Question about cholesterol and possible issues with liver

So my dad had high cholesterol and suffered from high blood pressure… it seems I’m going to be stuck in the same boat, but I’m not happy with the way this is being treated by my current doctor… or should I say facility, they keep changing my doctor every year there.

I’m wondering if perhaps I just have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol levels, and if so, maybe I should just be put on permanent statins, or other cholesterol lowering drugs? Are there any such conditions? Any possible issues with my liver I could ask to be tested for?

So, the reason I’m concerned is that it’s been the same story now for the past 3 years or so. Go to the doctor: super high bad cholesterol, low good cholesterol. Diet and exercise - does absolutely nothing. Crestor for a month - barely does anything, higher dose for 2 months, and finally my cholesterol is better.

But that’s that. I’m then told to “watch my cholesterol intake” without any more medication. And I do. Definitely need a bit more exercise, but I don’t take in more cholesterol than my wife (I eat the same things she does and she doesn’t have high cholesterol). And low and behold, I go back for a yearly blood test and my bad cholesterol is off the charts!

I’m sick of this same result, and I’m afraid it’s doing damage to me. I’d rather be put on cholesterol drugs permanently until we figure out what’s up. But I want to know more about the possible causes before I talk to my doctor. I definitely do NOT want to be removed from the drugs unless another solution is found, since diet and exercise have shown not do anything for me (although I will continue to do so of course).

Are these drugs just not safe to continue to take? Are there known liver issues I can be tested for? Care ot share your experiences battling high cholesterol?

What frustrates me the most is that everyone assumes I’m just eating burgers every day and never moving, simply because for a lot of people, exercise and diet DO make a difference, but it just hasn’t for me, born out by direct blood test comparisons.

IANAMD. Some persons are born with hypercholesteremia. I think there are ways to test for that. Having said that, your cholesterol is not so much influenced by the amount you ingest, but the amounts and types of fats you eat. Most of your cholesterol is made by your liver, and that synthesis is determined by the fats that you eat, trans fats being the worst because it increases your LDL and lowers your HDL.

Who the hell are your doctors?
Statins don’t “fix” cholesterol issues - they only work as long as you continue to take them. So, taking them, getting your numbers under control, and then stopping them is a losing strategy (as you can attest).

I was put on Simvastatin, and that in concert with diet and exercise has gotten my LDL levels into the “absurdly low” range - but my doctor still wants me to take the drugs…

After my quintuple bypass 3 years ago I was put on Lipitor which had terrible side effects, leaving me with painful joints, tiredness, and generally feeling like crap.
I switched to Crestor and dropped to 5mg and feel much better. My cholestorel levels are very low at the moment. Next time I see my cardioligist (next November) I’m going to discuss the possibility of going off Statins and trying to use diet and life style to keep the levels low.
I’d be prepared to have blood tests every 4 months to keep an eye on things. BTW, I never had high cholestorel levels before my operation, and I never had a heart attack, my conditition was picked up almost by accident, so I was very lucky.

Moderator Action

Since this is medically related, it belongs in IMHO.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

Yes, this. Literally every single one of my patients is on a statin and going to stay on a statin until they drop. I’ve been fighting the doctors off with a stick to keep me off statins. Doctors love statins. Some of them literally want us to put them in the water supply :confused:

I suppose it’s possible that you have some rare disease where statins are not a great idea for you long term, but if so, you’d think someone would have mentioned it to you at some point. I would definitely encourage you to ask the doctor why they keep taking you off.

Also, reported this for moving into IMHO, the home of medical threads. ETA: dang, ecg, that was quick! Thanks!

The large majority of the LDL-cholesterol (the ‘bad’ stuff) does NOT come from the diet. It comes from the body’s own production of cholesterol.

As with pretty much everything else, everyone is different when it comes to how much cholesterol their own body makes. Some people seem not to make much at all, whereas others evidently are programmed genetically to make lots of it. It’s this latter group who may benefit the most from statins. And, since it is a genetic issue, treatment (with statins) must be ongoing for it to be of ongoing benefit.

One thing to consider, though, is that the ‘acceptable’ level of LDL-cholesterol varies depending on whether the person already has atherosclerosis (e.g. heart attack, coronary bypass, stents, or angina, etc.) and/or has other risk factors for atherosclerosis such as high blood pressure (even if treated), diabetes, smoking, or a strong family history of the disease.

ETA: Statins can inflame the liver (about two percent of people who take statins) but it is usually mild and almost always reversible should it occur. So, IMO, not a big deal.

Thanks guys! I’ll definitely talk to the doc about keeping me on at least until they are low again, and maybe schedule a bloodtest every 4 ot 6 months to keep an eye on it. I’m also going to ask about possible liver related issues.

There are vegans with very high cholesterol. As others have mentioned, your body produces the stuff and, in fact, your body needs some to operate. However the body can go overboard. Still what you eat can greatly influence your cholesterol levels.

Also aerobic exercise can increase the good cholesterol levels. So consider walking, running, or riding a bicycle at least a half hour a day.

I had somewhat high cholesterol (230s) and was treated with large dosages of Niacin. Man that stuff burns. I had a small heart attack at age 46 and have been on Zocor since.

Some studies suggest that the use of statins does not significantly reduce the mortality rate in individuals not already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease: