Family with history of high cholesterol

i ask my cardiologist to allow me sometime with good diet and exercise to reduce my cholesterol instead of placing me on lipitor 10mg. He said high cholesterol is 80% familial and 20% diet. My parents both have coronaty disease with stent and my brother had stent placement 1 month before my stent placement. Any discusion on this topic

Report post

12 replies. Join the discussion

I would not say it that way, 80% familial. It is more 80% is what your liver makes, twenty percent is diet, but there are other reasons other than family history that contributes to your liver making a lot of cholesterol, like inflammation because of chronic medical conditions, stress, etc. and of course family history. So you can reduce your cholesterol through diet, but only a certain amount and exercise is a big help, more HDL means less LDL. It is a personal decision to take a statin and you will get some pretty heated discussion on that topic. With your family history I would consider it if I could take it, just my opinion. There are other options than statins, not as effective, but maybe less harmful. I had that rare but serious side effect from that dose of Lipitor, so for me, not a consideration at all. Good luck, you should get lots of responses.

Report post

I was being investigated for right upper abdominal pain and asked my family doctor whether I might have cardiac disease. He didnt think so because my cholesterol profile is good and he had seen nothing to indicate that I had cardiac illness. Fortunately he agreed to send me for a stress test. Four months later I have been hospitalized twice and had a stent to my LAD for a 95% blockage in Feb and a stent to my right coronary artery in Apr for another 95% blockage that was undetected on my first angiogram. My cardiologist explained to me that CAD is a very unpredictable illness. So, being on the appropriate meds, eating well and being on a prescribed exercise plan is the best that I can do to protect my heart and my quality of life.

I went on a 4 hr plane ride on my own last week to visit my older daughter in Calgary and spend a weekend in the Rockies with her. I flew home on my own yesterday carrying my nitrospray, meds, insulin and CPAP machine in my carry on luggage. It was my second trip since my last angioplasty. My younger daughter asked my cardiac interventionist if I could take a flight with her 36 hrs post my last stent and he said no problem as long as the flight was over land so the pilot could bring the plane down if I got into trouble. So I was slowly walking around Old Montreal 2 days post stent as she attended a professional conference there.

In the past 7 months I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, insulin dependent diabetes, gastritis, GERD, coronary artery disease, functional gallbladder disease and hypertension. I am on ten new medications and coping with their side effects. I am scared sometimes, angry sometimes depressed sometimes and feel sorry for myself sometimes...but mostly I am determined and feel so lucky to have such good healthcare. My younger daughter is pregnant and I am looking forward to becoming a grandmother early in the new year. I continue to enjoy my work as an RN and feel so fortunate to be able to focus on helping other people to cope with their medical challenges. I am so blessed with two supportive daughters who can put aside their fears and continue to travel with me.

A few days ago my older daughter asked me to consider a vacation with her in Hawaii in November and I said yes without thinking about maybe experiencing chest pain as we fly above the Pacific. It took me days to even think about that possibility and I think that is a very good sign that I am moving beyond my anxiety and am moving forward in my life. To be diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease is frightening and is a stark reminder that, as human beings, we are all vulnerable and fragile. It is a reminder that life is unpredictable at times, that life is finite and that I need to just go with the flow and find something enjoyable in life every single day.

So I am planning to continue my cardiac rehab, to continue to enjoy my life, to look forward to becoming a grandma and to look forward to flying over the Pacific. I am learning to accept that my health issues are what they are, and to pay them their due respect without allowing them to define who I am.

Report post

One of my cardiologists is studying the effects of family history and high cholesterol and is a very well known cardiologist at the Ottawa Heart Institute. It has been proven that there is a direct link between family history and high cholesterol production. Yes the liver creates the cholesterol but it is the genetics that create the environment where cholesterol cannot be managed by the body. Her name is Dr. MacPherson and you can look her up at the Ottawa Heart Institute to see where her studies are taking her. In my case, we've determined that family history is probably the biggest culprit In my cholesterol saga. We've detailed food studies, physical activity etc. etc. and have determined that there really is no good reason for my cholesterol to have been so high for so long other than a genetic component. My Grandparents had heart/stroke disease, aunts, uncles, Mother, Father and my sibling.
For the first time in about 40 years I had really really good blood work last month. This is due to medications (niacin, statin and ezetrol), food restrictions and exercise.

Report post

Sorry I posted my last entry in the wrong thread.

In response to your concerns about being placed on a statin....my endocrinologist started me on crestor even though my cholesterol profile was good to optimize it further because I have diabetes. That was before I was diagnosed with heart disease. I havent had any side effects and continue to take this medication.

With any med it is a question of assessing risks vs benefits. As an RN for 24 years my job has involved assessing my patients for med side effects. I have developed a lot of respect for the expertise of doctors in weighing risks/side effects and benefits when prescribing and in changing meds or dosages when appropriate. My family doctor, cardiologist and endocrinologist are all respectful and professional in providing me with care and followup. I do my part by monitoring my blood sugars and blood pressure, and by attending all of my medical appointments/following medical advice. I ask questions and am always involved in planning my care, but I accept and respect the expertise of the medical professionals who provide me with care.

Whatever choice you make is your choice to make. I personally wouldnt consider stopping the crestor that I take. It has optimized my cholesterol profile and maybe helped to prevent a heart attack in my case..who knows? I am tolerating this med and think it would be risky for me to attempt to manage my cholesterol with diet only. I think that the responsibility of the patient is to ask what the benefits and side effects are of any med and then to self monitor for side effects and followup with your doctor. Goodluck with whatever decision you make.

Report post

Amen to your first post Liz!

Report post

Good for you. I have taken three trips out of country since my heart attacks and stents and the first one I was a bit scared, but now am planning Costa Rica for this winter. Hawaii sounds wonderful.

Report post

Thank u everyone for answering my post. I feel much better now. I will stay on the lipitor but i will use coq 10 to combat side effects. As usual i trust whatever insite i get from this site

Report post

Thank you. I am new to this site. It helped so much to be able to put my thoughts snd feelings into words

Report post

I have high cholesterol which is also hereditary in my family. I'm on 80mg of Lipitor my numbers have gone down. My next blood work up if the numbers are down even more i'm asking my dr. to lower my dosage. My father had heart problems and died at a young age. I eat pretty healthy trying to get into more activity a little hard with my job.

Report post

There is high cholesterol in my family (paternal) and all I have every known is that the men in our family died young. Most family members died of heart related diseases. So did my sister at age 51. After my father died at age 42 in 1957, we started research with the University of Heidelberg and my sister and I were in the beginning studies concerning diet. This is when I watched my high fat intake. Not until the statins came along did I have any successful lowering of my LDL. I have been taking 80 mg since the mid 80s. I also took Niacin, quit smoking in the 70s, acquired a healthy lifestyle by exercising and was able to keep heart healthy until 5 years ago. I am 72 years old now and I feel like I beat the odds even with the recent open heart surgery having two bypasses (I had a stent inserted 5 years ago) and a valve replacement. Except for having developed asthma due to a cold, I am doing well. My energy is coming back and I am hopeful to live a few more years. Slowing down has been the most challenging for me as I am a Type A personality.

Report post

Wow Himmel...what an inspiring success story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

I too have a Type A Personality but am learning to go with the flow. To do otherwise is simply self destructive.

Report post

Good for you Threes. We cant change the fact that we have heart disease but we can choose how we live our lives with whatever challenges we face. Coronary Artery Disease is a reminder for me to do the things that I love for however long I can do them. Traveling is important to me so I just have to face my fears, build a bridge and get over it :)

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support WomenHeart

Help WomenHeart reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to  WomenHeart

Discussion topics

Heart health links and resources


The SCAD Ladies Stand Up -- Read the special report

Community leaders

Disclaimer

The information provided by this online support network through WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and Inspire is for general informational purposes only. The information is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. If you are ill, or suspect that you are ill, see a doctor immediately. In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease never recommends or endorses any specific physicians, products or treatments for any condition.