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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

Does heart disease run in your family, or is it merely "high cholesterol" that runs in your family?

I am a strong proponent of statin use in people who have heart disease, or are at very high risk of heart disease.

Neveretheless, especially at your age, it should rarely if ever be the first course of action. And especially a combination drug like Vytorin.

Your HDL reading gives you protection. Diet and exercise should help reduce your LDL.

Your diet should be the standard healthy diet recommendations: lots of fruits and vegetables, fish and moderate amounts of lean meats, and whole grains. Minimize the amount of foods you eat which are high in saturated fat (e.g. rib steak, butter, cream, whole milk, cheese). Avoid completely anything with the words "hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, or fully hydrogenated" in the label (which means, among other things, don't use margarine). Avoid fast food like the plague, unless you are eating a baked potato, salad, etc. Use primarily olive oil or canola oil in your cooking.

If diabetes runs in your family, or your triglyceride readings are high, you will want to minimize the amount of "white stuff" you eat, e.g. sugar, white flour, white pasta, white rice, baked goods (which if store bought are also usually loaded with hydrogenated fat). Otherwise, eating these things - except the hydrogenated stuff - in moderate amounts likely isn't going to hurt you.

The primary risk factors for heart disease, besides - and probably more so than high LDL - are, in no particular order: low HDL (below 40), overweight, diabetes, family history, high levels of continuous stress, smoking, high blood pressure, and a few more I'm probably forgetting.

Unless my father, mother, brother, or sister had a heart attack before age 45 or so, I'd probably not consider medication until I was in my 40s, or at least until I'd given diet and exercise an honest try over a long period of time, and had multiple lipid panel readings that were extremely high. And if I did decide to try medication, I'd never start with Vytorin.

This is coming from someone who had a 99% blockage in a major coronary artery at age 53 and now wishes my doctor had put me on statins when I was younger.

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