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  1. #1
    Senior Member smoore's Avatar
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    Finally....good cholesterol numbers!

    I've posted before in other threads so I won't bore you with all the details...but a few.

    I just turned 60 and am 5'5" and 130lbs. I've always been slender and healthy but with some heart problems on my mother's side of the family. In 2006 my company did free physicals and when they came back they refused to give my my results without a face to face with a professional. The numbers:

    Total Chol. 259
    Triglycerides 551
    LDL 159
    HDL 24

    Over the last three years I have tried ALL the statins and related products but had sever muscle pain with all of them. Very disappointing. So, about a year ago I started on niacin therapy only with small doses leading up to 500mg per day. That helped a little but not a lot. So over time I have worked myself up to 1,000, 1500mg but with very little improvement. About four months ago I finally moved up to 2,000mg per day. The side effects of burning and itching can be pretty severe so I take a baby aspirin fifteen minutes before the niacin and always immediately after a meal. Trying to remember to take three pills every day on a certain schedule is a pain, to say the least.

    Well, I just got my results back and frankly....the Dr. is thrilled.

    Total Cholesterol 188
    Triglycerides 106
    LDL 127
    HDL 40

    I have also tried to cut way back on fats, sugars and breads (love pastry and bagels) and have also upped my cycling millage. I'm sure many of you have better numbers, but for me this is a huge progression.

    Shoot--God willing, I may live to ride a bit longer after all.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    We work to different numbers over here but in the last couple of years the cholesterol has risen a bit. Upped the dosage of Symvastatin and it seems to be keeping it under control.

    For some of us- it is not taking a pill and we are cured- it takes a bit of work on our part to keep it under control. And feel lucky- You know you have a cholesterol problem- For some of us the first sign is blocked arteries and a heart attack.

    Well done on getting the levels down- but let the diet Go next week- Annual PIE ride on saturday 19th.
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  3. #3
    Yen
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    Surly Girly Yen's Avatar
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    Wow!! Good for you!!

    Have you noticed a difference in your physical well-being?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member rideon7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smoore View Post
    I have also tried to cut way back on fats, sugars and breads (love pastry and bagels) and have also upped my cycling millage.
    I understand reducing the fat and sugar intake, but why the breads? They are mainly carbohydrates. How do those contribute to high cholesterol?

    I was just put on statins for the first time about three weeks ago. Still waiting to see if there will be some of the side effects others have noted, such as the muscle soreness. My family is helping me avoid high cholesterol foods, but I love carbos and haven't cut back on them. That would be a hardship!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Riverside_Guy's Avatar
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    Very interesting. I had equally bad numbers years ago... did a six month "third world diet" that only brought my number down by about 10 (diet actually can be not much of a factor if you way overproduce the stuff... that was my issue).

    Anyone remember Questran? Awful stuff, gritty and near impossible to take (applesauce wasn't bad as a carrier). But boy did that stuff work, it took me from over 300 to about 120.

    Later, I got put on a statin (Lipitor). Been taking 80mg... fortunately without much muscle issues beyond those one tends to get over 60. My numbers run 130-150 but more importantly LDL under 100. Recent studies have shown that getting into the 70 range on LDL is so good it can actually clean deposits up a bit.

    I do watch my diet, but in no way, shape or form would I totally give up a good chunk of red meat... I just don't do it except every few months. I eat whatever pleases me, BUT the stuff that's really bad gets only eaten very infrequently.

    BTW, it was 20+ years ago, on my return from 2 glorious weeks of mogul bashing goodness at Alta/Snowbird that I lost about half my heart muscle to an MI. Been just fine since then although I DO have limitations I don't cross.

    Interesting you found the niacin dose that works... I've been doing it for years, but only a gram a day. BTW, I use a flush free version that is supposed to have the same effect as the ones that make your face take on the quality of a beet... you might look into that (I use Swanson Vitamins, they are on the web).
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  6. #6
    Bicycle n00B
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    Congratulations!
    I reserve the right to be wrong at any time. :D

    Man does not live by bread alone, that's why God made ice cream.

  7. #7
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    My body chemistry has always been such that my cholesterol is very low. I was 122 last winter which is high for me. I don't recall what all the other numbers are but the Doc is thrilled about them so why worry?

    My nemesis seems to be my BP. I'm working at it though.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    smoore, by upping your riding mileage, what is your mileage like now? Are you riding more often, that is, more times per week? Or are you riding more miles but on the same days?

  9. #9
    Senior Member smoore's Avatar
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    To answer a few questions:

    I do feel good, but I've always kept my weight in check and tried to stay in shape....so I can't say I feel noticeably better, except I dropped an inch from my waistline and look a little "tighter" with my shirt off. Of course it could be the mirror.

    Regarding the breads and bagels; I guess I've always read that those things are the FIRST thing that body builders and others who are trying to get into shape stop eating. Lots of carbs and often in today's bagels...sugar. I'm sure good whole grain breads would be fine but I gravitate to Italian bread and bagels that don't seem to be particularly healthy. Love 'em though.

    My cycling milage is not all that incredible...but more regular than in the past. I try to ride every other day and typically do 20-25 miles with a longer 40 mile ride on the weekend. But occasionally my schedule or the weather messes up my plans. Still...it's more more regular than in past years and I really think the cycling component does add to the equation. I also ride a few 60 mile fundraising events during the year.

    Ultimately, my doctor may want to try at least one other drug to address what Niacin alone doesn't. Also I plan on trying Red Yeast Rice which has been in the news recently and really appears to help some people. My high cholesterol runs in the family and I'm trying to find the balance between being prudent and doing what I can...but at the same time enjoying the time on earth the Lord gives me.

  10. #10
    Road Nazi Hunter Donegal's Avatar
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    Hi guys; I'm just a youngster here, 53 and don't believe in doctors unless I am coming out of the back of an ambulance and bleeding profusely. Then and only then, can he practice medicine. Since all cholesterol drugs come with the disclaimer "No link has been proven between cholesterol and heart disease", I tend to believe that cholesterol is very genetic. It's in your body and it's the glue that holds your body together. I carry a very high cholesterol number 285. My good cholesterol is high enough to keep me in the bottom 25% for risk. With all the side effects and problems w/statins, I just can't get into them at all. I tend to be overwound and too tight to begin with, with them I would walk like a robot, if I could walk at all. I have had cholesterol numbers like this for 20 years. I am a homebuilder and under great stress, so I allways worry about heart issues. I am interested in this niacin approach. Sounds more feasible.

    My father is 81 and had a heart attack. They immediately threw him on statins. Now he asks my mother if any cars are coming from the left side since he can't even turn his head. Everyone with any heart problem, anyone with big cholesterol numbers all get put on statins. I just can't get into it. My father lost 1/2 his heart due to a fluke blockage in the artery feeding the heart. He was an athletic 73, working out 3 times a week, since he was an amateur boxer for the Marines for 7 years. I believe the blockage was a leftover from a motorcycle accident. The problem was that he waited 2 weeks to see a doctor. He thought he had the flu. He left the hospital with 8 prescriptions and over the last 8 years has weened himself from 7 and feels better for it. Here's hoping I get his genes.
    Last edited by Donegal; 09-18-09 at 05:37 PM.
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  11. #11
    Grandpa with spunk Randy Bosma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smoore View Post
    ....... Also I plan on trying Red Yeast Rice which has been in the news recently and really appears to help some people. My high cholesterol runs in the family and I'm trying to find the balance between being prudent and doing what I can...but at the same time enjoying the time on earth the Lord gives me.
    I used RYR several years ago and went from 235 (total) to 190-ish. Did it for most of a year, and then there was a shortage and/or the price went up. Because RYR worked so much like the statins, the general recommendation was to have the liver tests regularly. Anyhow, I am using other supplements for hyperlipidemia (sp?) now, and haven't gone back to RYR. My added exercise from cycling and weightlifting have reduced my weight, blood pressure, and resting heart rate, reducing some risk factors and therefore my overall risk score. Maybe I should beg for a stress test to see how good I'm doing. Or not.
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  12. #12
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Nathan Pritikin demonstrated that increasing dietary fiber, reducing dietary fat, and increasing aerobic exercise will reduce total serum cholesterol while improving your HDL/LDL profile.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  13. #13
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    Nathan Pritikin demonstrated that increasing dietary fiber, reducing dietary fat, and increasing aerobic exercise will reduce total serum cholesterol while improving your HDL/LDL profile.

    I'm trying to adjust my diet along those lines. Learning a lot about how to eat more raw food, esp green veggies and learning how to prepare beans. I managed to kick a lifetime Pepsi habit, but its a struggle to get sugar out of my life; ice cream and cupcakes know where I live.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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