If you are you on statins to lower your cholesterol, how much did your doctor talk to you about the side effects of statins or cholesterol meds in general? A while back a couple women in a forum I belong to were comparing their Statins stories. They gave me permission to share them here, and I thought it would be interesting if anyone else out there has also experienced side effects from these meds. If so, please comment below. Thank you!
- Lisa: “My Dad had heart surgery (unnecessary, I believe) and now takes a host of anti-cholesterol, anti-depressant (because no cholesterol leads to no serotonin), blood-pressure lowering medications and on and on. He was relatively healthy before all this and took no medications. He looked vital and healthy. Today, 2 years after surgery it breaks my heart to say that he probably won't live another year, and he looks about 20 years older than his 70 years. Recently, when his leg was shaking so fiercely that he could barely walk and his hand developed a tremor, my mother finally listened to me and took him to the doctor to question whether he could be having a side effect from the cholesterol medication. The doctor took him off the medication, but “will monitor him very closely” and is looking into another med to replace it. Mind you, he never had high cholesterol. He has the “best” doctors in New York. I get furious when I consider all the physical damage that has happened to him in the name of heart health. He is also terrified of any fat, because of what the doctors tell him. I just heard yesterday that doctors will be recommending children as young as eight to start taking cholesterol-lowering medications as well as low fat milk for babies over one year. This is in response to the obesity epidemic. No mention of sugar or processed foods, as that would be messing with the almighty food industry. It's very difficult to watch family members you love listen to dietary advice that you know is hurting them. All you can do is give them information with love and hope that it makes sense to them.”
- Patty: “When my husband was on Lipitor, his hip started going out on him with no warning. He had muscle aches and then he developed trigger finger, where one of his fingers would get “stuck” down and he would have to pull it upright (especially bad for a guitarist). He also seemed to be depressed and not quite as sharp-witted as usual.”
A family member emailed recently and asked this:
“In your research have you come across anything to help raise good cholesterol? The doc took me off my cholesterol drug and gave me 3 months to get the “good” number elevated. Yes, I have been exercising. Any other ideas?”
First, I'll answer your main question – how to get the good cholesterol number up: eat plenty of butter, coconut oil, and grass-fed meats (you'll need to find a good local farm), and avoid high fructose corn syrup and bad fats like the plague (vegetable oils, trans fats). Keep up the exercise, that's perfect. All this may not lower your “bad cholesterol” (LDL), but it will bring up your “good” cholesterol (HDL) enough so the doc will let you off the hook. That's how my numbers look anyway, and I've heard of many others with similar experiences. (See below for another excerpt on this topic.)
But if it were me, I wouldn't go back on those meds no matter the numbers – Statins turn many people into a patient FAST. Cholesterol is to our blood like white blood cells are to an infection – they rush to heal inflamed areas, just like WBC's do to heal an infection, but docs don't rush to lower WBC's. Instead they treat the cause – the infection itself!
Too many vegetable oils & trans fats (and other unhealthy habits) cause areas of inflammation, which is the real cause of heart disease. Good fats HEAL.
Don't believe me though, I wouldn't blame you when your doc says the opposite! I hope you'll research it more on your own. Read some of these healthy fats posts and see what you think. I know this is a “hard pill to swallow” after years of being told saturated fats were the bad guy, but maybe start with this one, to see how that myth took hold.
Feel free to tell me if you think this is a bunch of crap, I can take it. Besides, it will help me answer others better if you honestly share your thoughts. And it wasn't very long ago that I was right with you, anyway.
She replied saying that she was going off Statins for just that reason, she was beginning to feel very old.
“They made me ache so bad I felt 90 and could hardly get out of a chair. I have noticed a huge difference since going off the meds, I can actually still bend my fingers in the evening without pain and I can get out of a chair and start right out walking at a normal pace, not like an old lady.”
Q: As you explain to the viewers near the end of the film, I encouraged you to try a high-fat, very low-carb diet to see what would happen with your lipids. You went on what you called a “saturated-fat pigout” for a month, and your total cholesterol went down and your HDL went up, as I predicted. But you didn't mention what happened with your weight during that month. Did you gain or lose?
A: Yes, after our first interview, you told me off-camera that I could prove to myself that the Lipid Hypothesis was wrong, and I did, to my great relief. To tell you the truth, I was kind of sweating it out, waiting for the lab results to come back. I believed what you were telling me, but after a month of eating burgers and steaks and bacon and eggs, there was part of me wondering if I was going to get back a lipid panel that would just say “You're going to die” across the top. If my cholesterol numbers had gone all out of whack, it wouldn't have done very much for the premise of my film. But as you predicted, the numbers all improved.
To answer your question, I lost two pounds during that month. That doesn't sound like much, but I was eating a lot of high-fat, high-calorie food, and I wasn't exercising much because I was swamped with work, so the fact that I lost any weight at all impressed me.
I'd love to hear if you've had similar conversations? How did you respond?
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