Forum Archives

Return to Forum List


You are not logged in. Login here or register.

Pages: 1 · 2

trustagain posted 12/4/2013 11:26 AM

Doctor called with blood results. My cholesterol is 308 - he was going to put me a statin, but then I questioned the results since I was not fasting. I really don't want to be put on meds. He asked why I didn't fast and I told him I didn't know they were planning to take blood in the office. Usually I get a script and go to a lab.

He has given me three months to do what I can do naturally to lower the levels. If they don't reduce by at least 30% he will put me on meds.

Is it possible to lower it that much? I certainly could eat salads, no sweets, etc. for the next three months, but I know I can't do that long term, so I am not going to go crazy and give up everything. I will moderate it and give it a good try, but to only eat veggies, fruit and chicken for the rest of my life is not realistic. I don't like fish (I like seafood) so that is out.

Any other tips to get my numbers down.

MissMouseMo posted 12/4/2013 11:48 AM

If you need to lose weight, that will help.

I have recently read about some good results using cinnamon extract of all things (double blind placebo trials, reputable science out of the Univ. of Shanghai and reported through the U.S. Nat'l Institutes of Health / PubMed) and I have heard anecdotal evidence for coconut oil diet supplements (and in cooking to boost the effect), as well as natural statins like niacin supplements.

Like chicken soup: can't hurt.
(Be careful with the niacin - the "niacin flush" can be uncomfortable or worse. Start slow.)

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 12/4/2013 11:50 AM

As unbelievable as it sounds, if you keep your carbs low (30g or less/day), your numbers should get back in line.

Lionne posted 12/4/2013 12:10 PM

I had one crazy test result like that. I had the blood test in the afternoon, had eaten a high carb lunch with dessert, not typical for me, I avoid sweets in the afternoon. My total cholesterol is typically 200 but my ratio is usually 70/140.

Try eating sensibly for the 3 mos and see what happens. No one wants to take meds but if it reduces your risk of death, you might want to consider it...

ajsmom posted 12/4/2013 12:12 PM

It sounds to me like he's looking to see what lifestyle changes you can make to lower them permanently, not just for the next three months to avoid the meds.

I would certainly have the tests retaken during a fast as is recommended, but beyond that, it sounds like if you're unwilling or unable to make the changes yourself, the meds may be the route to go. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women.

Also, don't forget, some cholesterol issues are heredity.


tushnurse posted 12/4/2013 12:25 PM

If you were not fasting the it isn't a reliable result period.

Clean up your diet, lean proteins, and minimize sugars and carbs they feed the triglycerides. Also ask what your HDL (good cholesterol) level was, if this is high then it does negate the total somewhat.

Yes to answer you question, you can make your numbers be significantly different in a matter of a few weeks. On the week before your test, do not drink any alcohol, and stay away from sweets completely. If your HDL is good too then you need to ask the Dr if they are taking that into consideration, there are some PCP's out there that dont. Two other easy things to do that can bring your numbers down is to add Niacin (buy the no flush kind), and Fish Oil. These will help to bring down your LDL.

So to summarize, Protiens that are lean, and high quality are good. Carbs, sugars, and alcohol are bad. Fish Oil, and Niacin can make a big difference. Increase your activity as well that will drive up your good cholesterol.

The fact that you weren't fasting, and he still wanted to act on it is a bit concerning to me. Where I come from that is considered a throw away lab, and we do a redraw. Also go to your normal lab for the draw, not the office. The office like to draw them nowadays because they can bill insurance for it.

hallelujah posted 12/4/2013 12:37 PM

I had a heart attack and bypass surgery at age 37. Scared me. I went on a vegetarian, low fat diet and exercise at least three times a week. I am on the lowest possible dose of statin. With my most recent cholesterol test, the doctor was extremely pleased. There is only a small percentage of effect that you can make with natural strategies as most cholesterol is produced by your liver rather than taken in by diet, but to me, it was serious enough that I was willing to do whatever it took. I followed Dr. Dean Ornish's program very seriously at first, though recently I have not been as religious about it. You need to find what works for you.

trustagain posted 12/4/2013 12:50 PM

Thank you for the replies.

I already eat everything that is low in fat. Low fat cottage cheese, yogurt, salad dressing, sour cream, etc. I don't put cheese on sandwiches - low salt, low fat meats on sandwiches, mustard - no mayo. I try and stay away from fast foods (cheat once in a blue moon).

I could stand to lose 10-20 pounds so that may be one of the problems.

I hate exercising, but I think if I really put effort into it, that may help as well.

How do giving up carbs help? I know the only way to lose weight for me is to give up carbs - I lose weight doing that, but I eat meat, cheese, eggs, butter, blue cheese dressing, etc. All these foods I love so it isn't hard to do it, but to me that is a lot of fat.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 12/4/2013 13:05 PM

Check these out for more info on carbs:

I can personally attest to lowering carbs having a significant impact on cholesterol. At the beginning of the year, my Dr. put me on Lipitor. Well, I really didn't like the diabetes association with that, so I only took it for the first month and went low carb (I had some weight to lose, too). I recently had my tests re-done and the results came with a note from the Dr. saying that all of my results were VERY good. Blood sugar, sodium, cholesterol, and everything else are great!

[This message edited by ThoughtIKnewYa at 1:11 PM, December 4th (Wednesday)]

Dreamboat posted 12/4/2013 13:21 PM

Watch out for those low fat items like salad dressing. They often contain a lot of sugar to make them taste better.

As far as exercise, try to increase your walking. Take a walk at lunch and/or after dinner. Even that small change can make a difference.

I have very low HDL (the good kind) although my overall numbers look good. The only things that have helped are NiaSpan (prescription strength niacin), Fish oil pills, and exercise.

tushnurse posted 12/4/2013 13:58 PM

You have to watch the "Low Fat" trap. Carbs feed your cholestserol levels. Many many things that are low fat have increased sugars and carbs.
It's ok to eat good proteins, this includes limited amounts of red meats, and eggs. Many americans have been suckered into the belief of the "Low Fat" miracle of the 90's. But what we have really truly found is a good balance of things, and eliminating "High Fructose Corn Syrup" from your diet is much more effective than anything when it comes to dietary changes impacting our cholesterol levels.

Like I said if you were my patient and that level came back on a NonFasting Lab we would throw it out, and start over. Alcohol is a big driver of Triglycerides too. Don't forget that tidbit. I did on some labs a few years ago, and my Tri's were significantly elevated. Redid them 6 months later, with no other changes, just no booze 48 hours before and they were back down to their low normal range.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 12/4/2013 14:04 PM

Also, when you have time, watch this (Fathead):

It explains how carbs raise cholesterol and a host of other things.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 12/4/2013 14:14 PM

eliminating "High Fructose Corn Syrup" from your diet is much more effective than anything when it comes to dietary changes impacting our cholesterol levels.
That stuff is poison! And it's in almost everything that's processed!

Some people are going to find this hard to believe, but I KNOW I was taught the wrong things about healthy diet because the diet that had the most devastating and lasting impact on my body??... A low-fat vegetarian diet!! Yep! I gained weight, felt like crap, and developed PCOS and some autoimmune stuff, too! That was back in my 20s and I've toyed with low-carb off and on since my early thirties, but I ALWAYS feel better when I'm low carb. I'm at the point where low carb is more automatic for me now. I don't have to think about it too much because I KNOW how that stuff makes me feel. The Fathead movie really highlights the 'whys' of all of that, though. It makes it very easy to understand.

Lionne posted 12/4/2013 16:34 PM

Hmmmm. I read that "no flush" niacin hasn't proven to be effective. I'd love to hear conflicting information: my fwh needs to take it but flushes horribly...

trustagain posted 12/4/2013 17:15 PM

Also, when you have time, watch this (Fathead):

I just finished watching this - very interesting. I am going to try and cut down on the carbs and exercise a bit more. By cutting out carbs, do I really need to give up all fruit? I know they are carbs, but they seem so natural.

High Cholesterol may just be my future - heart disease is in my family, but I really want to control it as best I can without meds. If meds are in my future then I will have to live with that.

I also ran out and got vitamins. I have never taken them, but I figured they won't hurt.

Dreamboat posted 12/4/2013 17:43 PM

I read that "no flush" niacin hasn't proven to be effective

I don't know about the no-flush niacin. Niaspan is prescription and I think is also time released (not sure about that part). It does cause flushing which can be awful. But I have found that I have built up a tolerance to the flushing. For me there is no rhyme or reason to when I flush or even the time frame after I take the pills. I have tried all of the recommendations to reduce flushing put out by the drug company and none of them made any difference. When I flush I have grin and bear it and wait it out. I am also on the highest does that is typically prescribed.

I can attest that for me it has helped. HDL is supposed to be above 40 and ideally above 60. Mine was 17. It stayed stuck at 17 until I started taking Niaspan. I hated it at first because of the flushing but now I just keep telling myself that it is helping so just grin and bear it. My level is still low but the combo of Niaspan and fish oil has raised my level to 26. I also try to exercise and I am sure if I did cardio for an hour every day then it would help. But I do not have the time or inclination to do an hour of exercise a day.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 12/4/2013 17:50 PM

I also ran out and got vitamins. I have never taken them, but I figured they won't hurt.
They will if you take them on an empty stomach, so be sure to eat first.

As far as fruit is concerned, some of it is better than others. If you're interested in trying to give low carb a go, go to the Atkins website and have a look at all (and there's a LOT) of their info on how it works... I think it's called the science behind Atkins? Anyway, take a look at that. A lot of people get confused and think Atkins is only the first, strictest stage of the diet, but really you start out strict and add carbs back in until you reach a comfortable level.

Fruit is something I try not to do too much because it raises my blood sugar and makes me feel yucky. I eat a boatload of veggies, though.

Junebug0525 posted 12/5/2013 00:10 AM

My cholesterol used to be around 220. At the time I was around 28 or so, I think and weighed roughly 120lbs. I began the Paleo diet in July of 2011. Since then (I've fallen off the wagon a couple times around the holidays since my mother can't seem to understand the whole "Don't send cookies" bit) my cholesterol is around 178, good chol is up, bad is down, and my blood pressure went from around 135/?? to 117/75ish. I know that you don't want to do just meat and veggies, but if you get a couple Paleo cookbooks, you'll see that there are SOOOOO many options, including breads (made with almond or coconut flour). Over time your tastes will change and you will find yourself craving the healthy stuff rather than the sugar/carb filled crap that is sold in stores.

Oh, and fat is actually NOT bad for you. The low-fat stuff is. It's got a lot of added crap to it to make it taste good. Go the full fat route and cut down on the carbs. Sugars especially. Sweet potatoes, veggies, etc are fine for carb intake. Knock out the breads.

The Paleo Solution is a good book to help you understand how food interacts with your body and why things are bad for it, and Everyday Paleo is a GREAT cookbook for starting out. Sarah Fragoso has made several follow-ups, including an Italian version.

[This message edited by Junebug0525 at 12:15 AM, December 5th (Thursday)]

brooke4 posted 12/5/2013 03:07 AM

There is a lot of new research pointing to sugar/refined carbs as being a much bigger factor in heart disease than saturated fat. It's definitely worth doing some reading.

If you have a good doctor, it's worth asking him to not only re-run the test when you're fasting, but if that comes back high, to do some further testing. It's very simple for them to run a couple of scans - heart calcification and carotid artery - to see whether cholesterol is actually building up, or whether you just have high blood levels. There is also more detailed blood testing that they can do that looks at the shape and size of the cholesterol particles--my understanding is that certain types are problematic and certain types aren't.

For what it's worth, two of my doctors (both women in their late 40s) have told me that they don't have their cholesterol checked at all.

That said, I have found my levels have gone from ok to excellent on the 5-2 diet plan, and that's without really paying any attention to what I eat on the non-fasting days. There's an interesting BBC show about it:

itainteasy posted 12/5/2013 08:41 AM

I had very high triglycerides. I started alternating between oatmeal (with no sugar, and made with skim milk), and cheerios (also, no sugar, skim milk) for breakfast. I reduced my triglycerides by 200 pts.

My total cholesterol is still high, but not high enough that my doctor wants to start me on medication for it. (we're talking 20 pts over the "high" limit)

I work as phlebotomist for a doctor's office and when my patients ask me what they are allowed to have during a fast I tell them "water." No coffee, tea, energy drinks, gatorade, sodas, even the sugar free kinds. NONE.

I also recommend if a cholesterol check is ordered, they stay away from chocolate and alcohol for a week. Those pump the trigs up high.

I don't understand why they even drew your blood, if you weren't fasting. Whether my office can bill insurance or not for the draws, if the patient isn't fasting for fast recommended testing, they don't get drawn. Patient care comes before money in my book. If they didn't ask you if you were fasting, that's strike two. I ask people if they are fasting before EVERY draw I perform, whether fasting is indicated or not. I work 7am-330 pm, and while it's not common for people to fast after 1200--I still ask. The performing lab's system likes to know if the samples are fast or non, so I give them the info.

I'm sorry you have to go through a redraw. Your doctor's staff should have known better.

Pages: 1 · 2

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy