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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

My own story:

6 years ago I developd a fatty infused liver. My doctor prescribed a small dose of lipitor and advised a low fat diet. That's all I was told, except that my cholesterol levels were a tad high:

351 total, and 657 triglycerides. I don't have the LDL and HDL record, but LDL must have been at least 175.

I didn't take it very seriously, after the liver issue went away. I stopped taking Lipitor.

In 2002 I had retired early and decided I should address the issue agressively. I did some research and went on an Ornish diet. Very low fat, exercise etc. Result:

216 total 130 LDL 40 HDL 229 triglycerides

Not exactly the numbers I was looking for considering I was living on twigs.

My doctor put me on 20mg of Pravachol. I didn't retest until 2003:

235 total 145 LDL 37 HDL 265 triglycerides

Mind you, the above is after a year of medication, a strict low fat diet, and I lost nearly 50 pounds and was within only a few pounds of my optimal weight.
This result is called "lipid bounce". Doctors don't know why, but in FH you can eat and exercise the same and suddenly get a lipid rise.

This is the point where i realized I had FH and asked for more intensive treatment. I was put on 40mg of Pravachol, and 10mg of zetia. Here is my results at the beginning of this year:

182 total 93 LDL 39 HDL 252 triglycerides

After two solid years under doctor care, and working hard to improve diet and exercise...I was EXACTLY where I started in terms of MI risk given that my total to HDL ratio was only marginally changed.

My doctor then doubled the Pravachol to the max dosage of 80mg along with the zetia. Here are the results from 2 weeks ago:

178 total 113 LDL 34 HDL 157 trigs

Not exactly moving in the right direction, eh? I went to a nurse practitioner (I'm in the stix) and she changed me to 40mg of Lipitor, and maintained the zetia. I suggested that a stronger dose of lipitor is indicated given my resistance to treatment and her response was, "this is what I do".

So, I've dropped her like a bad habit, but I'm staying on the 40mg Lipitor and zetia as a test for 8 weeks, and then I've an appointment with a real doctor who will hopefully address things more aggressively. Meanwhile it seemed that 8 weeks could be a good test of tolerance to the new drug.

My expectation is that 40mg of Lipitor and 10 zetia will perform about the same as or slightly better than 80mg of Pravachol, with a marginal increase in HDL from the drug. Trigs at least are nearly under control, and Lipitor may improve those as well.

I test on November 8, and will post results here.
Here is my current weight loss diet (I'd regained some after depressing results) during the 8 weeks test on 40mg Lipitor and 10mg Zetia:

1600 calories per day total
Less than 30grams of fat per day 70%+ from mono/poly sources
Less than 7 grams of saturated fat per day
Zero grams of trans fat
primary diet: plant foods, grains, legumes, fruit
no meat, no dairy
No table sugar or sugar treats (except fruit) although some in processed food


1.5 servings of Take Control plant sterol esters per day with meals
1 cup per day of whole fat soy (soy milk)
Minimum 30 grams of fiber (from cereals, legumes, and metamucil)
Minimum 14 grams of soluble fiber (included in above)
4 oz of red wine with meal

The above diet is modified from Dr. Ornish's reversal diet which has been shown in studies to halt or reverse atherosclerosis. However, Dr. Ornish was not specifically studying people with FH.

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