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High Cholesterol: What should we think about statin drugs?

Updated on September 2, 2012
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My Experience With Lowering Cholesterol

I’ve been taking a medication to keep my cholesterol down now for a little over seven years. In 2005, the roller coaster effect of trying to diet the numbers away just did not work for me. The 20mg of Zocor ( simvastatin) I was prescribed that year was doing the trick in the beginning along with a regiment to eat an oat based cereal for breakfast. I lowered my over all levels 100 points in the first four months. This was working. My doctor said the low dose of Zocor alone would not have done that and I was advised to keep eating my breakfast cereal mornings. What should we think about statin drugs? I wish I knew.

I was still fighting with my weight gains and finding it a difficult task to stay away from fat filled foods. My body hurt and my legs ached after several hours at a stand up job I should have been use to. Was it the new job I had just started? Was it the pounds I had packed on the two and a half years I was away from the work force? Or could it be a side effect I saw documented for the prescription drug Zocor? I really was not sure and neither was my doctor. I managed to lose a few pounds that first year, but old habits are hard to break and being a farmer’s daughter I still craved dairy products which are a big NO NO for anyone fighting their weight or high cholesterol. Well, a couple years later my husband and I knew better, but indulged in a daily ice cream treat. When my cholesterol was checked it had went up. I was prescribed a double dose of Zocor (simvastatin). I now take 40 mg of the drug. My husband who hadn’t had a problem with cholesterol before, but who is a heart patient, had a high level as well. He was prescribed 20 mg of the same drug to be added to the several heart medications, he takes.

What should we think about statin drugs? I wish I knew.

Four years later it’s 2012. I’ve dropped nearly 40 pounds after getting serious to lose weight. I knew the weight was giving me problems as to the aches and pain I was experiencing. My cholesterol levels are excellent, but I still take 40 mg of Zocor (simvastatin). Although my leg pain is less of an issue, I still have it from time to time. I can’t help but blame it on the cholesterol pills. One big problem is once you start taking these medications you can never stop them. It’s a regiment for life. I knew this from the beginning, but the danger of heart attack or stroke because of high cholesterol levels was a more concerned issue to me. I have a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease. I lost my dad to it.

I am aware of the muscle weakness associated with statins and I have been advised the risk of heart attack should outweigh this concern. I only wish I would have known about the extra aches and pains associated with statins being a far more hassle than skipping fat filled meals. With new studies being released every year I truly wish I would have gotten serious years ago about a diet plan to lower the cholesterol naturally. I know billions of people are being prescribed statins everyday most likely they too did not get serious on trying to lower cholesterol the natural way. Doctors are said to have pushed these drugs way too soon on many patients seeking a quick fix to lower cholesterol. After all I’m living proof it does work. Second thoughts are a bit late for me, but for those who have high cholesterol that haven’t yet had to take statins I can tell you, you’ll regret not pursuing alternatives to bring the levels down. I hope my own misjudgment can help persuade those reading this article it’s worth following a better diet plan first. Fat does not have to be your calling card. What should we think about statin drugs? I wish I knew.

More Research is Needed

The following articles are some examples of recent studies and some done last year. More research is needed to assume anything. For those of us taking statins I hope we have no more alarming issues associated with them.

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    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      CraftytotheCore, if you can bring it down without the drugs you are better off. It is hard to do though. Good luck.

      Pharmb943, welcome to Hub Pages. I'm glad you like it.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 

      5 years ago

      This is very interesting. I'm also a farmer's daughter and recently diagnosed with high cholesterol. It runs in my family too. I started eating oatmeal every day for breakfast. It's been a struggle for me to lose any weight after just recently having thyroid and gallbladder surgery. Someone suggested a low carb high protein diet, but I'm also addicted to ice cream!

    • profile image

      Pharmb963 

      5 years ago

      Hello! gbbkeke interesting gbbkeke site! I'm really like it! Very, very gbbkeke good!

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thanks again, Pauline.

    • Pauline Davenport profile image

      Pauline Davenport 

      5 years ago from Isle of Man

      Hi again Diana. I'm sorry about the leg pain bless you- not pleasant at all. Why don't you give the low Gi diet a try? You don't get hungry and weight seems to magically melt off. It's healthy too, not gimmicky at all, and then maybe you can chuck those horrible statins away. Just a thought, if you really do have to stay on them, could your doctor not prescribe you atorvostatin instead? It is a more expensive drug, but has less nasty side effects than simvastatin. I do hope you get to feel better soon

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thanks, Pauline for the comment. The main problem I have is the leg pain. Glad you could find an alternative.

    • Pauline Davenport profile image

      Pauline Davenport 

      5 years ago from Isle of Man

      I was prescribed simvastatin about 4 years ago, but couldn't get on with it at all. I had dreadful stomach pains and bloating, and in the end I simply stopped taking it. I was three stones overweight at the time - for someone who is only 4'11" this was horrible obesity.

      I dropped the three stones in six months thanks to a (not very strict I have to say) low GI diet and feel and look so much better and have tons more energy. Not for everyone the statins I'm afraid and definitely not for me

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thanks, badegg. I appreciate your advice.

    • badegg profile image

      Del Banks 

      5 years ago from Southern Appalachians

      You might also have your blood levels checked. Anemia, or more specifically your blood iron level can cause leg pain if it is lower than normal.

      Food for thought.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thanks for commenting teresapelka and badegg. I am much better at keeping a better diet plan now, but the problem remains I am still taking statins without much chance of convincing my doctor to let me stop. I wish I would have tried harder before my cholesterol got out of control.

    • badegg profile image

      Del Banks 

      5 years ago from Southern Appalachians

      I am overweight by about 50 pounds, but my cholesterol levels (LDL and HDL) are mid range perfect. This baffled my doctors, and they ran more intense tests only to find the same results.

      The reason for this? I had just lost 25 pounds and was continuing to lose due to a strict dietary change. I switched to a 90% vegetarian diet, with absolutely no pork, minimal red meat with most of my meat protein coming from white meat chicken and turkey. The only meds I am on is for my HBP (but that will end soon) and over the counter Naproxen (Aleve) for gout inflammation. I treat the gout with cherry juice, but since the dietary change, even that has gone away. I don't go out of my way to exercise because I do a lot of outdoor work.

      There is so much than can be accomplished without the use of prescription medications. God put all of these plants and animals on this planet for a reason, and many of them are for our benefit to be used as a natural healer.

      Read my hub "Gout, Veggies and Dr. Gerson", you may find it very helpful.

    • teresapelka profile image

      Teresa Pelka 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Let me add the background. Unsaturated fats have been recommended. They can be better than polysaturates. Yet, your body has to 'trade' with unsaturated fat to metabolize it. It doesn't need to 'offer' much for a monosaturate. :)

    • teresapelka profile image

      Teresa Pelka 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Olive oil has fat monosaturates and a few other things - I love olives and olive products. :)

      I don't boil it or fry it, just have it the form from the press. The taste could be a bit bitter, should you think about drinking it, but there's still veg and seasoning. :)

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