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Old 07-03-2017, 06:13 PM   #1
mmshadows
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Questions about statins

My doctor has tried to prescribe statins in the past, but I found a great deal of information here that supports not taking statins if you haven't had a heart attack.

I've been lowering my readings and A1C over the last 6 months. I've lost about 10 or 12 pounds and am continuing to lose by combining intermittent fasting and LC meals. All good, right?

My cholesterol readings are steadily dropping and the ratio of good to bad is 2:1.
Typically my triglycerides have run a little high and are equal to my blood glucose average.

Today my 2 hr post prandial was 127. I had slacked off on monitoring lately because I've been doing well consistently, and she asked me to start again. I anticipate that my A1C will drop again after today's test. Still good, right?

When I went in today, she looked at her computer and asked if I was taking a statin. I told her no and that I had refused it. I asked her why, and she sited a study that indicates that statins are recommended for diabetics and that they are considered the same as someone who has already had a heart attack because the statins will smooth plaque in the arteries from breaking off and causing stroke or blood clots. I asked her what about if I continue to make progress and can manage without Metformin, and her response was that the insurance company recommendation would not go away.

So my questions:
How many of our members are taking statins as diabetics?
My research indicates that statins elevate blood glucose levels, and I am working to lower mine and get healthy. Am I being unreasonable to not want to take them?
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:48 PM   #2
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I'm prediabetic and have been taking a statin for years even before there was evidence that they're not the "cure all" that the drug companies would have us believe. When I went through menopause, my blood sugar crept up and while my fasting BS is still normal, my A1c is prediabetic. Low carbing did not help so I am also on Metformin. I'm not sure if the statin is exacerbating my prediabetic A1c. My brother is diabetic and his doctor told him that because of that, his LDL needs to be even lower than a nondiabetic, so he's on a statin. I guess it may be because of what your doctor told you, that having diabetes is looked at like already having had a heart attack. I wish I knew what to tell you about taking statins. I'm actually afraid to go off mine because I've been on it for so long and my fraternal sister has coronary artery disease. My lifestyle and weight are healthy (lifelong exerciser and 105 lbs), so I must turn to meds (like Metformin and statin) to get my numbers in what are considered normal ranges. I know there are many people on this board who are totally against taking statins and I hope they read your post and respond. I'm sorry that I haven't been much help, but I wanted to answer your question as a prediabetic.
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Old 07-04-2017, 05:40 PM   #3
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Just a correction to my post: I meant to say that my fraternal TWIN sister has CAD.
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Old 07-05-2017, 12:28 AM   #4
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Thanks for responding, Ronnie. Those seem like pretty good reasons to me, and I understand why you want to keep taking a statin.

I'm just at a loss, and I am afraid of statins. A close relative has managed type 2 without meds, and I wish that I had advocated to do the same. At this point, I am taking a med for hypertension prescribed by previous doctor and continued by current doctor (long story about that one and tension headaches - once pain subsided, my bp was normal only high in doctor's office), Metformin, Synthroid and liothyronine for hypothyroidism, and 3 meds for lichen sclerosis (managed by another doctor who specializes in it). The last thing I want is to add a statin or another diabetes med.

I have shown her that I could lower my A1C through intermittent fasting and carb control. And I want to continue working on that.

I'm just nervous about adding any new meds. I haven't had a complete panel and my TSH tested since last April (at least I can't find a copy of my labs in either the hospital files or the clinic files on the web portals). First she told me that she was willing to prescribe either something like Nature Thyroid or Synthroid (as opposed to generic). I agreed to try Synthroid first and then if it didn't work, I would be asking about a natural product. Well, she said my panels couldn't be done for 6 months after starting a new med.

I started having really bad case of diarrhea within 30 minutes of taking Losartan, Synthroid, and liothrynine (cytomel) in the a.m. The only change in medication was switching to Synthroid from the generic. I asked her if we could reduce my Synthroid dose because this wasn't happening prior to the switch. She agreed to reduce it from 88 units to 75 although she was sure it was my Metformin. I told her I was taking my Metformin in late afternoon because my only high readings are in the morning, so I did not think it was my Metformin. I was also not having problems with Metformin until the change from levothyroxine to Synthroid.

I went to 75 units, and then she said we couldn't check my TSH for 6 months because of the dosage change. With the dosage change, no more diarrhea. Just very urgent need to get to the bathroom within 30 minutes of my first meal of the day. To complicate matters, the pharmacy had two scripts on file (88 units and 75), so one time I went in for a refill they told me that my prescription was out and I would need a refill. I noted that was odd because my Cytomel should need a refill too. They didn't catch it, and refilled for 3 months at 88 units again. I caught it about 5 weeks ago. I know my labs from Tuesday are probably not valid.

So at this recent appointment (before labs were drawn), I asked about reducing Synthroid because I was still having some side effects. Again she was certain it was Metformin. I don't think it is for reasons described above.

In her summary notes she said that she was considering reducing Metformin and adding a second diabetes drug. She also noted that she talked to me about taking Culturelle, but I don't recall her saying anything about probiotics.

So I logged into the lab portal last night. I had hoped my A1C would be lower again this time, but it was about where it was in March. That just means more work on monitoring, diet, and exercise. I had made great progress in March, and then I slacked off. But my TSH was .07, and in April 2016 it was something like .17 or .18 (I don't have the report in front of me right now). But it would seem that there is merit in reducing my Synthroid because the TSH is so low. When I brought that up the other day, she told me she would reduce or take me off Cytomel first.

She knows my goal is to reduce meds (the number of scripts I have), and whenever we talk about side effects she wants to add more. She made an appointment with an endocrinologist from Mayo to talk about thyroid meds and disease after she was diagnosed. She asked questions for herself and for her patients. He told her that T3 (cytomel) makes hypo patients feel better because it is a mood elevator that is prescribed for people with depression. The same endo told her there was no need for her to continue monitoring free T4 and free T3 after diagnosis.

A lot of these things are concerning to me. This is the second appointment I've had with her when she has a long day and there are fewer doctors in the clinic. Other times our communication is better. Maybe I'm worrying too much.

Last edited by mmshadows; 07-05-2017 at 12:30 AM..
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:55 AM   #5
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first up, I do not have diabetes. I have done a lot of research on statins.

The logic of statins is to lower cholesterol. Why do you want to lower your cholesterol, because the long held belief which doctors still espouse is that high cholesterol causes heart disease and LDL is particularly bad.

You have to still be in that belief system if you decide to take them, otherwise what is the logic?

Data would suggest diabetes is associated with high risk of heart disease, but its also linked with a high risk of cancers and auto immune diseases. Does one start to take drugs to prevent these as well?

Why dont you do some research on what causes high blood glucose. You will find its not just food.......stress and lack of sleep being a couple. Rather than look at statins why dont you keep analyzing yourself and find the root cause of high blood sugar and sort that out.
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:32 AM   #6
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Thank you, battler.

I was pretty much frustrated last night after looking at my labs again and again and a 5th night of dealing with my young border collie who finds thunder and fireworks things of evil. I felt so bad for him and seeing the labs was the last straw.

After reading your post, I emailed the clinic and said I wanted a follow-up appointment to talk about lab results and meds. This morning I had a call with med recommendations that included lowering my Synthroid dosage because my TSH is too low and considering changing my diabetes meds. I really do think the side effects are tied to a too low TSH and the Synthroid, but we shall see.

I do need to look at other factors that elevate glucose as you noted. Sound advice, and I appreciate the reminder.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:38 AM   #7
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mmshadows, I totally understand your wanting to reduce the number of meds you take. I am on five meds myself, Levoxyl 50 mcg (I was on Synthroid but asked for Levoxyl because it's almost half the price and is a brand name drug....my doctor insists that thyroid hormones should NOT be generic and I do agree with him), two blood pressure meds, Metformin for prediabetes, and a statin. I agree with you that your TSH is probably too low. Of course I'm not a doctor so I can't say whether lowering Synthroid or stopping Cytomel is the answer. When my thyroid was hyper, my resting heart rate was very fast, I was losing weight, I was very shaky and had an intolerance to exercise. Are you experiencing any of those side effects as well? Diarrhea is also a side effect of hyperthyroid which can be caused by too high a Synthroid dose. But it's also the number one side effect of Metformin (I'm one of the lucky ones....never experienced digestive upset from Metformin). Are you on the immediate form of Metformin? Maybe switching to the Extended version would work better for you. I'm on that and take two 500mg at the same time with my evening meal. As far as statins, I'm no expert but in my past research I did read that they also reduce inflammation which is a major cause of many diseases and conditions. If that's true, then perhaps the lowering of inflammation and not necessarily the lowering of LDL is preventing heart attacks and strokes in people who take them. It does take time to find the right balance of meds for each individual, and getting there can be quite a difficult process. I hope your doctor can work it out with you. As far as waiting six months to do labs, I think three months should suffice, at least that's my doctor's way of thinking. I do wish you the best.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:16 AM   #8
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Thanks, Ronnie. I know I'm going to have to continue the thyroid meds and the LS meds no matter what. But my hope was to eventually be able to go off Metformin and bp meds.

I heard from the doctor's office this morning, and she recommended reducing my Synthroid from 75 units to 50 w/no change to the Cytomel (25 units split and taken in 2 doses because of it's half life).

The only things I've noticed with the lower TSH besides the diarrhea, would be tiring easily, energy but low endurance, and some additional aches & pains from exercise. I would never had made a connection to those because of my TSH dropping. There's been weight loss, but it has only been since February when I got serious about intermittent fasting and carb management. I've had low TSH for much longer and no significant weight loss.

So many things could be contributing to the bowel issues. I'm hopeful that it is tied to the lower TSH. I've never had trouble with Metformin either, so I would really be sad to learn that it is a cause of the problems.

I'm hoping that we reassess meds again in 3 months as well. Best wishes to you also. I really appreciate talking to you and others here.
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Old 07-05-2017, 03:30 PM   #9
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As far as statins, I'm no expert but in my past research I did read that they also reduce inflammation which is a major cause of many diseases and conditions. If that's true, then perhaps the lowering of inflammation and not necessarily the lowering of LDL is preventing heart attacks and strokes in people who take them.
I have read this as well, but before going on a statin, make the diet anti-inflammatory, no grains, no dairy, no nightshades, but lots of omega 3s from seafood. I personally take a turmeric supplement everyday.
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:10 PM   #10
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My husband has been diagnosed as Type II and has only ever taken Red Yeast Rice (a "natural" statin) but I eventually got him to stop taking it. Stains block an enzymatic process that occurs in every cell in your body. As a woman with insulin resistance, I personally will never take statins (my cholesterol is in "normal" range so thankfully I don't get pressured to do so). I agree with PP that diet is a much better way to improving your health than taking a statin.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:35 AM   #11
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Diet is always the way to go. However, many people have genetic risk factors regardless of diet. I am one of them. Low carb, lifelong exerciser, 105 lbs....yet my A1c is still considered prediabetic.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:47 AM   #12
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I'm prediabetic and have been taking a statin for years even before there was evidence that they're not the "cure all" that the drug companies would have us believe. When I went through menopause, my blood sugar crept up and while my fasting BS is still normal, my A1c is prediabetic. Low carbing did not help so I am also on Metformin. I'm not sure if the statin is exacerbating my prediabetic A1c. My brother is diabetic and his doctor told him that because of that, his LDL needs to be even lower than a nondiabetic, so he's on a statin. I guess it may be because of what your doctor told you, that having diabetes is looked at like already having had a heart attack. I wish I knew what to tell you about taking statins. I'm actually afraid to go off mine because I've been on it for so long and my fraternal sister has coronary artery disease. My lifestyle and weight are healthy (lifelong exerciser and 105 lbs), so I must turn to meds (like Metformin and statin) to get my numbers in what are considered normal ranges. I know there are many people on this board who are totally against taking statins and I hope they read your post and respond. I'm sorry that I haven't been much help, but I wanted to answer your question as a prediabetic.
Thanks for your input. I too struggle to decide where I stand on statins. One thing to remember is that statins can lower CoQ10 levels so definitely take a supplement if you aren't already.
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Old 07-13-2017, 12:09 PM   #13
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Thanks for your input. I too struggle to decide where I stand on statins. One thing to remember is that statins can lower CoQ10 levels so definitely take a supplement if you aren't already.
Yes, thank you, taking CoQ10 among some other supplements.
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Old 07-18-2017, 08:49 AM   #14
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Thanks for responding, Ronnie. Those seem like pretty good reasons to me, and I understand why you want to keep taking a statin.

I'm just at a loss, and I am afraid of statins. A close relative has managed type 2 without meds, and I wish that I had advocated to do the same. At this point, I am taking a med for hypertension prescribed by previous doctor and continued by current doctor (long story about that one and tension headaches - once pain subsided, my bp was normal only high in doctor's office), Metformin, Synthroid and liothyronine for hypothyroidism, and 3 meds for lichen sclerosis (managed by another doctor who specializes in it). The last thing I want is to add a statin or another diabetes med.

I have shown her that I could lower my A1C through intermittent fasting and carb control. And I want to continue working on that.

I'm just nervous about adding any new meds. I haven't had a complete panel and my TSH tested since last April (at least I can't find a copy of my labs in either the hospital files or the clinic files on the web portals). First she told me that she was willing to prescribe either something like Nature Thyroid or Synthroid (as opposed to generic). I agreed to try Synthroid first and then if it didn't work, I would be asking about a natural product. Well, she said my panels couldn't be done for 6 months after starting a new med.

I started having really bad case of diarrhea within 30 minutes of taking Losartan, Synthroid, and liothrynine (cytomel) in the a.m. The only change in medication was switching to Synthroid from the generic. I asked her if we could reduce my Synthroid dose because this wasn't happening prior to the switch. She agreed to reduce it from 88 units to 75 although she was sure it was my Metformin. I told her I was taking my Metformin in late afternoon because my only high readings are in the morning, so I did not think it was my Metformin. I was also not having problems with Metformin until the change from levothyroxine to Synthroid.

I went to 75 units, and then she said we couldn't check my TSH for 6 months because of the dosage change. With the dosage change, no more diarrhea. Just very urgent need to get to the bathroom within 30 minutes of my first meal of the day. To complicate matters, the pharmacy had two scripts on file (88 units and 75), so one time I went in for a refill they told me that my prescription was out and I would need a refill. I noted that was odd because my Cytomel should need a refill too. They didn't catch it, and refilled for 3 months at 88 units again. I caught it about 5 weeks ago. I know my labs from Tuesday are probably not valid.

So at this recent appointment (before labs were drawn), I asked about reducing Synthroid because I was still having some side effects. Again she was certain it was Metformin. I don't think it is for reasons described above.

In her summary notes she said that she was considering reducing Metformin and adding a second diabetes drug. She also noted that she talked to me about taking Culturelle, but I don't recall her saying anything about probiotics.

So I logged into the lab portal last night. I had hoped my A1C would be lower again this time, but it was about where it was in March. That just means more work on monitoring, diet, and exercise. I had made great progress in March, and then I slacked off. But my TSH was .07, and in April 2016 it was something like .17 or .18 (I don't have the report in front of me right now). But it would seem that there is merit in reducing my Synthroid because the TSH is so low. When I brought that up the other day, she told me she would reduce

She knows my goal is to reduce meds (the number of scripts I have), and whenever we talk about side effects she wants to add more. She made an appointment with an endocrinologist from Mayo to talk about thyroid meds and disease after she was diagnosed. She asked questions for herself and for her patients. He told her that T3 (cytomel) makes hypo patients feel better because it is a mood elevator that is prescribed for people with depression. The same endo told her there was no need for her to continue monitoring free T4 and free T3 after diagnosis.

A lot of these things are concerning to me. This is the second appointment I've had with her when she has a long day and there are fewer doctors in the clinic. Other times our communication is better. Maybe I'm worrying too much.
I'm sorry I don"t have much insight on the diabetes or cholesterol questions, but the part I bolded above is nonsense.

Thyroid patients are often *misdiagnosed* with depression, so yes, thyroid hormones make them feel better, but it is because they are being treated, not because T3 is a "mood elevator."

You need absolutely need regular monitoring of FT3 and FT4 while taking replacement hormones. Things can change and your doasage may need to be adjusted.

Cholesterol is often high in people with hypothyroidism and it comes down when the thyroid is treated properly. It doesn't sound like your current doctor knows how to do that. Personally, I wouldn't take a statin, especially if the thyroid problem isn't straightened out.

The endo your doctor talked to was either clueless about thyroid (many of them are) or she really didn't understand/remember what she was told.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:31 AM   #15
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I have both elevated cholesterol and a non working Thyroid for which I've been taking 50mcg Levoxyl (previously Synthroid, but switched to Levoxyl as it's half the price). In my case, my cholesterol was elevated many years before I developed thyroid issues which occurred shortly after menopause. The cholesterol is genetic, but not the thyroid as no one else in my family has it. My Mother is still on Crestor at age 88; she's down to 2 pills per week. Her problem is very high triglycerides which my sister inherited. I've never had elevated triglycerides, but I have higher than "normal" LDL, while my HDL has always been high. I've asked the doctor several times if my Mother still needs to be on a statin at her age, and the doctor just shrugs her shoulders. Who knows....maybe it has helped her heart stay healthy to age 88. I still believe that a statin's anti inflammatory properties are a good thing even if the lowering cholesterol part may not really be helping. The real issue is, do the benefits outweigh the risks? Obviously, no one knows, even though the drug companies are saying they do because their main motivation is making money, not keeping people healthy.

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Old 07-19-2017, 07:17 AM   #16
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Ronnie, just curious. Does your mother eat a low carb diet? I've heard that low carb drops triglycerides like a rock and mine have been lower when I'm staying low carb.
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:07 AM   #17
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Ronnie, just curious. Does your mother eat a low carb diet? I've heard that low carb drops triglycerides like a rock and mine have been lower when I'm staying low carb.
No, she doesn't eat low carb, but her situation is not normal. Six years ago she was diagnosed with stomach cancer where they removed 3/4 of her stomach. She lost about 50 pounds afterwards, which, fortunately, she could spare. So, now she eats very little, and a lot of carbs. Her triglycerides are still too high but a lot lower than they were when she was younger, but I think that's because of the small amount of food that she eats since her surgery. She never ate low carb, never had any type of healthy diet.
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Old 07-24-2017, 12:03 PM   #18
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I am diabetic, with an A1c consistently below 7 (ranging from 6.2 - 6.8), controlling my blood sugar primarily through low-carb diet and one low-dose of Metformin a day. My cholesterol ratios are pretty consistently in the healthy range.

That being said, my doc still wants me to take a statin, and I have to tell her no almost every time I have an appt.

So long as my cholesterol is in the "healthy" range, I see no reason to take a statin. Statins may be useful for people with elevated cholesterol, but it has too many side effects for me to take it when I don't have elevated cholesterol.
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:21 AM   #19
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Synger, if you don't want to take a statin, just keep saying no. The doctor is protecting herself by putting it in your file that she suggested it and you declined. Our doctor does that with DH with every visit, too.
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:05 AM   #20
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Synger, if you don't want to take a statin, just keep saying no. The doctor is protecting herself by putting it in your file that she suggested it and you declined. Our doctor does that with DH with every visit, too.


I agree with Carol Sue. mmShadows, you're doing great for yourself doing intermittent fasting which is suppose to help with many medical conditions. All should not only read Alternative Day Diet by Dr. Johnson, but also watch all the videos by Dr. Jason Fung on YouTube. Keep in mind all the meds you're spending a fortune on (giving you side effects to need more meds) are only treating the symptoms, not the cause of your conditions.

For me personally, I refuse drugs. I've been seeing a Naturopathy Doctor for a lung condition I developed breathing in bug spray several years ago which sheared my lungs. If I had gone to a medicare doctor I can imagine the therapy he/she would have put me on. I'd probably be connected to an oxygen tank plus all kinds of meds. As it is, I'm improving just using Nutritional Supplements. BTW, I've only been to him since June and I'm practically back to normal. Most likely my Intermittent fasting has also helped.

BTW, all doctors except a few claim vitamins don't work, aren't any good, etc. Bull! Did everyone know that Sen. McCain put forth a Bill several years ago so one could only get vitamins with a prescription? What does that tell you!

Caution: People on drugs can't take all vitamins. If taking BP meds, can't take
Vitamin E. Why? Because Vitie E also thins the blood.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:32 AM   #21
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For those who must take a statin, it's important to note that statins lower CoQ10 levels in the body. This is because cholesterol and CoQ10 are made in the same pathway (lower cholesterol, lower CoQ10). CoQ10 is needed to help our cells produce energy via the mitochondria. You can imagine why lowering CoQ10 levels may be a problem!

Red yeast rice, often used as a natural alternative to statins, works on the same pathway and can also lower CoQ10. Taking a CoQ10 supplement can help keep levels stable.
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:16 AM   #22
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Start Date: November 2009
I've dropped in and read, but I haven't posted lately. I've been working to do better w/fasting and numbers. My doctor would probably say I test too often, but how do you make adjustments and modifications unless you monitor your behavior? Thank you for posting and helping me sort through things.

Anyway....I've been using a spreadsheet that I found on the site of a former member. It tracks averages for readings and estimates your A1C. It's accurate for me within .2 points. The spreadsheet highlights any readings that are 140 or above. Since 7/3, I've had many readings between 108 and 139. Since the 8/1, I've had 12 readings out of 19 that are between 102 and 138. I'm having more readings below 140 when I wake up. They used to range from 140-167. When I went to bed last night my reading was 108. I've found that it is better for me to wake about 3 a.m. and have a light snack (maybe an atkins shake or cheese or peanut butter/celery), and when I do my morning readings are below 140. The days that I don't my reading are between 136 and 145. So I'm getting there - s-l-o-w-l-y. As of today my average reading is 140 and estimated A1C is 6.79. My best A1C this year was 6.9 down from 7.3. My doctor would be happy with 6.5, but I want to get in the 5s and go off Metformin. I think I can.

If my numbers continue to steadily drop and maintain, I should see lower triglycerides, and that should cut back on the recommendations for statins. That seems to be one of the scores she looks at before reminding me of statins. I agree that I doubt she will stop recommending them because it's probably a formality for documentation.

I go back to watch Fung's videos regularly because they help me stay on track. I've heard about the alternate day diet. I need to look for that book. Thank you!

I've been watching videos by another doctor. He talks about the connections with different systems and how one affects the other. (example: thyroid disease, type 2, and something else - maybe hypertension). If one is messed up, you can bet that others will follow sooner or later. He talks about the impact of chronic stress (emotional, physical, and chemical).

Vitamins are critical. After one test with my vitamin D in optimal range, she wanted to stop monitoring it. That concerns me because there can always be an ebb and flow in results as with any other system you monitor. It doesn't completely go away. So I still take D3 supplements (every other day in the spring/summer/fall because I'm outdoors more).

My doctor stopped monitoring my Free T3 and Free T4 at the recommendation of an endocrinologist she visited. That does concern me, but she did lower my Synthroid from 88 to 75 (I don't take generic) and didn't touch my cytomel (I take 25 unit - from split pill twice a day). I haven't fought that too much because I think my T3 will stay in the upper quartile as long as she doesn't touch it. I do have more energy, but my endurance levels are not very high yet. So I do physical things in bursts.

I haven't seen much weight loss since January. Maybe 13 or 14 pounds. But I have dropped 3 jeans sizes, and I will soon be ready for another drop in size. I wish I would see the weight drop too, but for now i'm happy in the other changes I'm seeing.

I've been looking at supplements that Isabella Wentz (I think I have the name right), a pharmacist who has written a book about drug muggers that can enhance/improve your health. I haven't ordered them, but I would love to talk to someone who has tried them. One supports diabetes, and the other supports the thyroid.

I know I've posted a small book. I may have also talked so fast that I've left out details that help make sense. But I'm feeling pretty good about everything but my morning readings even though they are improving. If I had them in line, my averages would be closer to 126.
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:19 AM   #23
mmshadows
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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Start Date: November 2009
P.S. I agree about the endo telling her that about cytomel. I've been talking to people in two other groups who tell me it may be time to fire her. I do believe that if I ask again, I can get her to test the Free T3/Free T4. I'm just going to ask her what can it hurt if it can provide information that would bring me peace of mind.
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