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Cholesterol Tests - Anyone Understand Them?

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Sheila Report 10 Jul 2008 16:09


Anyone understand cholesterol tests?

OH had his tested in May, following his stroke, and it was 5.2. He was told that it was too high and he should reduce it by diet, although he wasn’t given any dietary advice at all by the consultant!

Our diet was pretty good anyway, but since then I have removed all animal fat, swapped bottled cooking oil for a spray, cut out choccie treats and swapped ordinary yoghurt and spread for Benecol.

He has seen the nurse this morning and his cholesterol is now 5.7! She does not understand this and has made him an appointment to see the GP next week.

One thing that puzzles me is that I thought the crucial thing was the balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol, but we have never been told about this and only given the one figure for him, whereas when I had mine tested a couple of years ago, I was told that it wsa OK even though the total was just over 5, because of the balance of the constituent elements.

Anyone help with this? I’d just about got my panic about OH’s health under control but this has set it off again…



SallyF Report 10 Jul 2008 16:15

My MiL has high cholesterol and she would kill for a level of 5.2. It can be affected by stress and worry as well as diet, and your body does need some. It acts like oil in an engine.


SallyF Report 10 Jul 2008 16:15

PS Did he starve for 24 hours before the test was taken? That can be quite crucial.


Roxanne Report 10 Jul 2008 16:16

Sheila,I had the same problem,Like your husbands mine was border line,I was told to reduce it with my diet,which is and was very healthy,I also exercise and dont have any other health problems.
I then started taking Benecol and for some reason it went higher,I could not believe it!! I have now stopped taking the Benecol and have continued with my usual diet and exercise routine with one change I eat Raw Garlic.
it has reduced and is what it should be.

Yes,They should give you a break down of good and bad,it could be that his good is high and his bad is low,I would certainly look into this.
best of luck Roxanne


SallyF Report 10 Jul 2008 16:17

Just remembered my MiL drinks a glass of wine vinegar every day which she says helps cut it as well. Yuck!


MaryinSpain Report 10 Jul 2008 16:17

Sheila - when I had a blood test in March my results were worse than that - well I think they were. Here in Spain it is a percentage and mine was 550 plus . doctor gave me a diet sheet and some statin tablets. I now eat red meat twice a week - the rest of the time either chicken, turkey or fish. When I had another blood test last month my cholestrol had halved. But having said all that about diet I still have the tablets to take. I am sure years ago 5 was just about an ok figure - they keep moving the goal posts. I am sure your doctor will be able to give you more advise.
Love Mary xx


Sheila Report 10 Jul 2008 16:25

Thanks all.

Roxanne - thanks for confirming my view re the good and bad and for the pointer re Benecol. I thought I was doing the best for him, but possibly not. However I am quite aggrieved that the consultant provided no dietary information whatsoever!

I asked OH to get the split when he went today, but the nurse didn't tell him and I guess he forgot to ask (typical). I'll try to get him to ask when he sees the GP as I guess the next step will be medication and I think we ought to know whether he really needs it before he starts taking it.

Thanks again



AnnCardiff Report 10 Jul 2008 16:28

when I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol - 9.5 - after I kept having what I thought were heart attacks with excruciating chest pains. my GP said he give me statins. I said let me get it down myself, I eat all the wrong foods. A month later I went back for a further test after having cut out butter, cream, biscuits, cake and all the things I like. It was now 11.5!!!! Obviously my GP said it is not what you are eating, it is familial - either of both your parents had high cholesterol. So I am now on statins for life - Atorvastatin - and my reading is between 4 and 5 at the last test.


AnninGlos Report 10 Jul 2008 16:29

I think the fast is 12 hours not 24!

They seem to be aiming to get it down to 3 point something. I did read that diet and exercise alone wont lower it if it is high.

And they should do some sort of equation to get to the figure they are looking for.



AnnCardiff Report 10 Jul 2008 16:30

statins by the way have all sorts of extra benefits and are life savers and I have never had any ill effects from them - started on Simvastatin and then changed to Atorvastatin.


AnnCardiff Report 10 Jul 2008 16:31

before my annual test I fast from 10:00 pm the previous night and have the test around 9:00 next day


SallyF Report 10 Jul 2008 16:35

My MiL has had to try various different forms of tablets and statins have had bad effects for her, so they aren't necessarily the right thing for everyone.

Ann in glos, I think you're right! 12 not 24 hour fast. But whichever it is fairly important that it's done.


AnnCardiff Report 10 Jul 2008 16:37

what on earth happens then if you can't tolerate statins? Is there anything else I wonder


SallyF Report 10 Jul 2008 16:40

There are varying forms of them and different dosages. She is on a statin but has to be kept an eye on as they can affect her quite badly.


AnninGlos Report 10 Jul 2008 16:43

Neither of us have had any problems at all with Simvastatin. But not all people are tolerant of statins I know.



SallyF Report 10 Jul 2008 16:44

Side effects can include depression and muscle pain. For MiL it was the muscle pain that was the problem. She had a really bad time with it.
There is an interesting article here

I'm glad you're OK on them though Ann.


AnnCardiff Report 10 Jul 2008 16:56

thanks Sally, thankfully I doing fine


CATHKIN Report 10 Jul 2008 20:11

The fast is 8 hours -you starve from midnight but drink water , black tea or black coffee, Ros xx


CATHKIN Report 10 Jul 2008 20:15

You also need to look at the whole picture by doing a CVRA -Cardiovascular risk assessment -age , sex , good and bad chol , blood pressure , family history . , smoking status. Some people could have a chol of eg 6 , non smoker bp okay and risk would be low , another person chol 6 , smoker high bp , family history , risk high may need statin -everyone is different.
Ros xx


CATHKIN Report 10 Jul 2008 20:43