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I am still trying to work out how long is "long enough" to wait between cholesterol tests.....

Like SiF, my mild chest aches have been deemed to be non cardiac related so cheerier on that front but cholesterol is still a concern

My new dietary habits of no red meat and mostly veggie, combined with my intake of various cholesterol lowering additives like Benecol etc should bring down both my cholesterol level and, more usefully, my good v bad ratio and I have been on that schtick now for 3 months.
Did they ever send you for that CT scan to check for calcification of the heart's arteries (cardiovascular disease)? You mentioned it a couple of months ago. I can't overstress the importance of CAC scores via a CT scan to check for arterial disease/calcification or in plain English, blocked arteries. I don't think blood tests, ECG & risk factor analysis are sufficient. My step dad died aged 48 due to a heart attack, it was his first. He'd been prescribed something for high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, he was given all the standard advice such as to cut down on red meat, cheese, butter and all the rest of it, but about 3 months after first seeing his GP he had a massive heart attack with no prior warning, he'd never been to the hospital or been scanned but I can imagine if they had have scanned him he would have been booked in for a stent or a bypass which could have prevented his death. This was 2001, things have come a long way since then but I still don't think they've come far enough. The NHS is fantastic if you get hit by a car or catch a serious disease but I don't think they do prevention all that well, at least not when it comes to heart disease and diabetes (which is quickly becoming the number 1 health issue). It's worth bearing in mind CVD is more common in men than women, and even so kills 3 times more women each year than breast cancer does, yet who knows about it or thinks about it until something happens? Women of an at-risk age are invited for scans to check for breast cancer every 3 years, but no-one is automatically invited for scans to check for CVD, even people who are at high risk due to obesity, diabetes, smoking etc. I think it is imperative that we all try to educate ourselves a bit more about this and spread the word, and even spending a couple of hundred quid on a private scan if you can't get a referral from your GP I would say is money well spent. My father in law had a mild heart attack last spring, his sister died a few months ago, both early 60s & very health-conscious, but ultimately they both had things wrong with them which they didn't find out about until something bad happened. When we got the call to say he'd had a heart attack and was on his way to hospital it just brought me back to 2001, felt all too familiar and could very easily have been far worse than it was. I've made big changes to my lifestyle to fend this off and am going to allocate a couple of hundred quid a year to pay for scans every few years & bloodwork maybe twice a year to monitor my health on an ongoing basis. Probably a better investment than a life insurance policy.
 

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Discussion Starter #104
Did they ever send you for that CT scan to check for calcification of the heart's arteries (cardiovascular disease)? You mentioned it a couple of months ago. I can't overstress the importance of CAC scores via a CT scan to check for arterial disease/calcification or in plain English, blocked arteries. I don't think blood tests, ECG & risk factor analysis are sufficient.
Yes they did. And I have a 0 calcium score. So after that, and all the other tests combined, I have a clean bill of cardiac health. It was quite a routine to get the blockage risk checked too - A full chest CT with injected blue dye and beta blockers so they can see the flow and the rate. When the blue dye goes in it's warm and it's incredible how quickly the heart gets stuff round your body! Feels like you've p155ed your sleeping bag after 10 pints.

I feel thoroughly robust on the Cardiac front (y)
 

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Yes they did. And I have a 0 calcium score. So after that, and all the other tests combined, I have a clean bill of cardiac health. It was quite a routine to get the blockage risk checked too - A full chest CT with injected blue dye and beta blockers so they can see the flow and the rate. When the blue dye goes in it's warm and it's incredible how quickly the heart gets stuff round your body! Feels like you've p155ed your sleeping bag after 10 pints.

I feel thoroughly robust on the Cardiac front (y)
Absolutely great result, no CVD at all then. The heart is an amazing thing, it can work non-stop for over a hundred years. Even with all our modern technology and engineering, Alfa can't seem to make a waterpump that you can trust to go beyond 5 years. Given your clean bill of heart health, do you feel trying to lower your cholesterol level is worth it? (assuming you don't have high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol). Its not widely known but although high cholesterol has a correlation with heart problems, it also has a reverse correlation with all-cause mortality, and particularly diseases of the brain.
 

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Absolutely great result, no CVD at all then. The heart is an amazing thing, it can work non-stop for over a hundred years. Even with all our modern technology and engineering, Alfa can't seem to make a waterpump that you can trust to go beyond 5 years. Given your clean bill of heart health, do you feel trying to lower your cholesterol level is worth it? (assuming you don't have high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol). Its not widely known but although high cholesterol has a correlation with heart problems, it also has a reverse correlation with all-cause mortality, and particularly diseases of the brain.
I have zero risk factors for heart health APART from high cholesterol (7.3 in 2017 and 6.9 in 2019) and a bad mix of LDL with 85:15 bad:good

Outside of that I have consistently normal blood pressure, zero CAC score, no family history of heart issues, non-smoker, a trim and (may I say, silky smooth) frame at 5ft 10 inches and 12 and a half of your Queen's stones. I also have reasonable exercise levels for someone of my advanced years (although that exercise is largely made up of hound walking and excessive self-abuse - (strict rule that this is always at different times to each other)).

I shall continue to work on lowering my cholesterol and bettering my good:bad ratio - but without the previously nagging fear that my arteries and heart were basically fatty solids. Now I will be doing it with longer term care in mind.
 

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I have zero risk factors for heart health APART from high cholesterol (7.3 in 2017 and 6.9 in 2019) and a bad mix of LDL with 85:15 bad:good

Outside of that I have consistently normal blood pressure, zero CAC score, no family history of heart issues, non-smoker, a trim and (may I say, silky smooth) frame at 5ft 10 inches and 12 and a half of your Queen's stones. I also have reasonable exercise levels for someone of my advanced years (although that exercise is largely made up of hound walking and excessive self-abuse - (strict rule that this is always at different times to each other)).

I shall continue to work on lowering my cholesterol and bettering my good:bad ratio - but without the previously nagging fear that my arteries and heart were basically fatty solids. Now I will be doing it with longer term care in mind.
You might find this interesting, popped up on my Youtube feed today, I think Google Chrome must be suggesting to Youtube what videos I might be interested in... :unsure:

An interesting presentation mostly talking about cholesterol / LDL and experimentation with raising / lowering his levels with diet. Tallies well with what Mitojohnners was saying earlier on in the thread too.

 

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One thing about this health lark, though....everyone's a feckin expert.

No disrespect to anyone - it's more a measure of my naivety and ignorance.
 

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One thing about this health lark, though....everyone's a feckin expert.

No disrespect to anyone - it's more a measure of my naivety and ignorance.
It's great that more people are taking active measures to look after their health, the more we learn about it the better choices we'll make and the healthier we'll be. The amount of resources available to learn about this sort of thing now compared to just 10 years ago or so is staggering. I did my degree in economics and in the 13 years since graduating I have kept up with it, I've always aimed for a book per month, but in the last couple of years I have spent more time on Youtube watching lectures, presentations, interviews etc, quite often from the same people who were writing the books I was previously reading, and it is much more accessible and I think it sinks in lots easier. In the last 6 months I've done the same thing with health, literally everything you want to or could ever need to know is on Youtube. Just check who it is making the videos as there are obviously a lot of flat-earth types out there spouting nonsense.
 

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Slightly off topic, but I agree, the easy access to verifiably good information on almost any given topic is incredible.

And yet, many will take Piers Morgan as their bellwether.
Tom Watson's take on it (only the first half of this video, last half is audience questions):

 

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I am quite familiar with cholesterol at 7.3. Thats where mine was before my Atorvostatin. I'm not totally sure whether statins really help or not, been some convincing arguaments either way. I eventually elected to take them to hedge my bets. Call them my live for ever tablets because really thats what they are all about isn't it. Seem to get kind of annual blood tests now, never been told what my current reading is though. Consensus seems to be as long as its lower than it was it's all good.
The one that really pi**ed me off was the ten year misdiagnosing of my gout. I went several times and pointed out the toe joint enlarging and the pain. " It's a bunion " was all I could get out of them. Went on for ten years like that until eventually I went in saying that the 'Bunion' must be infected because of the incredible pain only to have this doctor say " well it's obviously gout". When I asked why previous doctors had denied this in spite of my prompting she shrugged and said " the last doctor wrote Gouty arthritis on your notes" Well why the **** didn't he tell me then I asked. " Obviously didn't want the have the conversation with you" And that really makes me mad because I suffered gout for ten years off and on and the attacks do damage to the joint that endures, so I now get just Arthritis pain due to the damage the gout has done. Once diagnosed correctly I altered what I did and have not had a bad attack since.
Don't get me started on getting an appointment, two soddin weeks for just a ring back, general advice...don't get ill.
 

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I've had a bout of gout this week. I don't know my triggers.

I emailed my docs and asked for a prescription without appointment. Which they provided (though they didn't tell me). I ended up seeing a nurse, showing her my toe....she checked the system and said "your prescription is at Asda".

I'm now walking in a Naproxen wonderland.
 

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Discussion Starter #115
I am quite familiar with cholesterol at 7.3. .... Consensus seems to be as long as its lower than it was it's all good.
That's the approach I am hoping for. I've gone from 7.3 to 6.9 and provided my next reading is lower than 6.9 - based on my more thoughtful diet - then I will be happy.

When you had 7.3 as a total reading - did you know what your Good:Bad mix was? I'm guessing that 7.3 with a good/bad mix of 50/50 is a whole lot better than my 6.9 with a mix of 85 bad/15 good.....

Don't get me started on getting an appointment, two soddin weeks for just a ring back, general advice...don't get ill.
Conversely - the NHS were, and continue to be, an absolute machine for me. GP appointments available straight away, specialist sessions never more than a few days away - including a referral to a private MRI clinic all paid for by the NHS etc. Amazing service round my neck of the woods in this instance.
 

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That's because every other bugger in your posh Southern neighbourhood goes private. ;)
 

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I do wonder if it sometimes about how you engage.

I use the online service at my GPs. I order prescriptions and book appointments. I can, if I need an emergency, call from 8am with the jam-eaters, coffin dodgers and mouth-breathers.

Using online services gives me the option of online consultation, email services and phone calls with my GP.

It does help. IF you're in a position to access that way.
 

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I also use the online system. Far better than speaking to the new receptionist who thinks she knows more than she actually does.

“We don’t support that online app sir”

You do I’ve been using it for years, but now it’s not letting me log on.

Doctor in background: “We do support that app, it’s our preferred app”

“I didn’t know that” But I’ll proffer an opinion anyway.
 

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I've had a bout of gout this week. I don't know my triggers.

I emailed my docs and asked for a prescription without appointment. Which they provided (though they didn't tell me). I ended up seeing a nurse, showing her my toe....she checked the system and said "your prescription is at Asda".

I'm now walking in a Naproxen wonderland.
You need your purine levels as low as possible. Different foods give higher or lower levels depending on how much protein they have. High protein foods break down in digestion and put Purines in your blood, your kidneys then filter your blood to clean it. The Purines manifest in blood as Uric acid. When your Uric acid levels get too high the acid crystalises out into your joints and the resulting crystals are Gout. They have a double whammy. First they grind the joint and erode it, also your body identifies them as an attacker and your immune system attacks the joint causing the inflamation and pain.The Naproxen is to damp down the inflamation. You need to keep the Purine level as low as you reasonably can, or at least below the trigger point where the acid crystalises. The foods to avoid for me essentially contain brewers yeast, so in addition to beers you are looking at the group of foods that contain Marmite, Bovril, Vegimite, fermented sauces like Soy and Oyster. Apparently Asparagus too. I'm vegetarian, but most proteins are found in meat and shellfish. The downloadable lists on the Gout/ Arthritis sites will guide you much better. You don't need to be obsessive about your food, just cut down on the bad stuff sufficiently to keep you below the trigger point of Uric acid concentration which flashes into crystals. Wine and non yeasty alcohol is not a problem in itself BUT, your kidneys, when confronted with alcohol filter it out first because it's a toxin and leave the Uric acid for later. As a result the Uric acid level creeps up whilst its waiting to be filtered out and, if you're unlucky enough to be close to the trigger point of concentration, bring on an attack. Ironically, once your blood has dumped the Uric acid into the joint as crystals the level of Uric acid in circulation falls, therefore the blood can start to reabsorb the acid, so attacks are to a degree self limiting.
Obviously I'm not a doctor, I've just looked into it to have less Gout attacks, so far I'm doing ok. One last thing though. If an attack starts take Naproxen early. You may be able to prevent the inflamation getting too much of a hold when your immune system fires up, this can shorten and lighten the attack.
The other things do, based on advice I have read, is take a decent sized vitamin C supplement daily and drink some skimmed milk. Whether these thing are helping I don't truly know but I'm managing to avoid Gout so I keep doing it.
 

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You need your purine levels as low as possible. Different foods give higher or lower levels depending on how much protein they have. High protein foods break down in digestion and put Purines in your blood, your kidneys then filter your blood to clean it. The Purines manifest in blood as Uric acid. When your Uric acid levels get too high the acid crystalises out into your joints and the resulting crystals are Gout. They have a double whammy. First they grind the joint and erode it, also your body identifies them as an attacker and your immune system attacks the joint causing the inflamation and pain.The Naproxen is to damp down the inflamation. You need to keep the Purine level as low as you reasonably can, or at least below the trigger point where the acid crystalises. The foods to avoid for me essentially contain brewers yeast, so in addition to beers you are looking at the group of foods that contain Marmite, Bovril, Vegimite, fermented sauces like Soy and Oyster. Apparently Asparagus too. I'm vegetarian, but most proteins are found in meat and shellfish. The downloadable lists on the Gout/ Arthritis sites will guide you much better. You don't need to be obsessive about your food, just cut down on the bad stuff sufficiently to keep you below the trigger point of Uric acid concentration which flashes into crystals. Wine and non yeasty alcohol is not a problem in itself BUT, your kidneys, when confronted with alcohol filter it out first because it's a toxin and leave the Uric acid for later. As a result the Uric acid level creeps up whilst its waiting to be filtered out and, if you're unlucky enough to be close to the trigger point of concentration, bring on an attack. Ironically, once your blood has dumped the Uric acid into the joint as crystals the level of Uric acid in circulation falls, therefore the blood can start to reabsorb the acid, so attacks are to a degree self limiting.
Obviously I'm not a doctor, I've just looked into it to have less Gout attacks, so far I'm doing ok. One last thing though. If an attack starts take Naproxen early. You may be able to prevent the inflamation getting too much of a hold when your immune system fires up, this can shorten and lighten the attack.
The other things do, based on advice I have read, is take a decent sized vitamin C supplement daily and drink some skimmed milk. Whether these thing are helping I don't truly know but I'm managing to avoid Gout so I keep doing it.
This is an interesting article which summaries a recent study about gout & diet, I found it when talking to a friend of mine who has gout in one of his big toes. He's only 26 but he is a big lad with a terrible diet (whole 500g pack of dried pasta cooked in one go with a jar of cheese sauce or pesto is a particular favourite - over 2000cals right there), he is probably pre-diabetic / insulin-resistant and the inflammation/gout symptoms could be coming from that. Funnily enough he is mostly vegetarian also, and has been for a while to try and help with the gout.. I'm trying to suggest to him that the huge carb feasts and resultant blood sugar/insulin spikes with very little real nutrition could be a big part of the problem.

 
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