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  1. #1
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    cholesterol - what worked for you?

    about 20 yrs ago it was 208 - told it was a little high. last week found out it is now:

    Chol 257
    HDL 52
    Triglyceride 152
    Direct LDL 181
    Chol/HDL 4.9
    Rel Risk Ratio 1.0

    Letter from Doc says try exercise and diet but otherwise start Lipitor

    suggestions? personal experiences?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  2. #2
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Mine has always been around 165 so my doc has been happy. My current doc says I'm healthier than he is.

    How healthy is your diet?
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
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  3. #3
    tsl
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    Diet and exercise. And being relentless (although not necesarily obsessive) about each.

    With a family history of high cholesterol figures, I'm the first male on both sides of the family to pass age 55 without having had a heart attack.

    My numbers ran high--consistent with the family history--until I quit smoking, modified my diet, and bought the bike. These days, my numbers fall in the "ideal" range, except HDL, which stubbornly remains in only the "desireable" range.

    Modifying diet was easier for me than for most because I do nearly all my own cooking. If I buy something out of a box or go to a restaurant, it's a red-letter day. It's a lot easier to manage when you're in charge of the ingredients.

    I make sure I get at least 50 miles a week in by biking to work. Even in the worst weather, I can manage the five miles in each direction. In the best weather, that stretches to 17 miles each way.

    Meanwhile, the rest of my family is on statins and struggles to get out of the reclining chair. (My dad has worn out FIVE reclining chairs and countless remotes in the 22 years since he retired.) I'm expecting to visit my younger brothers in the CICU any day now.
    Last edited by tsl; 01-27-14 at 08:16 AM. Reason: typoze
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NCbiker's Avatar
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    A heart healthy diet along with exercise worked for me.
    __o
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    (*)/ (*)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yankeetowner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Diet and exercise. And being relentless (although not necesarily obsessive) about each.

    With a family history of high cholesterol figures, I'm the first male on both sides of the family to pass age 55 without having had a heart attack.

    My numbers ran high--consistent with the family history--until I quit smoking, modified my diet, and bought the bike. These days, my numbers fall in the "ideal" range, except HDL, which stubbornly remains in only the "desireable" range.

    Modifying diet was easier for me than for most becasue I do nearly all my own cooking. If I buy something out of a box or go to a restaurant, it's a red-letter day. It's a lot easier to manage when you're in charge of the ingredients.

    I make sure I get at least 50 miles a week in by biking to work. Even in the worst weather, I can manage the five miles in each direction. In the best weather, that stretches to 17 miles each way.
    I couldn't agree more. 24 years ago my Chol was in the 200's, and the doctor was going to start me on medication. After my initial depression, I decided to radically change my lifestyle. Now: No alcohol; no meat other than fish; fried food only 1-2 times per year; I prepare/cook my own meals (salmon/tuna/other fish; Greek non-fat yogurt; fresh fruits and steamed or raw vegetables; very little bread, and even then I only eat flat/pita bread; I drink lots of water (and coffee); some form of exercise every day (preferably 25-37 miles on my bike; however every other day, and in bad weather I run 3 miles); and most importantly I don't let other people dictate what or how much I eat. My Chol has held steady at 130, my weight runs between 170-175 (6' 2 1/2"), my BMI is low normal, my body fat per a "test" with electrodes two days ago was 13% (seems high, but I was told it was OK), and I feel good...although I still look old. My job doesn't allow me to commute to work by bike or I would, but otherwise I agree completely with TSL. You can't change your genetics, but you can change your lifestyle.
    ECCLESIASTES 10:2

  6. #6
    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    Your doctor is right in saying that if diet and exercise don't work, drugs will be necessary to bring down that LDL. I have familial high cholesterol - my liver produces it like there's no tomorrow. (Untreated, my total is 300). I do all the right things but (after a quad bypass!) I finally caved in and went on statins 7 years ago. Fortunately I have no side effects and they're probably saving my life.
    Last edited by NVanHiker; 01-28-14 at 09:48 AM.

  7. #7
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Regular fasting has brought mine down.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  8. #8
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Change of Diet Worked For Me...

    although I would never discount the effects of genetics. But as I understand it, cholesterol alone is only an indicator of risk when coupled to other heart disease factors in your family history.

    My GP wrote me a script for Lipitor after I had high cholesterol in my annual bloodwork about 7 years ago. Offering a challenge, we eliminated refined sugars in all forms, upped my daily portions of fruits and vegetables to more than 7, switched to healthier snack foods (nuts for chips, cheese in place of processed items, etc.). The bottom line is that my numbers were well within the normal range after 90 days. I also lost ~7 lbs of fat (from 180 to about 171) that quickly.

    I recently found that unused Lipitor prescription in a box of papers I was cleaning. We had a chuckle about it.

    I couldn't have done it without the complete commitment by my wife to alter our diet. She's the reason that I was successful.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cycle Babble's Avatar
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    FWIW:
    My high cholesterol was 210. I have since bought it down and sustained it at about 190. As others have posted I worked on my diet along with a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast during the week days. I heard somewhere that oatmeal is great at lowering cholesterol counts. My wife and I make the slowcooker recipe on the weekends with apples and cinimon. I think it tastes better than the instant.

    Thanks,
    John S.

  10. #10
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    Diet, exercise and 10mg Atorvastatin (Lipitor Generic). Highest my cholesterol was 240 right now it's 155. I have taken the Lipitor for over 15 years because of family history, fortunately I have not had any of the side effects. My diet was never bad and when I was first told my cholesterol was up I went crazy eliminating everything that would cause it to go up and it did nothing to bring it down. So now I eat reasonably, ride my bike, play hockey and take my meds and not worry about it.

  11. #11
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jth1959 View Post
    When I was first told my cholesterol was up I went crazy eliminating everything that would cause it to go up and it did nothing to bring it down.
    Gak. That's depressing. I was so hoping "eliminating everything that would cause it to go up" would work. What about adding everything that would help it go down? Have to try some oatmeal . . .

    Rick / OCRR

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    Gak. That's depressing. I was so hoping "eliminating everything that would cause it to go up" would work. What about adding everything that would help it go down? Have to try some oatmeal . . .

    Rick / OCRR
    Here's the funny part, a year before my cholesterol was 170 and all of sudden it's 220. The doctor asks me what have I been doing. In that year I had taken up cycling and joined a men's hockey league after doing nothing for 10 years. Genetics are a strong thing.

  13. #13
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jth1959
    Here's the funny part, a year before my cholesterol was 170 and all of sudden it's 220. The doctor asks me what have I been doing. In that year I had taken up cycling and joined a men's hockey league after doing nothing for 10 years. Genetics are a strong thing.
    When I took my physical, last year, my cholesterol went from over 204 to 155 (it was 240 before I started cycling) and my LDL was 93. There is no history of high cholesterol in my family and I haven't changed my diet from when it was at 155. My riding increased almost 4,000 miles from this year to last year and the only thing different I can think of that has changed is having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chocolate milk after my rides. This year my cholesterol went up to 208 and my LDL went up to 144. However, my triglycerides (63) and HDL (51) were much better this year than last. I'm not sure if it's the PBJ's but I'm laying off of them for a while and see if it makes a difference when I go for my 6 month followup. Sometimes I wonder if it even makes sense to worry about it.
    Last edited by John_V; 01-27-14 at 02:17 PM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Family history in combination with poor lifestyle choices resulted in MI in 2008 and 2012. After the last one I have been borderline fanatic about reading food labels and eliminating trans fats and hydrogenated oils from my diet. Rule of thumb, commercially baked cakes and pies (yes, pie) are sources of excessive hydrogenated oils.

    Loosing weight, following a "Mediterranean diet" has resulted in my statin dose being cut in half. The tough one was getting my HDL above 40, and it still is borderline. Chalk that one off to genetics.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    What's your family history like? If you have high cholesterol due to genetics you might have less of a problem than you think. There's a lot more to it than just numbers.

    My family has high cholesterol, the whole family. However, almost none of my family has any history of strokes or heart problems. My grandmother was told that she had probably had high cholesterol her entire life, at age 94. I don't think she ever weighed over 110 pounds in her life. I have the lowest cholesterol of anyone in my family but it's still high. I exercise every day and am very careful about my diet and I've never gotten it below 200. It usually sits around 220 with a 50 hdl or so. But given my family history my doctor doesn't see any reason to treat it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    For me, it was mostly diet change. I basically swore off high-fructose items, switched to whole-grain/multi-grain baked goods, cut way back on red-meat intake, as well as meat intake overall, eat much more green leafy vegetables, cut way WAY back on fried foods of any sort.

    I kept dark chocolate in my diet, and added walnuts to my oatmeal. Dark chocolate evidently works in mysterious ways, it's cholesterol-lowering ways to behold, and walnuts supply "good" fat. I know I am a chocoholic. I can't stand milk chocolate anymore though. It has to be dark chocolate. I even like the taste of Baker's Chocolate, which is sort of like Hershey's Cocoa in bar form!

    Since I changed what I eat (not "how much" so much), my weight melted off, my blood pressure went back to normal, and my left foot stopped swelling up occasionally. I am aware that this may have some component of "placebo effect", but it did work for me, however it worked, so I don't plan to go back to the world of Sodas, Fries, and Burgers.

  17. #17
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    No statins or other prescriptions taken, I eliminated all red meat and almost all fats save what I need from natural sources. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, drink water a good bit, very low sugar intake, I do eat fish and chicken/turkey, and I ride daily. My total is around 110, the doctor said my good cholesterol could come up a bit but he and I don't want to mess with things since I have severe kidney disease. I'm very happy and he is agreed about what I am doing.

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  18. #18
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    Was never high, and had good ratios, until a few years back. This was during a period of high stress in my life, and also while not riding as much. Tried Crestor for one month, then quit over side effects.

    Back on the bike, and added Niacin. All is good now, and I don't know which it was, so I'm beginning to phase back on the Niacin to see if I can stay in range on exercise alone. (diet changes remain off the table except as a last resort).
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  19. #19
    Coffin Dodger Pirkaus's Avatar
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    I switched to a mostly vegan diet, with that I went from 180 to 152.
    Doctor asked what I was doing and told me to kept it up, additionally lost 80lbs too
    Pirk
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  20. #20
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Mine is 250+ normally. I've tried diet, oatmeal, fish oil, acupuncture, lost 60 lbs, ride 7000 miles a year and the only way to reduce mine is drugs. Nothing like genetics!@
    Ride your Ride!!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirkaus View Post
    I switched to a mostly vegan diet, with that I went from 180 to 152.
    Doctor asked what I was doing and told me to kept it up, additionally lost 80lbs too
    Pirk
    I tried a bunny food/chicken/fish type diet when my levels were at 240 and weighed 155 at 5'-9". I started the diet, started riding and was down to 142 but my cholesterol was still 240. People started to tell me I looked awful so I gave up and went on the meds. Once I had to take 6 months off from riding/exercise and my levels rose to 170 from 150-155 so the riding/exercise does help. The ratios of good to bad are also way better when exercising.

  22. #22
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    This is an odd one. At 51 I was diagnosed with some pretty serious food intolerances. I had to give up wheat and "all the ferments". Ferments being anything with fungus or mold in it or fermented with fungus or mold. This puts a huge hole in your diet. However, I dropped 76 pounds and my cholesterol went from 280 to 122. My regular doctor (not my food doc) is totally amazed.

    The odd part is that I can eat meat all I want. Go figure. bk

  23. #23
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
    This is an odd one. At 51 I was diagnosed with some pretty serious food intolerances. I had to give up wheat and "all the ferments". Ferments being anything with fungus or mold in it or fermented with fungus or mold. This puts a huge hole in your diet. However, I dropped 76 pounds and my cholesterol went from 280 to 122. My regular doctor (not my food doc) is totally amazed.

    The odd part is that I can eat meat all I want. Go figure. bk
    whoa whoa whoa, please share more about this diet!
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  24. #24
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    I have been on Lipitor for almost 15 years. My cholesterol runs right around 125.

  25. #25
    Senior Member mapeiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    Family history in combination with poor lifestyle choices resulted in MI in 2008 and 2012. After the last one I have been borderline fanatic about reading food labels and eliminating trans fats and hydrogenated oils from my diet. Rule of thumb, commercially baked cakes and pies (yes, pie) are sources of excessive hydrogenated oils.

    Loosing weight, following a "Mediterranean diet" has resulted in my statin dose being cut in half. The tough one was getting my HDL above 40, and it still is borderline. Chalk that one off to genetics.
    I just started Mediterranean diet few months ago . MY daily intake consists of 10% carb , 60% fat ( walnuts , coconut oil , fish ) , 30% protein ( eggs , vegetable ) . Stay away from genetic modified wheat and processed food .

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