Wednesday 22 November 2017

Actor Bryan Murray: 'I struggled to maintain my levels'

Case Study 1: Bryan Murray

Actor Bryan Murray (67)
Actor Bryan Murray (67)

Áilín Quinlan

Bryan Murray now firmly believes in statins - the Fair City actor, who plays Bob Charles in the popular RTE series, has been on the cholesterol medication for around four years.

The 68-year-old has changed his mind-set both about how he views his condition and how he manages it. He says: "By taking statins I'm managing my cholesterol levels, which have been proven to be potentially fatal," he says, adding that although at one point he fought very hard to cope through rigorous diet and regular exercise alone, he eventually lost the battle.

Bryan's father and younger brother have both had issues with high cholesterol, and, he now says, he has come to view it as a condition which he manages with the statins recommended by his doctor - and regular check-ups. "I've come to see it not as something that is an illness that I must treat with medicine, but as a condition that potentially poses a threat to my life.

"This is a condition that can be managed by taking statins on a daily basis and I would recommend it - particularly to men," he says, adding that before he went on statins his cholesterol levels had reached a high of six.

His last check-up showed his level at about five. "That is OK. My potential for having high cholesterol is very clearly there, and I believe it would be a lot higher if I wasn't taking my statins. I don't want to leave the party for a while yet, and taking statins, exercising and being responsible for yourself ensures that!," he says.

"People of my grandfather's age died because of a stroke - and strokes were primarily caused by high cholesterol," he says.

In his early sixties, Bryan initially struggled to reduce high cholesterol levels through healthy eating and exercise, walking four kilometres a day, eating lots of vegetables and significantly reducing his red meat intake.

After nine months of this, his cholesterol levels dropped to under five mmol/l (the measurement used for cholesterol). However, six months later, tests revealed his levels had spiralled back up to six.

"The fact that it went back up after such a rigorous change in my lifestyle meant I couldn't afford to eat a piece of cheese or I was limiting my life - what I now realise is by taking statins I'm not limiting my life, but protecting it!"

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