Struggling with medical advice - Statins

[Deleted User]
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edited 15 April 2021 at 8:10AM in Health & beauty MoneySaving
This is long and I apologize because I am really quite shocked and upset.  I understand that it would be inappropriate to ask for medical advice here.  Any guidance will be valued or advice of a suitable forum to ask. I feel a bit overwhelmed  just now.

I am a bit shell shocked to be told I have very high blood pressure and cholesterol of 7.2. It came to light because of a rapid heart rate, about 120 to 130 I think, and, with immediate effect, I àm now on a reduced dose of thyroxin - longstanding  underactive thyroid gland.

I am O.K. with existing medication and the new blood pressure tablet.  I am very upset and feel 'bad' about not wanting to follow firm medical advice to start taking statins.  I have been told  that, with my family history and already really quite good diet, the best, and only option offered, is statins. 

My BMI is on the upper limit and only just within the normal range.  I have put myself (just one week now) on a diet to lose at least one stone and to restrict unhealthy cholesterol intake.  The doctor thought this would not, on its own,  be good enough.  I plan to increase exercise as well.

My big worry is that, because of side effects and my aversion to statins, I am not following firm medical advice.  I also feel concerned in case I am left on statins indefinitely.  I am aged 70 and female. Family members (who know nothing about my present situation) show obvious side effects from statins, including involuntary neck movements, I don't  know what they are called, which are relieved by having to put their chin on their chest - really noticeably.  I see this in a friend's  husband as well - and other noticeable things including swollen feet.

The GP was very nice but made it clear what the advice was - take the statins.  I said I was not at all keen for the reasons I tried to explain.  BP and thyroid review in six weeks from the diagnosis.  When I went to the chemist to collect the new blood pressure prescription there was also a box of statins and I was, maybe inordinately, quite upset as I thought I had agreed not to take them - not yet.  The pharmacist said, trying to be reassuring, that side effects were rare.

Because no medical advice is allowed here any opinion as to how to get some help, where to ask on line, would help me such a lot, thank you.

I  apologize for the length of this post.




  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,939 Ambassador
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    Why not try them? If you get side effects you can discuss this with your doctor and either change brand, reduce the dose or come off them. Side effects will disappear within days when you stop taking them.

    If you do make lifestyle changes that reduce your need, you could find that you no longer need them.

    In the meantime, you have only one heart, do whatever you can to protect it.

    I have been through this with my OH, who was found to have a heart condition despite being active, below average weight and on a healthy diet. The cardiologist was emphatic, you only have one heart, don’t mess around.
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  • bouicca21
    bouicca21 Posts: 6,512 Forumite
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    Try them and see.
  • I agree with the above replies

    Though patients do sometimes exhibit side effects you needn't worry at this stage. It is usually patients with a number of conditions and medications which interact and exacerbate the occasional natural side effects that exhibit these. Both your Dr and pharmacist would not have prescribed or dispensed if this were the case. 

    There is significant misconception around cholesterol control. In actual fact only a small proportion of cholesterol from diet contributes the rest is made by the liver. So altering diet will only make a minute difference though a balanced diet, maintaining good blood pressure and sugar levels, exercise, ceasing smoking etc combined will have the greatest impact. 

    It is best to follow your GP's advice. You can try them for a short period and if side effects become a problem they are initially reversible and other medications (non-statin) alternatives are available for those patients who need them. 
  • unforeseen
    unforeseen Posts: 7,279 Forumite
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    I went through 4 different statins before we settled on one that wasn't giving me side effects. 
  • Murphybear
    Murphybear Posts: 7,270 Forumite
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    I have been taking Simvastatin for many years.  I have not had any side effects and they really work in terms of reducing my cholesterol, it is right in the middle of the normal range.

    As others have said, everyone is different, what works for one of us may not work for you.

    The popular press is always printing confusing and contradictory articles about health issues, I ignore them and if I am worried about anything I talk to my GP.  

    So I agree with the others, talk to your GP, that’s what he/she is there for.
  • Thanks very much everyone.  I am going to start taking the Simvastatin tomorrow and I'll see how I get on.

  • Tigsteroonie
    Tigsteroonie Posts: 24,954 Forumite
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    Interesting that all the responses so far recommend you do take the statins. There are some researchers who are not so convinced, e.g.  Perhaps consider dietary changes first, followed by a retest in six months, before committing to statins. But then I'm wary of medicines like this ...
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  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,028 Forumite
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    Interesting that all the responses so far recommend you do take the statins. There are some researchers who are not so convinced, e.g.  Perhaps consider dietary changes first, followed by a retest in six months, before committing to statins. But then I'm wary of medicines like this ...
    The OP has stated he has a good diet and has discussed it  with his GP.
  • pattycake
    pattycake Posts: 1,576 Forumite
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    I am a 70 years old female too and I also have hypothyroidism.  I have taken levothyroxine for about 15 years alongside 20mg dose of simvastatin.  I am lucky to have no other health issues.

    I have not had any side effects from taking the statin and my cholesterol is well controlled.  My mother suffered from high cholesterol and despite a healthy diet, my number started to creep up.  A family history can negate anything you can do to try to lower your cholesterol.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Forumite
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    edited 23 April 2021 at 6:23PM
    Following this as my brother is also struggling on statins.

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