January 18, 2024•495 words
I've had high cholesterol my entire life - even in my late 20s and early 30s I had high 200s and 300+ combined cholesterol. At times my HDL (the good cholesterol) was well balanced at other times it very low (equating to a lot of "bad cholesterol."
I've always resisted statins to regulate my cholesterol and tried through diet and exercise. But that didn't really work.
In my early 40s I used to run ALOT. I trained for multiple marathons and ran regularly (daily) and maintained a very healthy diet. At my peak (right before the Los Angeles Marathon) I was in great health, I essentially stopped drinking alcohol (because it would interfere with my running and I just didn't want it) and ate very healthy. I've never smoked or done other drugs and have mostly maintained a good lifestyle.
I remember shortly after running the LA Marathon thinking "now is the best time for me to get my cholesterol checked and see a doctor."
Sure enough, my cholesterol was still sky high. This doctor (like all the drs prior) recommended I get on statins.
Instead, I essentially gave up. I said, "If I'm at my health peak right now - and I still have cholesterol - then I was born this way and there aint nothing I can do about it and I'm not worried."
So I didn't worry about it.
A couple of years ago I go back to the dr and get a check-up and sure enough have high cholesterol and get prescribed statins. I ask the doctor about getting a CAC Test that I had read about. He agreed that it would be a great idea.
CAC stands for Coronary Artery Calcium - and the CAC Test is essentially a chest xray that takes a close look at your arteries around your heart and checks for calcium build up (plaque) that could be clogging your arteries. Depending on your score - they rank your risk of heart disease and a heart attack on an age calibrated score.
After years of high cholesterol and no statins - when I took the CAC test I halfway expected bad news (even if I had no other symptoms).
Well, I got the results back and my CAC Score was Zero (0). ZERO.
What does a ZERO CAC Score mean?
"A calcium score of zero in asymptomatic, low-risk adults makes the presence of atherosclerotic plaque or significant luminal obstructive disease highly unlikely and is associated with a very low risk (0.1% per year) of any cardiovascular event within 2 to 5 years (negative predictive value, 95%–99%)."
So, no, I'm not a doctor - but I'm certainly not worried about my high cholesterol AT ALL anymore.
And yes, I'm aware of dissenting opinions (like Dr. Peter Attia who I look up to immensely) that take statins as a preventative (prophylactic) measure - but I'll give him a pass on that.
For now.....I ain't worried about it.