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Old 08-30-2012, 08:05 PM   #1
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My Doctor Called ME tonight...totally freaked out!!!

Hi Guys!

In May I posted that I had been to a cardiologist and that he wanted me to go on a totally plant based diet which I told him I would not do. At the time, my stats were are follows:

Total Cholesterol was 228

Triglycerides
96

HDL
60

LDL
149

I told him that I would do my own thing, meaning lc and then test again in 3 months. Well, I have been screwing around and have not been doing lc and frankly, have been eating pretty much crap all summer long. I figured I'd clean up my act when school started this coming week.

I did go into my internal medicine doctor yesterday and she decided she wanted to do some blood work and see where things were after being at the cardiologist 3 months earlier. Holy crap!!

Total Cholesterol 268! up 40 points in 3 months????


Triglycerides 122
HDL 59
LDL 185

Without even discussing it, she had already called in a prescription for Simvastatin which is generic for Zocor. Huh? Granted, I am freaking out and considering taking the damn stuff. She told me, "you are a walking timebomb" and that am a "stroke waiting to happen".....Holy Crap!!!!

So now I am back with my tail between my legs with a few questions....from Jimmy Moore's website I found a lc doctor who is a psychiatrist here in my town...do you think I should hold off on taking the statins until I can get an appt. with her and she what she says.....her blog on her website seems opposed to statins...my regular internist is pretty much just go with the pharmaceutical companies and call it a day. But if I am a walking timebomb, should I just bite the bullet and take the statins and REALLY start back to LC?

Also, one other thing I didn't mention...of all the blood work that was done, my Thyroid came back with a TSH reading of .386 while the range is .400 to 4.00 indicating that I am hyperthyroid. From reading about this, I realized I have every single symptom they listed for this...just what I need, more CRAP!

For some reason, my pill peddling internist didn't prescribe anything for the Thyroid since maybe I'm just a little skewed from the low end; but when I say I have all the symptoms, each and every one...it was kinda freaky! So, do you think I should go to the lc pyche doc or find an endocrinologist?

Last but not least....in your heart of hearts, do you think that a diet with butter, cream, fat, chicken skin, bacon etc. would STILL be o.k. for someone who has been called a "walking timebomb"?

I so appreciate everyone's feedback you have no idea...I just don't know where else to go with all this information I got tonight...I need to take action but I am a single mom who has a teenage son and I need to be sure NOTHING happens to me and that I am here for the longrun...thanks in advance everyone
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:16 PM   #2
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This has been discussed before, I'll try and see if I can find the related threads.

Bottom line, IMO, you will not benefit from a statin. I would get serious about LC eating. You said it yourself, you've been eating crap all summer. When is NOW a good time to get started?

I would give yourself 1 month and go get a VAP and NMR Lipo profile test done. The standard test is an educated guess. The VAP directly measures your cholesterol. The NMR lipo counts your total LDL particles which are a much better indicator of health than the standard test.

And yes, as a 'heart patient' I fully endorse eating a high fat, low carb diet. I had severely high blood pressure and was labeled a 'walking time bomb' too. I did take the meds but there is plenty to show that a reduction in bp has plenty of benefits. With that said, on this WOE and a simple exercise program I've been able to get totally off meds.

I will be getting my bloodwork done very soon and I'm looking forward to the numbers.

EDIT:
Here's the link: No Red Yeast Rice and no statins for ME!

Oh and one more thing. Sit down, take a deep breath and relax...

Last edited by cobra2411; 08-30-2012 at 08:18 PM..
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:33 PM   #3
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Cobra, when I read your last line about sit down, take a breath and relax it made me start crying. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. This only happened a couple hours ago. You have no idea how much I appreciate your quick response and telling me that you, too, were referred to as a walking time bomb.

Funny enough, my blood pressure yesterday when they took it was 90/60. It's typically 96/66 so it was even low for me!

BTW, all my relatives are in Philly....I just adore the place! Thanks again for your support and comments.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:48 PM   #4
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Why do you have a cardiologist? What condition are you being treated for?

Let me put it another way- if you are being treated for an atherosclerotic condition, you should seriously consider statins or at least Red Yeast Rice, at least for the short term, until you can get your diet and weight loss back on track.

On the bright side, this is certainly a wake-up call for you! But it's thankfully not the kind of wake-up call that involves you being in an ambulance and getting heart stents. Hopefully it will be a whopping dose of motivation- just what we all need from time to time.

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Old 08-30-2012, 08:56 PM   #5
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Wake up call it is, Leslie. Three months ago I had to go to the ER for what they thought might have been a heart attack. That said, the enzymes were normal but there was nothing conclusive because I have a left bundle branch block which impairs their ability to know if I really had a heart attack or not.

It could have been anxiety or a myriad of other things. I didn't care for the cardiologist who was extremely (and that's an understatement) opinioniated and insisted that Atkins was an idiot and that low carb should be outlawed.

Marie
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:01 PM   #6
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Ira make a good point. The effectiveness of statins is in question, especially for women but if you have had a prior issue then it's better than nothing.

I still recommend those two tests before you freak out. Stress isn't good for cholesterol...

BTW my first doctor ended up being totally wrong about me. He said whatever was making my bp high was likely genetic and while diet and exercise would help in general I would be forever on meds.... Wrong.

What you have now is 1) a reason to get serious on the diet and 2) a reason to investigate further. If it were me I would get serious about the diet and get the tests in a month so you have something to judge your efforts on then you can go from there.

268 total cholesterol IMO doesn't make you a walking time bomb. It wasn't that long ago they thought 250 was ok. The cholesterol - atherosclerosis link is weak at best. Particle counts and VAP are MUCH better tools for diagnosis. There have been people with 'excellent' cholesterol numbers drop dead of a heart attack so...
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
the enzymes were normal
Then you likely didn't have a heart attack.

I got the same horse poo when I was going through my bp issue. I saw a cardiologist and had a stress test done and two weeks later when I called wondering where the results were he said I had an enlarged heart and that was likely the cause. When I switched doctors I got all my paperwork I saw his report and it said that no abnormalities were found.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marieze View Post
Wake up call it is, Leslie. Three months ago I had to go to the ER for what they thought might have been a heart attack. That said, the enzymes were normal but there was nothing conclusive because I have a left bundle branch block which impairs their ability to know if I really had a heart attack or not.

It could have been anxiety or a myriad of other things. I didn't care for the cardiologist who was extremely (and that's an understatement) opinioniated and insisted that Atkins was an idiot and that low carb should be outlawed.

Marie
So sorry your cardiologist is so obnoxious! Hardly helps compliance when you completely dismiss a patient's entire lifestyle. Sounds like you should find yourself another one, although you are right-- bacon and cheese would be a pretty tough sale to just about any cardiologist.

So what if, instead of doing all-out Atkins, you did sort of a compromise and maybe did South Beach Phase 1? The inventor of that diet, Dr. Agatston IS a cardiologist, after all. Have you ever tried that? I think the major difference is that he espouses less saturated fat-- but still plenty of lean meat and (low fat) dairy.

Leslie

Last edited by Gabby1; 08-30-2012 at 09:17 PM..
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marieze View Post
Last but not least....in your heart of hearts, do you think that a diet with butter, cream, fat, chicken skin, bacon etc. would STILL be o.k. for someone who has been called a "walking timebomb"?
The first time around, when I did Atkins.. it wasn't the oldest book from the 70's, it was the dandr (from I think the 90's) -- anyway from that book, I got the idea that the butter & bacon, etc., should still be sort of treats, & that the better choice for most-of-the-time was olive oil. So at that time, I ate eating (mainly) lower-fat meats. I would even squeeze out any excess grease--which I know some people think is gross, but as a child I learned from my dad & grandma to drain & even squeeze any excess grease from meat. BUT.. then my understanding of Atkins, I would Add back in a nice portion of Olive Oil. So now it was high-fat meat, only, a nice portion of the fat was from Olive oil, rather than animal fat.
Also, I would have salads with just a true plain vinagraitte, olive oil with vinegar. Oh, and plenty of nuts.

I remember the first time I went to my doctor after starting on that regimen, I remember the nurses comments about my enviably wonderful numbers. At the time I just thought it was Atkins, but looking back I think it was, just as much, the Olive Oil and the Vinegar.

So my own opinion would be that, given your numbers, you might want to do something similar, start off heavy on the olive oil rather than the animal fats. Olive Oil & vinegar truly are good for the heart, even the popular wisdom agrees about that, and so your doctor will be far less likely to object than if you talk about bacon & butter. And really, Oo & V will probably help you actively right from the start, whereas immediately changing to meat-fats could start off pushing your numbers in a more dangerous direction at first.

Last edited by fiddlejen; 08-30-2012 at 09:48 PM..
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:21 PM   #10
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Not quite sure I understand.

" Well, I have been screwing around and have not been doing lc and frankly, have been eating pretty much crap all summer long. I figured I'd clean up my act when school started this coming week"

You ate terribly all summer by your own admission, but now you want to run to statin drugs and you're afraid of a properly formulated low carb diet when eating off plan all summer got you where you are now???

Please watch this video:
I think it will explain a lot about why your blood levels were so bad and what to do about it.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:49 AM   #11
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If you're hyperthyroid (as your TSH indicates), then you need to find yourself a decent doctor because ALL of your problems may be due to your thyroid dysfunction.

I'm hypothyroid, but I went undiagnosed for about 5 years, and my LDL elevated to about your level. Doctors kept mentioning statins, and I ignored them. When my thyroid was finally treated, my LDL slowly went down to below 100 with no other treatment. My thyroid had elevated the LDL.

I know that hyperthyroid can cause heart issues because my endo has warned me to watch for symptoms (a hypo who is overmedicated can go hyper).

Our thyroid gland controls our endocrine system which, in turn, controls many other bodily functions. Before you deal with any other issues, you need to get your thyroid treated correctly. Good thyroid doctors are hard to find, so you need to make finding one a priority.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:17 AM   #12
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Getting a good endo dr to work with you on your thyroid issue will help too. One that is up to date on the newest levels. The newet ranges for tsh are 0.3 - 3.0 for "normal" I always feel best when mine is around 1. But you need the Whole thyroid panel T3, T4 etc..
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:18 AM   #13
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Personally, I would never take a statin, EVER! My numbers were far worse than yours before I started LCing. It only took one month for them to go back down into a normal range. I have halved my BP meds and am continuing to wean off of them slowly. My BP is excellent. When doctors say that Atkins is an idiot just proves to me that they are the idiots and haven't bothered to study for themselves. I am actually quite scared of those doctors. They are like letting children be in charge of things. YIKES! Medical professionals have an obligation, IMHO, to search a matter out beore dismissing something.

With that said, if you are going to get those numbers down into normal range with diet, you need to stick with it no matter what. This is your life. You need to prove to those doctors that it can be done. I, and so many others, are living proof that eating fat is healthy.
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:31 AM   #14
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Insist on seeing an endo for your thyroid issues! I have always had low cholesterol - and then suddenly it went through the roof. At the same time, I had stopped taking my thyroid meds because I was tired of all the pills I was taking for a number of issues. Stupid, I know, but live and learn! Fortunately, my doctor knew the link between low thyroid and high cholesterol. When I got back on meds, my cholesterol went back to where it always was before and has stayed there.

The fact that your doctor didn't immediately want to either refer you or do more blood work makes me think you need to see the endo instead of staying with her. I HATE it when doctors use statements like "ticking time bomb", etc., to get patients to comply with their need to push pills..............
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:54 AM   #15
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I think you need to get back to a good low carb eating program and stay on plan for a few months. Then have your blood work redone.

I am of the opinion that elevated numbers like yours are a symptom and the root of the problem is not the lipids but something like what was suggested, which is likely a thyroid issue. But your biggest immediate task is to get your diet in order.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:00 AM   #16
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1 - stay on plan. Bouncing between living a good LC life and then eating crap will put your cholesterol out of whack. It's normal to have fluctuations - but remember that high carbohydrates are what drives the liver to produce cholesterol. Excess carbs are stored as fat, as simple as that.

2 - cholesteral is not, in and of itself, bad - and there's still much to learn. Google "high cholesterol protective for women," for example, and find that (a) statins aren't proven to help older women UNLESS they already have cardiac problems, and (b) women with higher cholesterol live longer than women with low cholesterol. Puzzling stuff, eh?

3 - Look at other (non medical) approaches to managing your heart health. For example, inflammation plays a huge role in heart disease. Research anti-inflammatory foods, supplements, and behaviors - for example, dental hygiene - that protect your heart.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:22 AM   #17
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My cholesterol numbers have never fully made sense to me. Even on a very strict low carb diet, my LDL decreased slightly, triglycerides decreased more (but were still on the high side). My HDL did increase though. I think for some people it takes quite a while on low-carb to really see the effects.

I personally think it's more important to not be obese, so even though I'm seeing my endo in a few weeks and I know she will want me to lower my cholesterol (assuming it's high again), I'm going to focus my time on lowering my weight and keeping my blood sugar low. I think once I'm in a more normal weight range I can try to experiment with what brings my LDL down. I am going to ask for the tests cobra mentioned though.

I find cholesterol confusing in general. Some studies have shown low cholesterol is actually bad and that there is no link between high cholesterol and heart attack. At the same time, I KNOW for sure being obese is bad, I know it elevates my CRP, so I'm trying to focus on that.

Keep us updated on what happens with you! I'm always interested in seeing how other people deal with cholesterol issues, especially when most doctors only focus on the total cholesterol.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:49 AM   #18
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You have experimented on yourself so the results speak; Eating crap for 3 mos is causing damage.
This is not the same as eating a LC plan.

Find a LC plan you can stick to!!
Some can stick w VLC for long periods but others need the variety of a controlled carb plan.

There's also a load of research in the areas of alternate day fasting (such as JUDDD), IF, etc.

Take a look at the BBC special....you can link to it from the JUDDD subforum and also read some of the current research.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:20 AM   #19
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Janknitz, thanks for posting that video, it's an excellent find.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:06 AM   #20
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It is a great explanation. Too bad the most important stuff comes in the last five minutes of this hour plus video, but the background info is crucial.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:20 AM   #21
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Currently watching that video, and finding it fascinating. Thanks for the link Janknitz! It makes me feel better about worrying less about cholesterol and more about obesity.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:33 AM   #22
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I wouldn't blame LC for your condition, since you admit you werent on plan.

Please eat at induction levels and make sure those few carbs are from vegetables and not sweetners (except maybe up to 4-5g).

That stuff should improve.

I had my blood pressure raise, but I know it is stress because I can pinpoint what I am stressed/mad about.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:42 PM   #23
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My total cholesterol was 771 a couple years ago and I'm still alive a kicking. The problem was my thyroid and statins wouldn't have done diddly squat for my problem. All you need to do is get your eating back on track and find a doctor who understands thyroid conditions. Endos, for the most part only want to treat your TSH---big bad mistake. Thats one of the reasons my cholesterol got so high. I was being told "your TSH is PERFECT. Your thyroid is PERFECT. That almost killed me.Armour.com is a good resource for finding a Dr. Also the website stop the thyroid madness can arm you with the info you need to get the help and treatment you need for your thyroid. Good luck!
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Old 09-01-2012, 02:13 AM   #24
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Sooo I am in the same exact boat-my starting weight is 366-about the same as yours. My numbers were the same as yours and My doc put me on the lowest dose of Lipitor. I have been on it for a month, due to other issues, I haven't technically started low carb yet. All I can say is that I had some repeated bloodwork done last week and my doc called extremely happy-my nums dropped significantly. (i dont have the before and after labs in front of me, but my total cholesteral starting off was about 220). My and her plan is to only be on it until I get some weight off-not FoREvEr. It has actually motivated me to start this low carb way of eating again and diligently stick to it. Anywho-maybe just use it short term to bring your nums down??? I haven't experienced any side effects-IJS
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:58 AM   #25
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It's an individual decision. When I went on BP meds I really had no choice, however I was led to believe by my doctor at the time that even at 140/90 I was a ticking time bomb which isn't totally accurate. If diet and exercise changes are going to be taken then BP under 160/100 is acceptable. I was over that but today if I had another high BP issue and was under 160/100 I wouldn't reach for meds first.

If it were me, given all the information that's out there, if my cholesterol was 268 I would try diet and exercise first and recheck the numbers in a month to see what changes were made. 268 is really borderline but it's been proven that high cholesterol is a symptom not a cause. Treating the symptoms doesn't necessarily make you healthier.
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:00 AM   #26
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Hi from just up north of you!

First, yes, take another deep breath! See, you're still breathing, so obviously you're doing something right, right?

You are on the correct path just by being here, and you have more living, visible proof than probably most people in here have as to how drastically the crapfest you ate all summer affected your numbers in a bad way.

And you have proof that the LC way works for you and it's something you can do if you're determined enough. And obnoxious as your cardio was, use that as motivation to keep yourself on track even when the inevitable urges come.

I never quite reached the ticking time bomb stage, but my doc was progressively more concerned each visit with my ever-worstening numbers in all categories, cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, weight of course, etc. My BP was running 160s over 100s on two different meds.

Within three months of low carb with lots of fat, my BP runs 118-125 over 75 to low 80s, on ZERO meds. All other numbers hugely improved and a lot less pain from a generic neurological condition I have.

The stress you're going through right now is another excellent way to stay on course this time. People always want to wait for stress-free periods in life to quit smoking, lose weight, etc.

But when I finally quit smoking for good, the only time that it actually worked, I intentionally did it when everything in life was falling to crap. Then, instead of it getting harder as life got more stressful, it actually got easier as things started to straighten out as they eventually do. And next time life landed in the crapper again, since I hadn't smoked the last time, I didn't reach for them this time, either or the ones after that.

That was March of 1995 and I haven't had once since. Backwards logic, yes, but it worked and it can work for you if you use the stress and fear of your scary numbers and that anal orifice doctor, and everything else that's stressful in your life right now as a challenge to conquer it all by staying on the right eating path.

And like part of my signature line reads, don't forget to laugh today! It really does help.
:la ugh:
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Encouraging a food addict to "just have one treat, so you'll stay motivated and on track" is like encouraging an alcoholic to just have one drink so they won't fall off the wagon.

Last edited by MargeGunderson; 09-02-2012 at 02:01 AM..
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:53 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra2411 View Post
It's an individual decision. When I went on BP meds I really had no choice, however I was led to believe by my doctor at the time that even at 140/90 I was a ticking time bomb which isn't totally accurate. If diet and exercise changes are going to be taken then BP under 160/100 is acceptable. I was over that but today if I had another high BP issue and was under 160/100 I wouldn't reach for meds first.

If it were me, given all the information that's out there, if my cholesterol was 268 I would try diet and exercise first and recheck the numbers in a month to see what changes were made. 268 is really borderline but it's been proven that high cholesterol is a symptom not a cause. Treating the symptoms doesn't necessarily make you healthier.
"Simvastatin belongs to the group of medications known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors ("statins"). It is used in addition to diet and exercise to lower cholesterol levels."

The O.P. indicates that she is a 'walking time bomb' (according to her doctor) due to cholesteral and not high blood pressure. If her doctor wanted her to go on b.p. meds, that would be a different matter.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:06 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clackley View Post
"Simvastatin belongs to the group of medications known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors ("statins"). It is used in addition to diet and exercise to lower cholesterol levels."

The O.P. indicates that she is a 'walking time bomb' (according to her doctor) due to cholesteral and not high blood pressure. If her doctor wanted her to go on b.p. meds, that would be a different matter.
I understand the OP was talking about cholesterol and not BP, I just brought that up to share a "walking time bomb" story. I feel as though some doctors like to use that language to scare patients into compliance when they really are not walking time bombs.

I can appreciated an honest, candid conversation without all the euphemism and other scare tactics. Guess I'm weird...
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:11 AM   #29
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TSH doesn't determine hypo or hyper. Mine was lower than yours when I was diagnosed for hypothyroidism (which had my total cholesterol at 300 plus). You need way more testing done for thyroid.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:48 AM   #30
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Read this post with interest because I am doing my own searching and thinking.
I don't know if I should be posting here, the thyroid forum, or the diabetes forum. Sorry.

Early menopause (at age 39). I have been treated for an autoimmune related skin condition (LS) for over 15 years.

I am hypothyroid. I have gained about 80 pounds since I was diagnosed hypothyroid in 2008. I thought I had Hashimoto's as early as age 28 (30 years ago), but tests were always in normal range. I never thought to question that until I was diagnosed and started reading Mary Shomon's books.

I started seeing a new doctor in 2009. Tests were run because I was still exhausted and did not think I had optimal thyroid levels. My levothyroxine was increased. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and vitamin D deficiency. Heart tests, and cardiologist told I need to lose weight but results indicate that my heart and arteries are that expected of an average person of my age.

A year later the endocrinologist she had referred me to because of the vitamin D wanted to do a follow up visit. My doctor told me it was not necessary.

Later that year the question of diabetes was first raised because a panel for thyroid showed a fasting glucose of 126. I was able to manage by reducing carbs, but my doctor would not write me a script for more than one glucose reading a day. She told me it was not necessary to test more frequently. I disagreed because it helped me manage my behavior and determine what foods I shouldn't eat. So I kept ordering strips through Amazon where I could buy them for much less.

Three years later, and I am still tired. I to break from counting carbs as closely from late spring through October. Not a smart move, I know. It is a habit I am trying to break.


My fasting glucose was 148, and my A1C was 6.7. By August my fasting was 128, and my A1C was 6.5. The only readings that were high for me were fasting. All others were between 86 and 110. Started taking 1000 Metformin daily.

I had asked for Vitamin D test because there had never been follow-up. It was 25 (lab range 30-100), and as I understand it to be optimized the reading should be @ 80.

Spring 2012 August 2012
TSH 3.07
Cholesterol 191......... 215
Triglyceride 254........ 217
HDL........... ......... 44
LDL............ 99 .........128
Vitamin D .................25

Docas tor recommends 20 mg Simvastatin daily and 5000 UI D3 daily. I have gone back and forth on this one because the doctor has been right on so many other things. I still believe that at some point I can manage without Metformin, go off blood pressure medicine and only be taking levothyroxine if I change my behavior regarding carb consumption, lose about 80 pounds, and get more exercise (not necessarily in that order). A part of me thinks I should follow the doctor's advice about the statin, but then I think she messed about about not continuing to monitor my vitamin D levels. And I do not think my thyroid is optimized although I did convince her to take the .3-3.0 reference range for tsh into consideration. I think I would feel much better if my levels were somewhere closer to 2.0 or lower.

I have watched that video from USF twice today, and I still think I shouldn't take the statin, but I have doubts because I am not an expert. I don't know if I can find a doctor within 200 miles of where I live who would consider adjusting my medication for hypothyroid. I do think if my thyroid levels were optimized, there would be fewer problems with weight loss, energy levels, etc. I know the carb management and exercise are behaviors and habits I need to improve. I think statins would make it only harder to manage glucose levels. Rambling and apologizing for taking the discussion on a different tangent.
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