Increased Cholesterol Levels & Blood sugar levels?

Hi ladies, my GP wanted to carry out some blood tests and unfortunately my Cholesterol has gone through the roof. It was already high and did take medication a few years ago, but had to stop as they were making me ill. It has gone up to 9.7 which is scary. My sugar levels are also too high and bordering on diabetes, which he is not happy about. Anyway he has consulted with the Onc and it could be the Steroids affecting the sugar levels so have to have a further test next week. Hope they are right on this one and will have to sort the cholesterol out with him - but not sure how yet! Whilst I do eat healthily with the chemo all the usual naughties have crept in so need to make concerted effort to avoid but not easy as you all know when this poison kicks in. I wondered if anyone else had experienced these increases and how you overcame them. Any replies would be appreciated as bit worried about these further health issues. Thank you . Adi x

bumping up thread…

Hi adi.

I can’t help on the cholesterol levels, but can say that the steroids definitely have a huge impact on blood sugar levels.

I’m diabetic (insulin dependant) so I have to monitor my blood sugar levels several times a day. My steroids are administered in the drip with my chemo, and my blood sugar levels just before I start are normal (about 5 mmo1/L). 2 hours later, as I finish chemo, they rise to about 14 mmol/L, so almost triple the normal level. That is due to the steroids, and the effect they have on metabolism.

I can bring this high sugar level down with insulin, temporarily, but it always creeps back up during the first week after chemo. If you are borderline diabetic, and not taking medication to control it, your sugar levels will probably be very high for the first week following chemo (and that is even if you only eat “normally”).

So your blood sugar levels will be elevated after chemo. If you are also eating lots of sweet, or starchy (carbohydrate rich) naughties, your blood sugar levels will climb even higher.

Try to avoid sugar, and sugary drinks, fruit juice, ice cream, rice, cakes, biscuits and sweets if you can, as these are the worst culprits for spiking your blood sugar (I know, it’s easier said than done).

Also limit white, starchy carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, pasta and the like). No need to cut them out altogether, but don’t eat them with every meal, and if you do eat them, eat only a small portion (about what would fit into the palm of your hand).

You can still allow yourself treats, but try things like berries, a handful of unsalted nuts or a square of dark chocolate.

Hopefully someone who knows about cholesterol will be along soon to help you out on that front.

Good luck with the tests!

Thanks Kittiekat, reassurance always a good thing. Doctor has just suggested another blood test to check sugar levels on Tuesday which is day before next Taxol, as he believes it is all related to the steroids. Good advice on the cholesterol front, but I try and juice twice a day (apple/beetroo and carrot) may cut it down to once a day.

Thinking of joing my slimming club again, just to keep it under control a bit but without the drastic dieting if you know what I am mean. I think it just makes you focus on what is going inside you. Everything tastes the same, so never satisfied but also very hungry after the poison. Hopefully things will settle today as taking last two steroids NOW!

Thanks again for the advice, much appreciated. Adi x

Hi Adi, My cholesterol levels are sky high too and my GP and Oncologist told me not to be over-concerned about it because the fact my medication can have affect the reading too. I just tried to cut down a bit on the things we all know can make the levels high. But I am not fanatical about it and believe that a little of what you fancy does you good. In fact I think I may just go and make a big gooey cake…Val


all your bloods can be a bit deranged when your body is being bombarded by treatment… i was advised not to have my cholesterol checked until treatment was finished… however seeing as yours has already been done they will prob want to follow you up till its sorted.

i always had slightly high cholesterol around about 6 however 3 months after last chemo my cholesterol was 9.6 and i was immediately put on 40mg of simvastatin and referred to the cardiologist at the lipid clinic… i have seen them 3 times and been checked for genetic hypercholesterolaemia as i wasnt overweight bmi around 21-22.

the simvastatin has worked and cholesterol now fluctuates between about 4.5 and 5.5… and have just been discharged from lipid clinic on lifetime simvastatin.

i didnt have taxol and not sure what effect it has on the heart but epirubicin does have a cardiac effect and cmf can have longer term cardiac effects (i was on e-cmf).

Lulu x

Thanks Val and Lulu. Just very reluctant to take any more medication. Will def watch what I eat and keep you posted. Have a lovely day. Adi