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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

My doctor has suggested that I take Lipitor due to high cholesterol levels.

I am a diabetic, he is concerned that the cholesterol levels have not dropped as my diabetes has been brought into control.

My blood pressure has always been normal and there is no family history of heart disease.

My question is this - I have always been cautious about taking medications so have concerns about taking any drugs routinely. It's not that I am not concerned about the high cholesterol but trying to look at the whole picture.

One of my concerns with the lipitor is it's possible effect on liver enzymes. My liver tests are all normal. When I had my first child I developed something called HELLP syndrome which stands for Hemolytic Anemia, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets. I was pretty sick but it's a condition that resolves with the birth of the child (though I did need a platelet transfusion). To the best of my knowledge there has been no lasting damage to the liver as a result of this condition but I wonder if this may indicate a susceptibility on my part to this particular side effect of the statin type drugs. There is a history of cirrosis of the liver in my paternal grandfather.

Just wondering if anyone might have any input as to whether this is a risk factor for taking Lipitor?

It is standard procedure that when on a statin, your liver enzymes should be monitored. For your own peace of mind, you could tell your doctor you want those checked before you try any medication (just about any cholesterol medication other then bile acid resins can impact the liver - fibrates, niacin, statins). You want a good baseline to go by - they may have done that with the last lipid panel, but check to be sure.

Then be sure to ask that liver enzymes are being checked each time you have blood drawn for a lipid panel (which you should have 60-90 days after starting a statin - that's more then ample time to see the drugs effects on lipids, and it will ensure that any liver enzyme elevation is picked up early).

And Finres certainly has a point about the specifics of your numbers. Are the really high (eg. LDL of 200 or something extreme)? What about dietary measures? I know diabetes and high cholesterol can be really challenging to deal with in terms of diet, but there are nutritionists who specialize in just that sort of thing (maybe ask your doc if you can get a referral to one in your area ?). Also, exercise - regular intense aerobic exercise can do a lot to lower LDL and especially to boost HDL.

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