Tony's Story: Taking Medicine for High Cholesterol

Tony's story

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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, had to start cholesterol medicine right away. "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 LDL dropped, and my HDL went up. And 6 months later, 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 cholesterol 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. I felt like all this hard work was for nothing. But my doctor reminded me that my HDL was still good because I was exercising. And he couldn't stress enough that staying active, eating well, and keeping my weight down were all important."

Tried and true

Since restarting his cholesterol medicine, Tony has seen an improvement in his LDL and total cholesterol. 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.

Credits

Author Kathe Gallagher, MSW
Editor Cynthia Tank
Editor Katy E. Magee, MA
Associate Editor Michele Cronen
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Sue Barton, PhD, PsyD - Behavioral Health
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carl Orringer, MD - Cardiology, Clinical Lipidology
Last Updated February 8, 2010

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