labrat

                            Most, if not all statins are patent expired. Generic versions are available cheaply, and not from the big pharmaceutical compsnies.

                            5K  23:21*  (Vdot 41.53)   10/13/12

                            10K  51:48 (Vdot 38.39)  7/15/12

                            HM 1:46:23 (Vdot 41.95) 11/9/13

                            FM 4:28:33 (Vdot 33.01) 11/12/11

                            *Gun time, all others are chip time

                            robin from maine


                              and that other thing about not eating grapefruit (and I do love grapefruit)

                               

                              If you like grapefruit, you should ask your doctor to change you to pravastatin (Pravachol in the US) -- no contraindications to eating grapefruit with this one.

                               

                              On the cholesterol question in general: as human beings age, coronary artery disease becomes the leading cause of death and a significant contributor to disability. Some factors increase the risk of heart disease at earlier ages: family history, dyslipidemia (i.e., different combinations of less than desirable cholesterol ratios), tobacco, male gender, diabetes (4X increased risk). Lowering LDL cholesterol, whether by diet and exercise and/or medications, reduces risk. It does not eliminate risk, and not everyone with bad cholesterol will have a heart attack. As "normal" cholesterol is still associated with some risk of heart disease, and lowering LDL below 70 decreases that risk, a person with several other risk factors may have lipid-lowering therapy recommended, even with "normal" cholesterol. One is always free to choose which risks to take, and for some, the side effects of statins outweigh the risk reductions.

                               

                              Robin


                              Labrat

                                Atherosclerosis has been around for a long time in humans

                                 

                                (study on mummies found significant numbers with it)

                                5K  23:21*  (Vdot 41.53)   10/13/12

                                10K  51:48 (Vdot 38.39)  7/15/12

                                HM 1:46:23 (Vdot 41.95) 11/9/13

                                FM 4:28:33 (Vdot 33.01) 11/12/11

                                *Gun time, all others are chip time

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