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HDL Raising Statins?
Old 02-08-2008, 09:49 PM   #1
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HDL Raising Statins?

Anyone know which statins work good to raise HDL cholesterol by say 8 or 10% and lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol by say 10 or 15%?

Seems I always come in about 10% over "limits" on total and LDL, and about 8% under on HDL. Unless I live like a monk for a couple months before I get my blood tested.

After my last exam I decided exercise/lifestyle were not getting me there consistently, and I would maybe try doing it with the "pills". Doesn't look like I need much help, just a low dose to tip me over/under limits. Plus low dose should have minimal side effects, and should be CHEAP like an ER'er likes!

In short, what kinds of experiences have folks had with the various cholestrol meds?
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:52 PM   #2
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Niacin. Good. Cheap. Effective.

But it might make you glow in the dark. (BTW, shouldn't you be asking your doc?)
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:57 PM   #3
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Niacin. Good. Cheap. Effective.

But it might make you glow in the dark. (BTW, shouldn't you be asking your doc?)
I should be, but ER forums is cheaper!!

I don't get a blood followup till another six months, and thought I would look into things in the meantime just to get educated. Never took any pills before and want to find out about commonly exerienced side effects, if any, for the choices out there.
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:59 PM   #4
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Yep niacin is great except for the dizziness, stomach upset, liver damage, flushing of the face and increase in blood sugar levels.

I have high triglycerides but dandy LDL and HDL numbers. The docs have tried a couple of pills out on me. One made me feel like I was gonna die but it took about a month to fully screw me up so it wasnt immediately obvious what the problem was. Another made me pretty dizzy sometimes and very lazy.

Didnt seem like a good trade to me.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:16 PM   #5
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Anyone know which statins work good to raise HDL cholesterol by say 8 or 10% and lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol by say 10 or 15%?
Atorvastatin and rosuvastatin (probably inferior side-effect profile).

Nothing wrong with niacin though the incidence of flushing is intolerably high in the doses required by many. If you tolerate it, it is fine. Also raises uric acid, potentially causing gout.
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Old 02-09-2008, 07:28 AM   #6
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Exercise exercise and more exercise, especially as we get older, we need to do much more. Eating a low fat diet high in deep water fish protein, no processed foods like fake american cheese, coffee mate, white breads cookies made by keebler and nabisco, you know the drill. Moderate amounts of alcohol, and LESS STRESS!! Oh and no fat around the belly.
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:02 AM   #7
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Exercise exercise and more exercise, especially as we get older, we need to do much more.

I'm afraid I agree with newguy

How to increase your HDL levels

Many people don't like to hear it, but regular aerobic exercise (any exercise, such as walking, jogging or bike riding, that raises your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes at a time) may be the most effective way to increase HDL levels. Recent evidence suggests that the duration of exercise, rather than the intensity, is the more important factor in raising HDL choleserol. But any aerobic exercise helps.
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:17 PM   #8
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I'm afraid I agree with newguy

How to increase your HDL levels

Many people don't like to hear it, but regular aerobic exercise (any exercise, such as walking, jogging or bike riding, that raises your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes at a time) may be the most effective way to increase HDL levels. Recent evidence suggests that the duration of exercise, rather than the intensity, is the more important factor in raising HDL choleserol. But any aerobic exercise helps.

Ya, thanks for the advice guys. But if you reread my initial post, I said lifestyle and exercise are not cutting it for me.

I get 180 minutes of pulse raising, sweat inducing aerobics a week, and I get 60 minutes of resistance/muscle building (and pulse raising) exercise a week. Eat oatmeal for breakfast 7 days week, soy milk, soy burgers, lite yogurt, small amounts of fish/boiled chicken, no fried, etc: the whole diet nine yards.

Still I am slightly over the cholesterol police limits. So, now I look to the pills.
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:13 PM   #9
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Robert,
It just happens. All the advice and best practices in the world still can't overcome genetics.

Welcome to the club.
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:13 PM   #10
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I have been taking 4 niacin 500mg daily for the past twenty years . HDL was 29 at the time and I was prescribed this by my cardiologist. Now HDL runs between 40-44. I buy plain, generic niacin, immediate release. One time I ran out and missed three days, the reaction I had when I started back convinced me to never run out again. Felt I was wrapped in an electric blanket with a tingling itch. Have not run out again since.
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:33 PM   #11
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Ya, thanks for the advice guys. But if you reread my initial post, I said lifestyle and exercise are not cutting it for me.

I get 180 minutes of pulse raising, sweat inducing aerobics a week, and I get 60 minutes of resistance/muscle building (and pulse raising) exercise a week. Eat oatmeal for breakfast 7 days week, soy milk, soy burgers, lite yogurt, small amounts of fish/boiled chicken, no fried, etc: the whole diet nine yards.

Still I am slightly over the cholesterol police limits. So, now I look to the pills.
Apologies Robert, I should have read a little closer. I know several folks like yourself who are thin, super fit and still have high cholesterol. Hopefully you'll find a good drug to help.
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Old 02-09-2008, 03:09 PM   #12
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The mention of the word "Niacin" makes my skin crawl all itchy all over. Tried it once, never, ever again. I just can't tolerate it at all.
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:46 PM   #13
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Ya, thanks for the advice guys. But if you reread my initial post, I said lifestyle and exercise are not cutting it for me.

I get 180 minutes of pulse raising, sweat inducing aerobics a week, and I get 60 minutes of resistance/muscle building (and pulse raising) exercise a week. Eat oatmeal for breakfast 7 days week, soy milk, soy burgers, lite yogurt, small amounts of fish/boiled chicken, no fried, etc: the whole diet nine yards.

Still I am slightly over the cholesterol police limits. So, now I look to the pills.
I read your post. What I am saying and PLEASE I am not a physician , I only mean that from what I READ about exercise as we get older LONGER is better. 180 mins is less than 30 mins a day, and the post by Alan saying 20 to 30 mins of aerobic exercise a day is benificial well yes it is. BUT I have read studies that say at least 1 hour a day 7 days a week is the best. AND yes it is unrealistic for many.

My situation is that I have been running and exercising for over 40 years. I have run marathons road races and sprints on the track over those years. At 45 YO I had a viral bout of Pericarditis, an infection that was VIRAL that inflamed the pericardium around my heart and yes it felt like I was having a heart attack, went to the hospital, was transferred to another at 1am to have a cardiac cath that low and behold showed no MI and no aterial plaques in my coronary arteries. Now I had a terrible family history with heart disease, father has had bypass surgery twice, uncle died of an MI at 40 grandfather with heart disease also. So I figuered that when I had the shoulder and chest pain that summer of 2001 I was in trouble. I had been running 50 to 60 miles a week then and was like huh I am having this it did not make sense . BUT then I spend two days in ICU and see my cholesterol numbers. an HDL of 34 and total of 181 and Ldl was 131, My triglicerides were 40. So I was not taking a statin I was 45 years old had low HDL and no arterial plaques. Was it the 12+ hours of aerobic exercise a week over 40 years that keeps the arteries clear, my semi vegatarian diet? I have no friggin idea, but I am 51 and do not want to be on a statin from everything I have read. So I run my fool arse off everyday.
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Old 02-09-2008, 05:23 PM   #14
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So I run my fool arse off everyday.
NG,
thanks for passing on your personal experience. I too am a firm believer in what you say and try to average 1 hour every day of exercise (2 days weights, 1 pilates and the rest aerobic - heart pumping body sweating exercise). However, I also recognize that it doesn't always work for everyone.
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Old 02-09-2008, 05:52 PM   #15
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Red yeast rice is a supplement you can buy over the counter that claims to have some cholesterol benefits. It contains a trace of lovasatin which is key ingredient in Mevacor. But like anything else, it can have side effects. A friend of mine uses it and his doc can't understand how his numbers improved so much. But if your going to go this route, you might as well get your doc to prescribed Mevacor(lovasatin). Only cost $4/mo from Walmart which is cheaper than the Red yeast rice. I take Mevacor and it works great.

Red yeast rice: Popular cholesterol-lowering option could carry risks - MayoClinic.com
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Old 02-09-2008, 07:04 PM   #16
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NG,
thanks for passing on your personal experience. I too am a firm believer in what you say and try to average 1 hour every day of exercise (2 days weights, 1 pilates and the rest aerobic - heart pumping body sweating exercise). However, I also recognize that it doesn't always work for everyone.

What is amazing though over the years my HDL has gone up to over 60 without statins. Just the exercise running and watching what I eat. I still enjoy 2 or 3 glasses of wine or two or three beers or even the odd shots or mixed tequila drinks.

There also is a study that talks about the ratio of HDL to Triglicerides. So a hdl of 60 and a trigliceride of 60 would be a ratio of 1 and the ldl particles are fluffy and do not stick to the artery walls. Statins do nothing about triglicerides.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:18 PM   #17
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Genetics do play a part. Statins may be the answer for you.
But DH and I both have the bad genes, and despite them have raised HDL, lowered LDL with exercise (90 mins a day combo cardio and weights) and diet, so we're now in a healthy range.
This regimen was not possible for me before ER. It's a drastic change and not everyone is willing to invest the time and effort. And while it may not work for everyone, those I personally know who say diet and exercise didn't work for them, were not exercising nearly as much, or paying nearly as much attention to their diet, as us.
For me, I had to INCREASE cholesterol input with egg yolks to get my HDL up (had nearly zeroed out animal fats), and add 1/2 glass of red wine a day to my diet (was a teetotaler before).
The choice to try it instead of drugs is there.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:26 PM   #18
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Genetics DO play a major role. My grandpa, my dad and myself all have ridiculously high triglycerides. In the 500-600+ range.

My grandpa lived well into his 80's with no medication and my dad is 75 and healthy as a horse.

There is a measure of loss in worrying excessively about things that are marginally "wrong".
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:21 PM   #19
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My grandpa lived well into his 80's with no medication and my dad is 75 and healthy as a horse.

There is a measure of loss in worrying excessively about things that are marginally "wrong".
I wondered about that too---who set the "limits" of "desirable" LDL, HDL, Triglyc, Total Cholest? And where did they come up with those numbers from? And I wondered if being 10% over Total and Triglyc, or 10% under HDL really matter. Those two 10%'s though, leverage together when computing the Totel Cholest/HDL ratio to make it even worse.

On the other hand, if they have good basis for their numbers, and if the numbers are readily controllable with diet/exercise/and pills assist (if needed), then why not? I already do ample diet/exercise, so I would not want to ignore a seemingly effective lifespan extender such as the statins when I am not getting "there" on my own practices.
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:36 PM   #20
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FWIW and from a skeptic, the numbers were higher a few years back and got adjusted a little lower.

I'm pretty sure if you follow the money theres a few bucks from the drug companies involved.

I'm also sure there are a lot of good doctors trying to do their best with the information they have to get their patients as healthy as they can and maximize longevity.

BTW, I still havent seen any studies that show conclusively that high triglycerides coupled with agreeable LDL and HDL is a problem. Anyone have one? It seems medically logical that "all this fat circulating through your system is bad for you"...but I still havent seen a solid study that says it is. I'm not trying to be obstructional, if there is a study, I'd really like to read it.

Robert, being 10% over or under anything frankly wouldnt bother me a whole lot. Being 25-50% over or under anything would make me look hard at low side effect options. I think that if you eat well, exercise a decent amount, and have no huge gaping oddities in your bloodwork, the stress will do you more harm than anything. All things in moderation, dont do things you know are bad for you, yada yada yada...

But I aint a doctor, and I've never stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. Well, I think I might have once, but it royally sucked. It did have a traditional King mattress in it though, which was interesting to see in california where the cal king is...umm...king?
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