Er, What?

Some people. Indeed, sometimes, I am reminded that I am surrounded by stupid.

My GP wants me to go on statins even though I am slim, eat healthily and exercise. Can I say no?

Yes. It’s easy. It’s only one syllable and used often enough, can become a healthy habit. I do it a lot – including when my GP suggested that I take statins.

I’m slim, eat healthily and exercise regularly. But my cholesterol has gone up to 6.1, and the GP tells me I have a 14 per cent chance of having a stroke or heart attack within the next ten years. They’re pushing me to take statins. As my risk is low, is it really necessary?

The answer is no. There are alternatives and a risk basis such as this is never more than a guess. You could step under a bus tomorrow.

You’ve clearly been assessed using the QRisk3 calculator; this involves entering data about a patient — such as age, sex, ethnicity, blood pressure and weight — and then an alogorithm calculates the chances of having a heart attack or stroke within the following ten years.

At 14 per cent, your risk is moderate, and the guidelines recommends that people with a score of ten or more should be offered cholesterol-lowering medication — i.e. statins.

I tried plant stanols. These are known for their cholesterol lowering effects – along with a healthy lifestyle – without causing any adverse side effects. Sure, my GP tried again a few months ago (despite a noticed reduction in cholesterol levels) and again, I refused. Yes, I might drop dead of a heart attack or stroke in the next ten years. As I am in my mid sixties, the Grim Reaper is coming ever closer anyway. You have to die of something and living with the side effects of statins is not how I want to live. So I’ll take my chances. Which is what everyone must do – weigh up the pros and cons and make your own decision. And if that means saying no to your GP, so be it. They can’t force you. And once you get used to the idea, it can be quite liberating. I have said no on many occasions now – the time the ONS wanted to do a survey, when the NHS wanted to do one as well, I also said no to wearing face masks and taking a vaccine that I didn’t need. As I get older, the more I am saying no to things. I’m getting use to it. Try it, you might just like it.


  1. I’ve had one of the specialist diabetic nurses try to foist statins on me with the same kind of statistical analysis. Like the person in the OP, I’m slim and fit but also 65. It was made very clear to me that it was going into my records that I had refused and I made it very clear that I was fine with that. Presumably some people find taking personal responsibility a bit scary.

    • It’s because they can claim more money for ‘treating’ someone for something, which was always going to lead to them pressuring patients.

  2. I think that the 14% increase relates to the increase in risk, not an absolute risk because 14% absolute risk would be quite high indeed. Would you take a plane if it had a 14% chance of crashing?

    As in, you have an absolute risk of 5% (made up number) and that goes up by 14%. So your absolute risk is now 5.7%. Not quite the same.

  3. “Weigh up the pros and cons and make your own decision”

    Which is why – even if I do “Die Suddenly” – it won’t be the result of 12″ long clots obstructing my veins & arteries…

  4. The quack foisted statins on me without being asked. I took them for about three months and developed the well documented joint pain which disappeared when I stopped them. About three years later I developed rheumatoid arthritis. Coincidence or side effect?

  5. My doctor, who I have a lot of time for, offered me statins as I expect she was required to, but made it clear that she wasn’t an enthusiast for them and wasn’t pushing me. Another member of the practice told me recently that my chances of a heart attack in the next 10 years was 25%, but as I’m not far short of 80 that’s probably about par. So, no statins, no Covid jabs since 2001, no flu jabs and plenty of vitamin D . . . and hope for the best! Yes I do regret the early Covid jabs.

  6. I had a TIA (transient ischaemic attack., commonly called a mini stroke) about 14 years ago. The doctors put me on statins as a matter of routine. I developed muscle and joint pain over the next couple of years so I stopped taking the statins, mostly because I knew my cholesterol levels were low. When I told my GP she went “Meh” or something like that. I’m not sure if the muscle and joint pain got any better but they certainly didn’t get any worse. And I’m 75 next week, aches and pains are part of the territory.

  7. I expect the truth is that some people will benefit from statins, some people will not benefit, and few will be harmed by statins. The question is which people will benefit? Statistical risks apply to a defined population and therefore make a blunt tool for a doctor to use.

  8. That magical word NO should be used by many more people than currently.
    Watching the reactions from those used to compliance when they hear yon magic word is priceless and i confess a little addictive.

    I assumed i no longer had a doctor as not seen one for a dozen or so years, but they rediscovered i existed when they started foisting their gene poison on people, kerching, didn’t comply nor for their new flu/winter shots (whats in those?) either, but i did go when they asked me to attend for blood tests, few weeks later called me in, because i hadn’t phoned worried about the results (is operation fear at full throttle yet?) very nice nurse offered statins, the old magic word came out and that was the end of that.

    And they’re still pushing sodding flu shots via texts.


  9. I moved to a new area, and the new GP practise I joined did a range of tests to access my health. Everything was fine apart from cholesterol. They recommended some diet changes and a retest. When retested the level had fallen and they recommended statins, saying a 10% chance in the next 10 years of an issue. I said that I would continue with the dietary and activity changes to see how far it would come down first. The next test it was down again , but still a bit above their recommended level. However the doctor still tried to push the statins, despite the fact that my level was falling and continuing to fall. Anyway I said no, and he got the hump and said lets not bother with any further tests. Since then I have continued to lose weight , doing more exercise, and a healthier diet. So I doubt there is an issue there now. It was interesting to see the Doctors reaction.

    • It may stop them nagging but there are dangers in doing that.
      When the firm I was working for was putting in Blair’s vaunted IT System I had the opportunity to speak to Doctors and Nurses. Sadly, not to play but I digress.
      One story I was told was of a women who was prescribed some drugs and she threw them in the bin. No change, drug dose increased, still there them away, repeat for a while. Then she had a stay to hospital on an unrelated matter and they don’t let you have your own drugs they issue what they want so they gave her the drugs she was recorded as having and she died of an overdose.
      Much better being honest that giving a doctor false info.

  10. The cholesterol / heart disease link is currently being hotly disputed within the research community. From the Irish RCSI: “Link between high cholesterol and heart disease ‘inconsistent’, new study finds” (March 2022)

    Given the known hazards of Statins (Liver disease, arthritic conditions), I think I’ll give them a pass.

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