Statins

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Draggon
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Statins

Post by Draggon »

First, I want to be clear that I'm not looking for medical advice, just opinions to weigh... You won't be responsible for anything I may do going forward... :)

Okay, so 8 years ago, my wife and I, for unclear reasons now, took advantage of the local hospitals offer for a $49 heart scan. Her arteries were clear as a bell while mine with a slight calcium (i.e. plaque) buildup in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, though minor, placed me in the 81st percentile for my age group at the time (46). That means it was worse than 81 percent of those men my age. I've never been overweight, have been somewhat of a fitness buff for nearly all of my adult life, have under-200 total cholesterol and high HDL (good) cholesterol, and eat a relatively healthy diet, so this was kind of displeasing to me! The only recommendation at the time was to have the test done again in 5 years or so.

I kind of forgot about it, but my wife heckled me enough that I finally went back in last Tuesday. They still had the $49 special going 8 years later, so that was nice... :) This time, I scored a little better percentile-vs-my-age-group-wise (76 percentile). The plaque in my LAD went up noticeably in "Score" from 41.35 8 years ago to 72.04 now. I guess the Score is a way to measure how "bad" it is. I also got to add a new, small plaque measurement in my right coronary artery.

Also, I've recently found that the LAD has the nickname "the widowmaker". That's encouraging!!

Anyway, my doctor's office got hold of the information (I didn't even realize this would happen), and they called me to tell me he wanted to order a prescription for statins and a daily low-dose aspirin. I was kind of in shock and put them off, telling them I'd call them back later. All I can think about are the massive drug cocktails that both my parents and step-parent and other older adults I know take every day, and I've always vowed to do everything I could to not end up like them. I'm concerned about effects on my exercise regimen. I'm concerned about side effects. I'm also concerned about this being a lifelong commitment of as much as 40 years... I guess I'm also concerned about keeling over from a heart attack.... Ugh...

So, I guess I'm just looking for a little encouragement from anyone here that has any direct experience with taking statins. I'm still having a hard time fathoming that this is really me after the lifestyle that I've led.
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Grobi
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Re: Statins

Post by Grobi »

When I turned 40 I „treated myself“ by having a checkup of my cardiovascular system. The result was a cholesterol level of more than 300 and my left carotid artery was blocked by placque by 20% :shock: You can imagine that this was quite a shock to me. Like you I have never been overweight, I never (not even once) smoked, I did regular exercise.

The doctor told me that it was time to do something and that I could have a genetic endowment. First step was taking statins and changing my diet, so especially plenty of unsaturated fatty acids. I didn‘t like at all the perspective of taking my daily medicine for the rest of my live. On the other hand, if it wasn‘t for my checkup, this life could have ended earlier than expected.

So I bit the bullet, did what the doctor said, and within a year cholesterol was way under 200, HDL was high, LDL was low, in fact the ratio LDL / HDL was (and still is) 1, and it‘s supposed to be sub 3, so that‘s very good. And the best news was that the clot in the artery was gone!

I know that statins can have side effects like muscle pain (I guess that‘s the background of your question). I never had any muscle pain from statins, nevertheless I tried to lower the dose and see if could get away with just a strict diet. It didn‘t work. It turned out that my dad had the same problem and had been taking statins for years (which I didn‘t know). So having a high level of cholesterol isn‘t necessarily linked to a unhealthy life style.

So since I turned forty I‘m taking statins and they helped my health, thankfully without side effects.
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Re: Statins

Post by paulgould »

I've been on statins for over 8 years now after2 blood clots were found - I have never experienced any side -effects from the medication.
Although I had a recent cardiac arrest, the subsequent angiogram came up clear i.e. no congestive heart disease so the statins have obviously helped keep the widow maker cholesterol down.
The cardiologist has kept me on statins with the same dosage as before and I am happy to continue to take them.
Obviously I cannot speak for everyone as there is about a 1% occurrence of side-effects but my experience of them has all been good.

Paul G
52, 1.75m , much heavier than I should be!!
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Draggon
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Re: Statins

Post by Draggon »

Gentlemen, thank you very much for taking the time to comment. I appreciate you sharing your stories and experiences. Looking back, I probably should have taken the results of that first test more seriously and at least discussed it with my doctor.

I also read Bob Harper's story and follow-ups. Bob Harper was the ultra-fit host of the popular show "The Biggest Loser". He was exceptionally fit and temporarily died in the gym as a result of an LAD-induced (i.e. widowmaker) heart attack. He was lucky to be in the gym with medical professionals working out as well and access to defib units. He survived and is now an advocate.

I guess I was just in a kind of shock/denial and needed some moral boosts to get on with this. I'll call my doc tomorrow.... :(
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