Tony has done well with getting his cholesterol under control. And he's had a notable failure. But as Tony tells it, "I've learned as much from the failure as I have from the success. Maybe more."
About 2 years ago, Tony's doctor told him that he had a high risk for heart attack and that his cholesterol was high. This meant that Tony, at the age of 55, started taking cholesterol medicine. "It was the fear that did it," admits Tony. "I'm about the age my dad was when he had his first heart attack. I was willing to do whatever the doctor told me. So I did it all—the heart-healthy diet, exercise, and cholesterol medicine. It was a lot of work to get used to. But my cholesterol went down. And my risk went down too. After 6 months, I was fit, I'd lost weight, and I felt great. I was golden."
Testing the limits
After a year or so of keeping up with his heart-healthy routine, Tony decided to make a change. "I figured I was ready to stop taking the cholesterol medicine. As long as I kept up with the healthy eating and exercise, I could keep my risk of a heart attack down. It made sense to me, anyway."
But his next cholesterol test told him otherwise. His LDL was up. "I didn't feel any different, but my cholesterol had jumped up. My doctor said my risk was higher again too. I felt like all this hard work was for nothing. But my doctor said that I needed to take my medicine again to lower my risk. And he couldn't stress enough that staying active, eating well, and keeping my weight down were all important."
Tried and true
So he plans to stay with his original routine. "I don't mind taking a pill a day," he says. "As long as it's doing me some good. And I no longer have any doubts about that."
This story is based on information gathered from many people living with high cholesterol.
For more information, see the topic High Cholesterol.
Current as of: December 15, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine