Somewhat to my chagrin, I filled in my risk factors into the new ACC/AHA guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention. I now find that I should have started statins eight weeks ago. Naughty, naughty, me. My blood pressure was a bit higher than the calculator liked 138/82, my cholesterol quite a bit higher at 6.0mmol/l.
Which means that I have already passed the 7.5% ten year risk score. O….M…..G. (I think my picture makes me look a bit younger than I am, although it was only taken last year – honest)
What to do?
I am now well beyond my ‘Statin by date.’ No longer can I be healthy without taking a statin. By the way, a friend came up with the concept of ‘statin by date.’ It did make me laugh, conjuring up the image of a sell by date on a can of baked beans. Or maybe Logan’s run. If you remember that film, once you reached the age of, I think it was thirty, you had to leave the colony as you had reached your sell by date. ‘No this is not au-revoir…. It is goodbye.’
Can I be reassured that my parents are both alive and healthy in their late eighties. My grandmother, on my mother’s side, lived to one hundred and two. No idea about my father’s side. WWII did for both my grandparents on that side.
Can I feel comfort in the fact that I play squash three times a week, go to the gym twice a week and walk when I can? Mind you all of this is wiped out by my excess consumption of alcohol I suppose – unfortunately. Also, I am in the overweight category with a BMI, of 28. But wait, isn’t the entire English rugby team obese, using the BMI. Must be all the training and muscle bulk that does it. Yes, the jolly old BMI.
No, I thought I was a pretty healthy chap. I have no real risk factors for heart disease at all. A resting pulse rate of 48, a reasonable blood pressure……
In truth I feel terribly sorry for the Swiss. They have the highest average cholesterol level in Europe at 6.4mmol/l (250mg/dl in those inconvenient US units). Surely the entire nation must be put on statins straight away. But, hold on, wait just one gosh darned minute. Don’t they have the second lowest rate of heart disease in Europe?
Why yes, they do. Only beaten by the French. Who have an average cholesterol levels higher than most other countries, they also eat the most saturated fat in Europe, and yet they have the lowest rate of heart disease. About one quarter that of the UK and US. I wonder how the ACC/AHA calculator works for them? Perhaps not that well. Ah oui, bonne chance. Zey must be, ‘ow you say ‘une paradox’. (Or would that be ‘un paradox’)
As you can tell I think I am grasping at straws. Who am I to attempt to stand against the massed intellectual power of the ‘experts.’ The reality is that I feel the breath of the grim reaper on the back of my neck, scythe in hand. I am now eight weeks past my statin by date, and I am not taking statins. The clock ticks in the background, I can sense the disapproval of cardiologists around the world weighing heavily upon me.
‘Forgive me father, for I haven’t statined.’