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  • Help me keep my wife off Lipitor

    Hi Folks,

    I've been enjoying the forums for quite a while, but this is my first post. I turned primal about 3 months ago. I was in decent shape, but I have seen a great transformation with this lifestyle change, and I couldn't be happier. Here is my issue: about a month and a half ago my wife decided to change her lifestyle to primal also. She is somewhat overweight, and has lost quite a bit of weight already, with more to go. She was feeling good about the change until yesterday. Her cholesterol levels have always been high, and she has a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease. Every year after her routine physical, her doctor tries to get her to go on a statin to reduce her cholesterol levels. I have been adamantly opposed to this, and have shared with her all I know about statins not helping women, the very tenuous link between cholesterol and disease, etc. She decided to wait it out until she got the results back of her latest test after eating primal for a while. Anyway last night her results came back as follows:

    6 months ago Yesterday
    Total Cholesterol 226 239
    LDL 162 174
    HDL 51 45
    Trigs 62 98

    I had primed her that her LDL might go up (and not to worry), but the numbers had our doctor calling again and telling her she needs to be on Lipitor. I am in an awkward position - I want what is best for her, which is to continue to be primal and not be on statins. But I am arguing against her doctor's advice, which is making her nervous. Any suggestions as to what these numbers mean and what I can tell her? I am a little surprised by the triglyceride levels and the ratio to HDL.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I'm no expert, but from what I understand it takes several months (4-6 perhaps) to get a true reading of your blood levels after being on PB. If you're wife's only been on this diet for roughly 6 weeks, those numbers probably don't say much about the changes she has made.

    Also, if you haven't done so already, look up the ratio by Grizz or Griff, can't remember who's it is. They may not be so bad, but I have no clue.

    Good luck and try to get her to hold on for awhile!

    Comment


    • #3
      Get a second opinion. 239 is a little high, but not enough to go into the panicky pill-pushing mode that your doctor is in.

      I'd be a bit wary about the triglycerides...
      5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.

      Comment


      • #4
        If there's a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease, my understanding is that these are precisely the people that statins were developed to treat.

        In an otherwise healthy body, cholesterol is regulated regardless of how the person eats (eat too much cholesterol, the body makes less).

        But for those with a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol, the body's natural homeostasis doesn't work.

        That family history may be why the doctor is 'panicky' about your wife's numbers.

        If this is just a GP, you may want to consult with a cardiologist before making a decision about statins.

        Also, did the doctor check her C-Reactive Protein level? That's considered a much more reliable indicator of potential cardiac problems than cholesterol. [The reason doctors don't bother with C-RP much is because they've been brainwashed by Big Pharma. There are 'drugs' for cholesterol, but the only remedy for excessive C-RP is lifestyle changes. No money in that!]

        Comment


        • #5
          Before anything else, get a second opinion from a specialist.
          F, 44 years old, 111.8 lbs, 4 feet 11.5 inches (yes, that half inch matters!)

          **1st place sparring, AAU TKD regional qualifier, 2/15/15 - It's damn good to hit like a girl!**

          **First-ever 5K race 11/28/13: 37 minutes, 18+ seconds, no stopping**

          Comment


          • #6
            Statins do nothing for women. They reduce the risk of a second heart attack in men under the age of 60 by a small percentage. They do way more harm then good.

            Your wife's numbers are not horrible. A couple months of lifestyle change is not going to make up for years of abuse. Give it another year and by then she will be feeling so good she won't care about her cholesterol anymore.

            Do more research on statins and you will both decide that everyone is better off without them.
            Check out my primal blog: http://primalroar.posterous.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MightyAl View Post
              Statins do nothing for women. They reduce the risk of a second heart attack in men under the age of 60 by a small percentage. They do way more harm then good.

              Your wife's numbers are not horrible. A couple months of lifestyle change is not going to make up for years of abuse. Give it another year and by then she will be feeling so good she won't care about her cholesterol anymore.

              Do more research on statins and you will both decide that everyone is better off without them.
              This, so much this. Doctors pushing statins on women makes me furious.

              Tell the doctor you want to see the research showing benefits to women from taking statins, and then he's better be ready to discuss side-effects and risks.

              Also, here is Griff's primer for the numbers magic.
              "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
              "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
              If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

              beachrat's new primal journal

              Comment


              • #8
                Scotto-
                I'm an older woman who struggled with my weight all my life and also had "high" cholesterol. I use quotation marks because the "norms" for lipid values have been lowered over time although there is no science to support that. Many suspicion that the lowering was accomplished with pressure from the pharmaceutical industry who like to guard their income. They are also the ones that influence what your wife's doctor "knows" about lipid panels.

                I worked for a # of years in clinical research for a cholesterol specialist at a major university. Just saying that so you will know I have some background on this issue.

                Your wife's TC and LDL are clearly not statin-taking high. And, as previously pointed out, she should ask her doctor for the double-blinded research trials that establish that a statin would be of any benefit to her female body at all. (Hint: there is none).

                So I surely would not consider a statin for those TC & LDL #s, especially since she hasn't been primal that long. As someone else pointed out, you gotta give the body time. I've also read that reduction in body fat can elevate temporarily the TC/LDL values, so again time is needed.

                I would actually be more concerned with the rise in her triglycerides and reduction in her HDL. That is not the normal response to this way of eating. It would lead me to believe that she is having too many carbs (carbs elevate trigs) and perhaps not enough fat (it raises HDL). Finally, after she's been eatin primal for 6 months to a year, repeat the tests. Also run the ratios that evaluate cardiac risk. My TC & LDL are about where your wife's are but eating primal low carb seriously dropped my trigs and took my HDL from 35 to 70, and my ratios are pristine.
                Starting Weight: 197.5
                Current Weight: 123
                Far healthier!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Statins don't work for women.

                  The "genetic predisposition" thing that people always bring up is actually very rare. It's usually more a case of "everyone in my family has high cholesterol", and that's because everyone in the family grew up eating the same food and living the same lifestyle.

                  I finally got my mom off of statins about a week ago. She had been on them for something like 20 years straight and just a mess - peripheral neuropathy, some mild brain farts she didn't used to have - and now she sounds bright and happy.

                  Triglycerides seem to be a better indicator of issues (higher total cholesterol does NOT increase mortality in women). The trigs did go up, which is concerning, but from what I understand, that's sometimes a function of eating higher carb. I don't know how many carbs she's eating now, but if it's not terribly low, she might try dropping them just a little lower.
                  Durp.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by janie View Post
                    I would actually be more concerned with the rise in her triglycerides and reduction in her HDL. That is not the normal response to this way of eating.
                    That's what caught my eye, too.

                    With so many definitions of "primal" floating around, perhaps it might be worth nailing down more precisely what the OP meant by that term.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Google statin induced ALS. My BIL died of this induced by zocor. No one in my family will eVer go near a statin.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Scotto View Post
                        Hi Folks,

                        I've been enjoying the forums for quite a while, but this is my first post. I turned primal about 3 months ago. I was in decent shape, but I have seen a great transformation with this lifestyle change, and I couldn't be happier. Here is my issue: about a month and a half ago my wife decided to change her lifestyle to primal also. She is somewhat overweight, and has lost quite a bit of weight already, with more to go. She was feeling good about the change until yesterday. Her cholesterol levels have always been high, and she has a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease. Every year after her routine physical, her doctor tries to get her to go on a statin to reduce her cholesterol levels. I have been adamantly opposed to this, and have shared with her all I know about statins not helping women, the very tenuous link between cholesterol and disease, etc. She decided to wait it out until she got the results back of her latest test after eating primal for a while. Anyway last night her results came back as follows:

                        6 months ago Yesterday
                        Total Cholesterol 226 239
                        LDL 162 174
                        HDL 51 45
                        Trigs 62 98

                        I had primed her that her LDL might go up (and not to worry), but the numbers had our doctor calling again and telling her she needs to be on Lipitor. I am in an awkward position - I want what is best for her, which is to continue to be primal and not be on statins. But I am arguing against her doctor's advice, which is making her nervous. Any suggestions as to what these numbers mean and what I can tell her? I am a little surprised by the triglyceride levels and the ratio to HDL.

                        Thanks!
                        I am glad to hear that she wants to avoid the statins. Among other issues with statins is that they increase the risk of heart failure. Have some reading for you that will give you a lot of ideas:

                        Effectiveness of altering serum cholesterol levels without drugs

                        Natural Approaches to HDL, LDL and Total Cholesterol

                        Alt/Trad Medical Review

                        And regarding elevated triglycerides:

                        High triglycerides

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          First of all, read Griff's cholesterol primer. Great info. From that very informative post, her numbers break down as follows:

                          Total/HDL: 239/45 or 5.31 (ideal = 5 or below)

                          Trig/HDL: 98/45 or 2.18 (ideal = 2 or below)
                          Indicator of small particle pattern B (Bad) or large particle pattern A (Good) LDL.

                          LDL/HDL: 174/45 or 3.87 (ideal = 4.3 or below)

                          If you want to get WAY down in the weeds, Dr. Attia's Straight Dope on Cholesterol is one of the most detailed (and minutiae covered) things I've read, but if you can wade through it there's some great information in there. Per Dr. Peter Attia, nothing is more important than LDL-P counts. That's the total number of small particle LDL, not LDL-C which is an estimation of the amount of cholesterol contained in LDL particles. Per his research it's the ONLY reliable indicator (correlation or causation aside) of your risk of atherosclerosis, all other things being equal.

                          I hope this gives you some ideas and a jumping off point for your own inquiry into what is, by all accounts, a grossly confusing and missunderstood section of how the human body functions.
                          Last edited by BONZ; 08-17-2012, 11:45 PM.
                          Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
                          Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
                          Starting Energy: "bleh...."
                          Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
                          Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

                          "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Scotto View Post
                            6 months ago Yesterday
                            Total Cholesterol 226 239
                            LDL 162 174
                            HDL 51 45
                            Trigs 62 98

                            I had primed her that her LDL might go up (and not to worry), but the numbers had our doctor calling again and telling her she needs to be on Lipitor. I am in an awkward position - I want what is best for her, which is to continue to be primal and not be on statins. But I am arguing against her doctor's advice, which is making her nervous. Any suggestions as to what these numbers mean and what I can tell her? I am a little surprised by the triglyceride levels and the ratio to HDL.

                            Thanks!
                            Those numbers are all moving in the wrong direction. I'm sorry, but it's true. However, this is just one test. I would hold fire on jettisoning primal, I *definitely* wouldn't take a statin (it sounds like you already know how useless and harmful they are). Give it a month or three and see if her numbers improve when she retests.

                            The two things I think you want to do are push up HDL (since it's the denominator of the three ratios, increasing HDL makes all of your ratios better) and decreasing your trigs.

                            Lowering your carb intake will make your trigs go down. Here's marks post on 'good' cholesterol foods.
                            Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                            Griff's cholesterol primer
                            5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                            Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                            TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                            bloodorchid is always right

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BONZ View Post
                              Per Dr. Peter Attia, nothing is more important than LDL-P counts. That's the total number of small particle LDL, not LDL-C which is an estimation of the amount of cholesterol contained in LDL particles. Per his research it's the ONLY reliable indicator (correlation or causation aside) of your risk of atherosclerosis, all other things being equal.
                              Peter Attia is saying LDL-P is the total number of LDL particles of all sizes and that LDL size is not a risk factor. He is very adamant on this point.
                              Last edited by Artbuc; 08-18-2012, 01:46 AM.

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