High Cholesterol

Hmm, well without units it can be hard to tell, but… the U.K. Units on the google sites I’ve found so far (mmol) seem to be the same as ours in Aus, which makes 9 very high. 4 is ideal, and if you have any risk factors in additional to the normal population, then in Aus they see below 6 as a necessity.

So I’m guessing she doesn’t want to shock you, and that she (very perceptively) realized that sending you away with a prescription without time to process and a proper explanation would be counterproductive.

Time for you to read up on cholesterol and the variety of both lifestyle and medication interventions, so you can be informed next visit.

Not an extra you, or any of us need, but now that it’s been thrust upon you…,


Sorry Jen, should have said that anything above 5 is considered ‘bad’. Yes, I have a bit of learning to do. But I have the impression that there are different ways of seeing this and want to weigh them up.

That said, for the first time ever I had a baked potato without half a ton of cheese & butter, not bad! I’ve probably got a bit gungho about these products. I could start by taking the same approach I’ve adopted with wine - quality (or at least tastiness) over quantity.

Good for you! It’s often hard at the start, but gets easier :grinning:

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I guess where I’m coming from is do we think that high cholesterol may be linked to PsA?

The problem with quality over quantity is how badly it effects your Christmas Decorating - just sayin:



Anyone would think I’ve been lingering by tntlamb’s splendid Christmas tree too long because it would help if I’d posted a link to the discussion I was actually thinking of. Here it is:

I’m particularly interested in Seenie’s links. Only thing is, I’m not overweight so apart from having PsA I don’t fit the profile mentioned in the first article the links provide.

Hi Sybil (and all :slight_smile:), I remember reading somewhere that inflammation increases cholesterol levels in the blood, and therefore, that high cholesterol levels can be attributed to PsA… I’m definitely not an expert, just an interested party in this lol… I’m pretty sure @tntlamb could either correct me or enlarge on it all :wink:

My simple understanding is that cholesterol is made in the liver to be sent to help heal inflammation (I think it is the HDL that is helpful there, but might have that back to front lol).

Oh, and body weight doesn’t necessarily equate to cholesterol levels either, my sister is well under the ideal weight for size, but she has high cholesterol levels.

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Yes,mine is close to 9 as well.My new GP was on the ball in getting it checked a couple of months ago, since my soon to be fired Rheumy had not considered it important to check.It came as a shock to me too,and after reading about PsA and it’s link to high cholesterol I do think the consideration of statins may be worthwhile. I have been on them for 6 weeks now and will have levels checked again at 12 weeks to see if they have gone down.There are also some studies that show taking statins actually helps with reducing inflammation in PsA.

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Lots of cyber hugs Sybil. We only have to look at @Grandma_J’s recent issues with statins so please do proceed with care. I haven’t seen any studies about statins limiting inflammation just those that say they cause more inflammation, symptoms and general unwellness. But I know I have a horror of them. I know I sit here saying doling out statins to the population at large as the NHS wants to do isn’t actually all that clever. I simply don’t believe such a notion is properly coherent. Not when so many can’t tolerate them.

Why don’t you check in with Bath on the whole issue? I’m sure their guidance would be really useful. More hugs.

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Interesting janson.

I think it might be a case of ‘inflammation, what inflammation?’ as raised inflammatory markers and very swollen joints are a thing of the past. But speaking as the person who has to live with this body, I’m open to the idea that my inflammation is much reduced but not conquered. Seems to me that on biologic therapy you may get your life back - (tick), feel human again - (tick) and have much healthier & safer joints - (again tick). But also that PsA keeps on flying under the radar, just in different ways.

With all those ticks sounds like I should be on the Lyme Disease community! I’m not looking for trouble, believe me - I totally appreciate how well I usually am.

Thanks for that thoughtful reply.

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Aha, another ‘naughty person’. I don’t mean that, but just reflecting that high cholesterol can be one of those things that makes some doctors treat you like you should be doing community service. I was lucky to get a GP with such good people skills.

I know it’s a long shot, I read a lot of potentially useful things that I’ll never find again, but you don’t happen to have a link to any of those studies do you?

Good luck with the statins. I’m just not sure about it all yet.

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Hi Poo.

Yes, I agree, I’m very aware of Grandma_J’s recent experiences and the discussions that helped her make some decisions on that score.

I have a rheumy appointment on the 6th December so will try to bring this up then.

How are you doing at the moment? Is your leg healing?

Sadly the leg has got another infection. I am beyond fed up with it. But the good news is that sulfasalazine is really working. Best of luck on all fronts with the cholesterol issue and the appointment.

S’truth!! Have they considered trying Manuka honey? Kind of sounds like time to think outside the box.

Thanks for the good wishes.

Hi Sybil! Well, well, well! Damn it, huh?
I just happened to log on and the first thing I saw was Poo’s latest comment on this and I’m like,WTF now???!!! Oh no!
I can tell you that blood pressure can be low or normal but you can still have high cholesterol and a heart attack because it happened to both my brother (at 63) and sister (at 51). In my case, I’ve been taking a BP med since 50, and it was pretty well controlled but I still had the blockage (heredity and I wasn’t taking anything to lower my cholesterol). It’s really, really hard to predict who’ll have the heart problems and who won’t–my MIL had uncontrollable high BP and super high cholesterol AND RA and lived to be 87 and never had heart issues!!! It seems my husband’s side of the family doesn’t have heart attacks, but they do have everything else under the sun. My family-uncles (my mom and dad both had no sisters) and a few cousins have all had heart attacks.
So, you see, it’s hit and miss! I would never tell you not to take a statin–maybe start out with a really low dose and you won’t necessarily have SEs. I started on 10mg of Crestor (rosuvastatin) and my LDL dropped 100 points! After a few months I told my doctor it was giving me horrible brain fog/confusion so we lowered it to 5mg and my chol stayed down!
But those icky SEs got so bothersome, I had to go off it altogether (which you all know already). I just started a new med to lower it and do far, so good. It’s called fenofibrate and I’m on a low dose (54 mg) and hoping it works for me…
Oh Sybil, what next?
I hope changing your diet helps. If you can get foods with added plant sterols they really help. I started eating oatmeal almost every day. I was off the Crestor for about 6 weeks and with adding those helpful foods my LDL went down 20 points. That wasn’t enough–that’s why I’m on the fenofibrate now…can you get an artificial butter spread called Benecol? Also, Minute Maid has heart wise oj, too.
I have an appointment this afternoon with my cardiologist–it’ll be interesting what he says about me going off the Crestor…
Good luck!


We managed to get my ex from 6 to below 4 with diet (in 3 months), it won’t work for everyone but might be worth a go. Part of that was the plant sterols products (milk and yoghurt - you can also get margarine but we didn’t use that) Grandma J referred to, they had some good scientific evidence, though I did my research ten years ago - you’d want to check to make sure no nasty SEs have arisen since then with long term use as they were relatively new.

There’s so much info out there now, you probably don’t need me to run down the dietary changes - but if you do want them just let me know! The GP was so impressed she wrote it down and asked if we could use it on her other patients :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Wow, Jen, I’d be interested in the dietary changes you mentioned!

Hi Grandma_J!

I did ask the GP whether I was going to have a heart attack, but she didn’t have her crystal ball to hand either. I suspect this cholesterol thing will be something & nothing. Might just be that since PsA seems to incline me to lose weight I’ve been making hay while the sun shines a little too much i.e. the good diet which I do actually enjoy - primarily loads of veg, oily fish, pulses, olive oil, a bit of meat etc. plus, increasingly, (moment of honesty) whatever else I fancy on top! I mean, I have live yogurt or porridge (oatmeal) with fruit for breakfast every day, that’s normal - the cake a few hours later probably isn’t necessary! It’s no big deal for me to lose the extras.

Jen’s post gives me hope, because I don’t want statins & I’d like to keep my doctor happy if possible too. I wouldn’t want more medication anyway, though of course your experience does loom large in my mind. One thing is I’m anti margarine but I can do without spread on bread.

Then again … what are my chances of getting right back down to the magic ‘5 or under’? If PsA’s contributing to the levels me & doctors may have to meet in the middle.

There’s no structure to this reply 'cos I got up early as I now also have 24/7 back pain which is worse at night. As you know, I can’t be bothered to get my own health issues so just copy yours. I’m guessing you must have constipation too, on that basis. That’s a new thing, well done me. Going to get a spine x-ray today but I won’t be going to the hospital cafe after, they do lousy cake anyway.

Somehow you always cheer me up! You really do. How did the appointment with the cardiologist go?


Yes we’ve talked about manuka honey but they seem unwilling to get the prescribed impregnated bandages for that. Did you know in the UK we don’t have wound specialists unless you’ve got a vascular issue? Even BUPA don’t have them.

Anyway best of luck with your spine xray today.

Ok, so I obviously can’t promise what we did will work for anyone else, but here goes;

We had both put on a little bit of weight (not heaps), but we all know weight around the stomach increases cholesterol, so this diet is based on moderate weight loss for the first three months. If you don’t need to lose weight, just up the calories to your normal amount, without cheating with extra sarurated fat or Sugar.

For women, around 1500 calories total in a day, for men, around 1800, both including drinks. We would calories count across a week, and I wouldnt recommend you try to do this consistently each day - aim for most days at 1200/1500, so occasionally you can have a meal/ drinks without thinking about it / feeling deprived.

Within your calorie allocation;

Eat heaps of fruit and veg,
Bread should be only multigrain with lots of nuts and seeds,
Use sterol fortified milk,
Afternoon snack of sterol fortified yoghurt,
Eat very lean meats - chicken breast, kangaroo (ok, that’s for Australians only -maybe turkey?) ham with all fat trimmed, canned tuna in spring water, fish at least once a week
Use only olive oil, when you are cooking, use only a small spray from an aerosol can - 2g per person max.
Maximum added oil for cooking (including spray in the pan, home made and pre-prepared dressings etc), is 5g per day
Choose only one processed food occasionally to be the centerpiece of a meal (e.g. sausages), and when you do, DO NOT eat anything more than 10g of fat per 100g
Snack on foods with good oils, avocado on toast, almonds (both of which are particularly high in antioxidants and good oil).

We were relatively young, and had high alcohol consumption. We dropped that to 21 standard drinks per week in Australia (15 in the US). Still too much, but with our age it worked. That was wuthin the calorie allocation.

Once you’ve done that and lost the weight (or if you don’t need to), you can raise your calories a little but with complex carbs and goodv oils.

If you do this consistently then 1 meal per week you should be able to eat whaf you want.

The specific thing that the GP was so imleressed with was the LDL / HDL ratio. To achieve that, ths replacement of the saturated fats with things like nuts, avocado etc is critical.

Use lots of herbs, chilli, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice for flavour, and enjoy! :grinning: