My Number was 350: Lisa Ranson
Lisa Lee-Ranson of Dunbar, West Virginia, was 32 years old when she was diagnosed with high cholesterol 20 years ago: “My number was 350,” she said. “I don’t remember LDL or HDL. I don’t know if they broke it down that way that many years ago.”
Her family physician recommended a daily dose of Metamucil, which she hated and did not take regularly or for any length of time. “I had no idea what cholesterol was or what impact having high cholesterol could have on me,” she recalled.
It wasn’t long before she found out. Within two years she was diagnosed with heart disease and had open-heart surgery for a double bypass. “That made me mad because I felt so old, taking a handful of medications,” she said. “I also felt old participating in cardiac rehab classes, even though I was the youngest person in the class, but I had a little talk with God and now have a sense of peace about it.”
She has gotten used to taking daily medications (80 mg of Lipitor®, 10 mg of Zetia® and 2000 mg of niacin). She doesn’t experience any adverse side effects. “I’ve incorporated low-fat/ low-cholesterol meals into my diet and attempt to stay active,” said Lisa, now 53 and a project manager at a regional medical center.
The medications have improved her numbers, but her LDL is still at 88, and her doctors want her below 70. To achieve that, they are suggesting she take PCSK9 inhibitors, a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs. She is currently waiting on approval from her insurance company.
“My advice to anyone with high numbers would be to follow all recommendations,” Lisa said. “Whether it’s taking daily medications, or developing a healthy lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise — DO IT! Know what your numbers are and what they should be and keep a close check on them to get them where they need to be. Your life just may depend on it.”