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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

I'll try to be concise while still giving necessary info.

I'm a 51 yr old woman, weight 155. I went in for some tests a few months ago because of irregular hearbeats (These episodes last for hours and cause shortness of breath) EKG was fine. I had never had cholesterol checked before. Here are the Initial results:

Total cholesterol: 351
HDL: 60
Triglycerides: 497

Doc told me to start Lipitor immediately. But I didn't want to take it. I'm a drinker and pretty well informed about health issues. I do my homework. I told Doc that I would rather go into alcohol treatment and have my blood tested again in a few weeks. He agreed. I successfully completed treatment, didn't drink for the first month, and stayed on a low fat diet. Test results after that month:

Total cholesterol: 286
HDL: 45
LDL: 181
Triglycerides: 299

I also had a stress test done at that time. It turned out fine, except for some valve leakage which Doc said was normal for my age. He agreed for me to continue with low fat diet and no medication. No other significant risk factors. Blood pressure okay. Doc told me my heart palpitations were of no concern other than an annoyance (don't know if I go along with that, but anyway...)

After that I began drinking again, thinking I could just do it socially. Didn't happen. I'm pretty much back to drinking a twelve pack a day, a little less. So, I've been drinking for about a month and a half now. I'm still on a low fat diet, no trans fats (or very little). Had my blood checked again last week:

Total cholesterol: 259
HDL: 49
LDL: 159
Triglycerides: 280

I don't know what to do. I plan to deal with my drinking problem when I get the courage again. I have to gear up for it. In the meantime I'm stumped about the Lipitor decision. My mother-in-law, who is a nurse, says that I should be on Lipitor. She said that her doctor told her that if the numbers weren't completely corrected within six weeks, it means diet alone isn't going to work. Can anyone tell me if this is true? I hate to give up as long as my blood levels are still showing improvement. But I'm about to become a grandma for the first time. My family is counting on me to be around for it. I feel like I'm walking a tightrope. Any advice or thoughts on my predicament would be appreciated. I do know about the dangers of alcohol...and that there aren't any guarantees regarding heart attack and stroke. Still, I have to make this decision about medication. My heart palpitations have improved, by the way. I hope I've given you enough to go on here. Thanks...

Aha, That's the question.
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of errant blood lipids
Or to take arms against that sea of troubles
And by opposing, end them with Lipitor.
In this bard's opinion, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

So Ophelia, a couple thoughts. Moderate and heavy drinking RAISE protective HDL (as you found in the change from 60 to 45...I found the same thing. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario (Shakespeare LOVED these:D:D:D) Heavy drinking takes it's tolls in other ways though so it's not a cure.
(I've spent my life trying both avenues and here I am an EXPERT.) Two drinks a day is best for lipid healthbut BRUTALLY difficult- teetotalling is FAR easier.

If you are a twelve pack a day drinker you ARE overweight...can't BUT be so.

I STRONGLY recommend the Lipitor (10mg.), good weight control and very modest drinking. Of course, lower saturated fats and sugars, elimination of trans fats, high fiber, and a diet rich in fish and fish oils will all do their bit to help.

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