Sunday, May 13, 2012

Diet or Drugs?

As usual, my blood tests showed that I had high cholesterol and high triglycerides.  This is nothing new.  I've had about the same numbers since college when the tests were first started.  Back then, I had "normal" levels.  What has changed since then it the value for "high," which has decreased significantly since my college years.  My numbers haven't.

As usual, my doctor offers me the option of a statin drug to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.  Although I tried a statin drug once, I've decided to regularly turn down the option.  My approach is to modify my diet instead.

Here are my reasons to choosing diet:

  • Symptoms may not be the cause.    While high cholesterol does correlate with frequency of heart attacks, people with low cholesterol do have heart attacks.  Also, I've seen several friends take statin drugs to lower cholesterol but do not change their lifestyle in terms of exercise and diet.  They continue to eat high fat diets, but now have low cholesterol readings.

  • Have done it before.  Ten years ago, I went on a mostly salad diet and reduced my cholesterol below the "high" levels.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to maintain the diet back then.

  • Drug aversion.  I prefer to not take prescription drugs or have surgery when less intrusive options are available.  Since I have demonstrated that I can reduce my cholesterol and triglycerides through diet, I will try to use diet again.  My challenge will be to create a sustainable diet.

  • I'm sure my doctor needs to offer a statin drug, but he knows that I won't use one.  So I've set up a quarterly physical with him to monitor my cholesterol and triglycerides.  This will give me incentive to stick to a diet plan.  By my second visit, I had already reduced my triglycerides by 33% with no change in cholesterol.  I have made some diet adjustments that I think will reduce my cholesterol.    I'll find out how successful the adjustments are at my next physical in three months.

    For more on  New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or health advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2012 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


    Kurt @ Money Counselor said...

    I have similar challenges, and share your aversion to statins. I've recently started taking an over-the-counter natural product called Sytrinol. Not promoting it, I have no financial interest in it, just noting. If you Google it, you'll find some pretty impressive stats based on clinical trials for cholesterol and triglyceride improvement. Where I live, it costs about 50 cents per day.

    Super Saver said...

    Thanks for the tip. The information looks promising. For now, I probably stick with diet with a fish oil supplement, when I remember to take it. Will provide an update in August.