Medical Q&As

Cholesterol reduction - in the elderly?

I am a 76 years “young” male. I am in good health except for chronic hiatus hernia. I swim and walk every day. I eat a balanced diet, as recommend by my doctor. Yet my cholesterol is 6.1. I asked my doctor to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug for me and save me worry. But he will not. He said eat more fruit etc. I have high blood pressure. I take Centyl 2.5mgs daily. I can only take liquidised fruit. Too much bran, brown bread, gives me severe heartburn. Any suggestions?

Your cholesterol level is above the recommended level but is not dangerously high. Your doctor may have good reasons for not prescribing a statin or cholesterol-lowering drug for you therefore I am reluctant to go against his opinion since he is aware of all of your medical details. However, there is now an enlarging body of evidence that indicates that statins have beneficial effects in older people just as they have with the middle aged and younger. These studies have shown that statins can reduce the incidence of heart attack and stroke in the older population. It has also been shown that these beneficial outcomes can occur even in those with normal cholesterol levels, which raises the intriguing prospect that statins can have beneficial effects other than simply lowering cholesterol levels. I note your comments about your difficulties in eating a high fibre diet. You may find it useful to access our cholesterol clinic where you can find further information on cholesterol as well as obtaining a great deal of practical dietary advice. You can access that particular body of information through the following link: http://www.irishhealth.com/clin/cholesterol/chol_eating.html