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Health update

Yesterday I got the results on the latest blood tests. The good news is that my blood glucose is still in the non-diabetic range. Fasting blood glucose level is about the same as six months ago, and AC1 has come down a little bit more (it has decreased every six months since the initial alarm bells were rung), although it's still at the high end of acceptable.

The bad news is that my bad cholesterol is back in at an unacceptable level. This is confounding to me, because: A) I take a statin (which has until now been doing what it's supposed to do), and B) I was thinking that the changes I've made in diet and exercise regimen in order to control my blood glucose would also have brought down my bad cholesterol levels. In fact, I'd been hoping I could ask my doctor if I could stop taking the statin to see if I was now able to control cholesterol through diet and exercise.

Well, we'll see what it looks like in another six months. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out if part of my dietary change has increased cholesterol intake. Hmph.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2014 06:32 pm (UTC)
My understanding -- which you should take with a grain of internet salt -- is that there's little relationship between serum cholesterol levels (what statins affect and what the blood tests measure) and heart attack risk.

That said, fish oil tablets might help with LDL reduction.
Jan. 10th, 2014 06:37 pm (UTC)
In my family the concern isn't heart attacks but strokes, but maybe statins don't help with that either.
Jan. 10th, 2014 06:43 pm (UTC)
I think strokes have a different mechanism.
Jan. 10th, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
Huzzah for the continued good news on your blood glucose and the steadily-declining A1C level. Go, you.

Tbe LDL result is confounding, especially since the stain had been working correctly.

Bodies are weird.
Jan. 10th, 2014 09:18 pm (UTC)
Too true. I'd really like to get off that statin, and this has kind of thrown me for a loop.
Jan. 11th, 2014 03:12 am (UTC)
Cholesterol tests do bounce around. I had a high one a few years ago for no apparent reason but subsequent tests were right back where they usually are.
Jan. 11th, 2014 03:33 am (UTC)
Thanks for that. I hope that's what this turns out to be!
Jan. 11th, 2014 04:08 am (UTC)
Years ago, my cholesterol was 325. I did mega diet and exercise changes, and it came down to ... 290. It was incredibly frustrating going to the gym 6 days a week, losing 15 pounds, and eating a diet that was crazy high in fiber and low in fat, and still seeing those high numbers. Just to add insult to injury, at the start, my HDL was high, which is supposed to be good. When I went from sedentary to buff, my HDL dropped, making my LDL/HDL ratio worst. In my case, the really high numbers were driven by taking hormonal birth control pills. Once I stopped them, it dropped a lot.

That was a long time ago. These days I take Choleast (red yeast rice) and my cholesterol is under 200. My former naturopath (she moved out of town, dammit) sent my sample out to a lab that does a more detailed cholesterol test. Instead of just reporting LDL, HDL, and VLDL it broke in down into more subcategories. Turned out that for me, not everything that comes up "LDL" in a regular test was actually the bad stuff. The test cost more than a regular one, but was more informative.

Edited at 2014-01-11 04:09 am (UTC)
Jan. 11th, 2014 04:19 am (UTC)
That's really useful information. The detailed test sounds like something worth looking into, but this is also making me look at these numbers a bit more closely. I think I need to do some reading.
Jan. 11th, 2014 05:45 am (UTC)
Felicitations on the glucose/diabetic front. Re blood lipids, there seems to be a lot of that going around -- my most recent test gave mostly high-end of acceptable numbers, which seemed to concern both my regular MD and the cardiologist, even though (as HolyOutlaw mentioned) the correlation between bad numbers and actual heart-attacks/fatalities is only barely of statistical significance. So now I'm on a new statin (presumably more powerful, and possibly also more likely to cause liver damage), with another blood test due in about six weeks. I suspect & dread that they'll again plug the Diet thing, even though we established (after the first problem, c. 20 years ago) that I'm one of the 50 or 75 percent of the populace for whom diet has practially no effect on blood lipids. (Actually, I don't generally _like_ fatty/greasy foods, but I'm not about to follow a Diet that prohibits the occasional steak-and-kidney pie or cream-of-mushroom/cauliflower/broccoli/whatever soup made with a butter-based white sauce & real cream, or fish-and-chips at the Robin Hood pub (on Burbank Blvd, not far from the LASFS). And I've recently discovered that I'm likely to eat more vegetables if I stir-fry them with a strip or two of bacon (most of the fat drained off). So nu?

Jan. 11th, 2014 06:34 pm (UTC)
Ha! As Geri says, bodies are weird. But isn't bacon a vegetable too?
Jan. 14th, 2014 04:23 am (UTC)

I hesitate to outrage The Great Spider by citing precepts of Vegetology Doctrine, but yes, I'm pretty sure bacon is a vegetable just as chocolate (even in ice-cream) is. I think it has to do (for the bacon, that is) with the proper stuff being exposed to smoke from vegetal wood.


Jan. 11th, 2014 06:49 am (UTC)
Trying to control cholesterol through diet and exercise is not as simple and straightforward as it might seem. Without cholesterol your cell walls break down and you die. But not to worry, if you don't eat enough cholesterol, your cells make more. And if too much cholesterol is your problem, just try to tell those cells to stop. La la la they can't hear you. Maybe if you eat a lot of good fishy cholesterol as holyoutlaw suggests, your cells will make less of that nasty monkey cholesterol. At least if you eat a healthy diet and exercise, your general health will be good, which can't hurt.

Taking statins may be good, because it turns out they are anti-inflammatory. Not why they were given to millions, but maybe why they worked so well. You want to avoid inflammation, especially in your arteries, because they swell and get constricted and plaque builds up. Talk to your doctor. Not me. I'm not a doctor. But I think there are many statins, all different, and you should not have to put up with side-effects you're not comfortable with.

The main thing is to keep your blood pressure down.
Jan. 11th, 2014 06:36 pm (UTC)
I don't seem to have any problems with my blood pressure, although unlike my brother (I'm not sure about my sister) I didn't inherit my mom's unusually low blood pressure.

One of the tweaks to my diet has been to eat more fish, and also more nuts, both of which I think are supposed to have good fats in them.

Well, anyway, I'm not going to worry about this higher cholesterol count unless it's still at that level six months from now.
Jan. 11th, 2014 06:50 pm (UTC)
Excellent! You have a lower risk of a stroke.

Now I just need to work on taking better care of myself too, so we can both be around to bang our canes on the floor and leer at the nurses talk about old fanzines together.
Jan. 11th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a plan to me!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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