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Sunday, August 8, 2010

The dreaded cholesterol check.....

Ok, so after a day (ok month) of less than stellar pathetically unhealthy and fattening dining, I decided to grab the CardioChek from the closet and dust it off.  I originally purchased it in early 2007 because my husband found out he had extremely bad cholesterol.  Now I just like using it because I am just curious that way.  :)  There are actually two different CardioChek units to choose from at this time. There is the Cardiochek PA (which I do NOT have) that gives a panel that has more tests and with just one drop of blood. It also has a printer option to print out the test panel for you.  I chose the regular Cardiochek.  I picked it up for $89 and the test strips are around $12 for a box of three.  The PA system is more like $400 plus printer and maybe $25 per test strip.  I have not kept up with the prices of the PA since I do not use it.  I simply can not afford it! Just in case you are curious or truly interested in getting a CardioChek, the less expensive one requires separate tests for each reading.  I use the total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, and glucose strips.  The glucose strips actually come 25 per box, so they are a bit less expensive.

Ok, drumroll please.....the readings (close your eyes!!! look away!!!!! it is not good.......)
Total Cholesterol:  234  (when did that happen???  Just a few months ago it was normal. Darn pastries.
Triglycerides:  109
HDL: 39
LDL:  173  (gasp!)
Glucose: 126  (gasp!)

Obviously these were not the numbers I was expecting.  Someone needs to make better food choices.  :)

For you reading pleasure:
This site has some info on what you should look for regarding your cholesterol numbers (or just read what I copied and pasted below):

Total Cholesterol LevelCategory
Less than 200 mg/dLDesirable level that puts you at lower risk for coronary heart disease. A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher raises your risk.
200 to 239 mg/dLBorderline high
240 mg/dL and aboveHigh blood cholesterol. A person with this level has more than twice the risk of coronary heart disease as someone whose cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL.    

HDL Cholesterol LevelCategory
Less than 40 mg/dL
(for men)
Less than 50 mg/dL
(for women)
Low HDL cholesterol. A major risk factor for heart disease.
60 mg/dL and aboveHigh HDL cholesterol. An HDL of 60 mg/dL and above is considered protective against heart disease.
With HDL (good) cholesterol, higher levels are better. Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women) puts you at higher risk for heart disease. In the average man, HDL cholesterol levels range from 40 to 50 mg/dL. In the average woman, they range from 50 to 60 mg/dL. An HDL cholesterol of 60 mg/dL or higher gives some protection against heart disease. The mean level of HDL cholesterol for American adults age 20 and older is 54.3 mg/dL.
Smoking, being overweight and being sedentary can all result in lower HDL cholesterol. To raise your HDL level, avoid tobacco smoke, maintain a healthy weight and get at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity more days than not.
People with high blood triglycerides usually also have lower HDL cholesterol and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Progesterone, anabolic steroids and male sex hormones (testosterone) also lower HDL cholesterol levels. Female sex hormones raise HDL cholesterol levels.

The lower your LDL cholesterol, the lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, it's a better gauge of risk than total blood cholesterol. In general, LDL levels fall into these categories:

LDL Cholesterol LevelCategory
Less than 100 mg/dLOptimal
100 to 129 mg/dLNear or above optimal
130 to 159 mg/dLBorderline high
160 to 189 mg/dLHigh
190 mg/dL and aboveVery high
Your other risk factors for heart disease and stroke help determine what your LDL level should be, as well as the appropriate treatment for you. A healthy level for you may not be healthy for your friend or neighbor. Discuss your levels and your treatment options with your doctor to get the plan that works for you. The mean level of LDL cholesterol for American adults age 20 and older is 115.0 mg/dL.

Triglyceride is the most common type of fat in the body. Many people who have heart disease or diabetes have high triglyceride levels. Normal triglyceride levels vary by age and sex. A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol seems to speed up atherosclerosis (the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls). Atherosclerosis increases the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Triglyceride LevelCategory
Less than 150 mg/dLNormal
150–199 mg/dLBorderline high
200–499 mg/dLHigh
500 mg/dL and aboveVery high
Many people have high triglyceride levels due to being overweight/obese, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption and/or a diet very high in carbohydrates (60 percent or more of calories). High triglycerides are a lifestyle-related risk factor; however, underlying diseases or genetic disorders can be the cause. The mean level of triglycerides for American adults age 20 and older is 144.2 mg/dl.
The main therapy to reduce triglyceride levels is to change your lifestyle. This means control your weight, eat a heart-healthy diet, get regular physical activity, avoid tobacco smoke, limit alcohol to one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men and limit beverages and foods with added sugars. Visit your healthcare provider to create an action plan that will incorporate all these lifestyle changes. Sometimes, medication is needed in addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
A triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher is one of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for heart disease and other disorders, including diabetes.

So, as you can see, just  knowing your Total Cholesterol is nearly pointless except to calculate the other numbers.  And each one of those numbers affects the other ones.  Generally, if you can get your HDL number higher, your triglycerides will be lower as will the LDL number. 
So, ok, back to the healthy eating.  Fruits and veggies for Tigger!!! 

So, here are all of the readings that I took this morning when I woke up:
Blood pressure:  102/71 and pulse is 70
       ****a new number, the pulse pressure, has been given a lot of attention lately. It is the difference
               between the top number and the bottom number.  So mine would be 102 minus 71.  That = 31,
               which is good.  "They" say that you should be aiming for 50 or preferrably under.  
               Here is a link to a site with info on pulse pressure if you are curious: Pulse Pressure
               I use the Relion automatic monitor. The pink one that says for women.  You can also
               get larger cuffs to use with it for men or larger arms.
Total:  234
Triglycerides: 109  (seems ok until you see that LDL number I got)
HDL: 39
LDL:  173
Glucose: 126
        This number is a bit murky regarding the ideal number because it can vary so much depending on
        activity and what/when you last ate.  Try to establish what is a normal pattern for you over time.
        Here is a link that might be helpful:  Glucose readings

So, ok, now.......a 90 day test on myself.  I am going to try the raw vegan thing for 90 days and start running again.  I have not run for a month because of severe pain in both knees. Not sure what it is all about, but hopefully this shall pass as well with the change of diet.  Diet, exercise, and supplements.  Oh boy!  LOL.  I will update the results after each 30 day period just to see how it is going. Here is a list of the supplements and vitamins that I like to use:
salmon oil (one gel cap twice per day)
raw thyroid (one per day)
raw adrenal ( one twice per day)
vitamin C (primarily from fresh oranges)
iron (one per day)
b12 (one per day)
multi (the hair/skin/nails variety with biotin)
zinc  (just once in awhile as I am prone to cold sores)
iodoral (iodine - twice per day during the 90 days test)

I would like to get away from all the supplements as well.  My last test said my thyroid was hypo with a number of 12.  It had been at like 5 or 6 the year before.  Hopefully we can stop that trend!  I have no interest in the whole "take this little pill for the rest of your life" thing.  I know people who take synthroid and tell me, "it's no big deal, it is just a tiny little pill. easy to swallow. and you don't even notice that you took it."  Hmmm......first, shouldn't you be noticing it? Shouldn't you be feeling better???  And tiny little drop of say...pulonium....just a drop that you can barely see with your big deal. Easy to swallow. But dead within a few weeks.  I do not care how tiny the pill is......side affects can be big.  And synthroid has its fair share of problems that it contributes to or even causes. So no thank you, kind pharmaceutical companies.  

Ok, I need a quick  nap and then a huge day of things to accomplish.


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