Originally Posted by onagain1
I wasn't sure where the best place to post this would be. My cholesterol level is high, and the doctor wants me to try to lower it naturally before considering medication. I agree with this - I don't want to be on medication. I'm kinda wanting to hear from those of you who may have been there, done that. I've read so much information online and that the doc gave me that my head is spinning.
I've started taking fish oil capsules for about a week now and have been increasing fruit/vegetable intake. I am giving up red meat completely for now - which is not that hard since I don't care for it anyway. I'm also limiting dairy and switching from cow milk to almond milk. Every food plan that I find for people that have high cholesterol includes oatmeal. Any ideas for including oatmeal for someone who can't stand the texture? I can eat about 1/4 - 1/2 cup before I start to gag. I've seen some recipes for including oatmeal in smoothies that I might try. I'm going to start walking/biking this week. I'm eating around 1700 calories each day and trying to keep saturated fat under 10g and trans fat to 0g.
I am supposed to go back in June to have it tested again which seems like not a lot of time to see a difference, but what do I know - I'm not the doctor!
Anyone who has had success lowering their cholesterol having any advice for me? What else am I missing? Please tell me that this is possible - I'm in my twenties and I really don't want to start taking cholesterol meds.
I'm going to have a bit of a different take on this from the other posters, although I do agree that you should definitely try to get your cholesterol numbers down naturally before resorting to medications. Especially since you are so young!
I'm 61 years old with a strong
history of heart disease on my mother's side of the family. Two of my three brothers had heart attacks in their 50's, one of which was almost fatal. (he was 53 and only mildly overweight) When I finally got myself to a cardiologist in 2008, I was shocked to discover my cholesterol was off the charts. I was overweight but not obese, and I have not even been overweight for the majority of my adult life - the most I've been overweight is about 25 lbs and it was after menopause.
I couldn't wait to get it down - I had to go on cholesterol medication immediately. Fortunately I don't have any side affects from the regular cholesterol medicine (Crestor).
Because of my family history, my doctor encouraged me to have my cholesterol genetically tested to see what types of markers I have for heart disease, heart attack risk, etc. This is done through the Berkeley Heart Lab in California. http://www.bhlinc.com/
To say that I am at risk of heart disease and heart attack is the epitome of understatement. He did encourage me to lose weight (which I did) and he said that when I did that brought the good cholesterol (HDL) way up. But even though Crestor gives me great readings on my regular cholesterol panel - the one we are familiar with - you should have seen the red marks on my Berkeley Lab tests, which really get deep down into the makeup of your cholesterol (what kind of cholesterol molecules you have, are they "fluffy" as opposed to "thick" - totally layman's terms here - and all sorts of other things not measured by a regular cholesterol screening).
So he put me on Niaspan. I'm here to tell you that this is some bad s***. When I say that, I mean the side affects are just horrible. I've never experienced a single side affect from any medication I've ever taken in my life. Ever. But this medicine and I do not get along
. But I was scared enough and managed to increase the medication from 500 mg to 1000 mg to 1500 mg. And then boom! I had a reaction to it one night that almost sent me to the hospital. Scared the you-know-what out of me. So I just stopped taking it. I was getting ready to go to Europe didn't want to deal with that. And of course when I got back and tried to get back into taking it the side affects were driving me crazy.
I avoided going to the cardiologist until I couldn't avoid it any longer. (keep in mind I was still at a normal weight when this all happened) When I got there my regular panel was just fine. No problem. But those genetic testing readings? Horrible. Off the chart bad. Again. So he had a come-to-Jesus meeting with me and I had to get back on the Niaspan. I'm still only at 500 mg but the difference in the readings - even after I'd gained some weight back recently - is amazing. Getting out of the red and into the yellow and green ranges again. (I have one marker that is SO BAD he said it will NEVER be normal; most we can hope for is for it to move from "at risk" to "moderate risk" - which is from red to yellow).
So the whole point of this diatribe is this...yes, follow your doctor's instructions to the letter and do everything you can to get those numbers down by any means possible before resorting to medication. If the numbers are primarily because of your weight, losing weight and doing other things should help.
But if you get back there and they haven't budged and he wants you to go on medication, do it. Because statins do have side affects, but they also save lives.
And that Berkeley test - the one for genetic markers in your cholesterol? This is why you see case after case of people who don't appear to have ANY heart problems and who are of normal weight and have normal cholesterol readings suddenly and inexplicably DROP DEAD. It's often because of these underlying family markers that they were totally unaware of. I know one lady (a dental hygienist at my dentist's office) who had a massive heart attack in her late 40's. Can't remember her exact age. She had been to the doctor two weeks before and had a perfectly normal cholesterol panel. Blood pressure was fine. She almost died. One of the first questions they asked when she got to the ER was "is there a history of heart attack under 50 in your family?" and there was. Fortunately she survived and is doing well.
Also remember that heart disease absolutely dwarfs
breast cancer in women's deaths in this country. Yet it gets nowhere near the play that breast cancer does. My mother, ironically, was the only one of her siblings to die of breast cancer. All the others died of heart disease, as did both her parents.
So take this cholesterol situation very, very seriously. You're quite young and I'm glad to see you're doing something positive for your health.