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High Cholesterol Message Board


High Cholesterol Board Index


Hi, Everyone. I'm a new member to these boards.

I visited a doctor last week for the first time in 20+ years. I was going in for a "consultation," but ended up having blood drawn. I was NOT asked to fast beforehand, and I'd been on a modified low-carb diet for the previous six weeks. A few hours before the exam, I ate a breakfast of three eggs (scrambled in butter) and a small steak. Here are the lipid panel results:

Cholesterol Total: 347
HDL: 60
Chol./HDL: 5.8
LDL (Calculated): 255
Triglycerides: 160

I wasn't aware of the fasting protocol until I brought the test results home and saw "FASTING" in the comments field. I immediately phoned the doctor, who explained that fasting wouldn't have made a difference. (?!?!)

I don't believe that fasting would have lowered the cholesterol total, but I'm pretty sure that the triglycerides (and maybe the LDL?) would have come down.

I'm male, 52yrs, 5ft 6in, 130lb, Blood pressure 120/80, history of CHD and high blood pressure in my family (father and brother), non-smoker, no formal exercise routine, no meds (not even aspirin for a headache), and I almost never get seriously ill. (I had the flu once about 15yrs ago. Other than that, and occasional cold.)

Maybe not related, but a urinalysis also revealed traces of blood (1+) and protein. Ketone count was 80(3+). Also, I had started light weight training the day before.

I truly regret not going for these tests BEFORE I went low-carb in early December. My 48 year old brother had his heart attack in July, and since then I've read, among other things, Ravnskov's "The Cholesterol Myths" and Taubes's "Good Calories, Bad Calories." I was a vegetarian through most of my 20's, tried (and failed) Ornish's diet in my 40's, and now I'm pretty convinced that some sort of lower-carb diet is the way to go for heart health DESPITE my numbers.

The doctor wanted to write a prescription immediately, but I'm the only person within my family/friends circle who is NOT on any medications, and I'm not impressed with the results of their various pharmaceutical adventures. I want to stay drug free.

Even though I don't consider these non-fasting results a relevant base-line, I DO consider them a wakeup call. As of now, I plan on going to another doctor and having a *true* fasting lipid panel done. I've begun exercising, alternating weight-training and aerobics. I'm also going to accurately track how much protein/fat/carbs I'm ingesting every day.

Am I doing enough? Should I be flipping out over my numbers? Should I wait until I've been exercising for a month or so before I test again? Should I get a stress test? Are there any low-carbers out there who can relate to any of this?

Any answers, comments and advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

MrOK
[QUOTE=mrok;3396063]Hi, Everyone. I'm a new member to these boards.

I visited a doctor last week for the first time in 20+ years. I was going in for a "consultation," but ended up having blood drawn. I was NOT asked to fast beforehand, and I'd been on a modified low-carb diet for the previous six weeks. A few hours before the exam, I ate a breakfast of three eggs (scrambled in butter) and a small steak. Here are the lipid panel results:

Cholesterol Total: 347
HDL: 60
Chol./HDL: 5.8
LDL (Calculated): 255
Triglycerides: 160

MrOK[/QUOTE]

I'm not sure if fasting affects ldl/hdl numbers much or not, but for triglycerides I was told that fasting matters. Ask for a lipoprotein test, which will show particle sizes, and also ask for a c-reactive protein and homocysteine test, and go from there.

If your LDL is actually 255 via a VAP/NMR test, and primarily small particles, I'd go the medication route, and also consider dietary changes. Low-carb is good, but replacing carbs with saturated fats might not be the best.
Thanks to all who've responded thus far. I plan on getting a *fasting* lipid panel within the next few weeks, and will reduce (not eliminate!) my saturated fat intake. I'll also continue my 1hr of daily exercise. Nothing strenuous; at this point, I keep my pulse between 110-120.

After my retest, I'll request the specific tests that have been mentioned.

*Mark1e*
I'm not convinced that cholesterol causes heart disease either, but in my (limited) reading, it appears that even the "alternative" theorists concede that individuals with VERY high cholesterol may in fact be at higher risk of heart disease. (I still need to find out what "very high" is.)

Regarding tests for heart disease, it amazes me that, given my high reading, this doctor didn't first consider a test to determine if I actually have CHD. It seems that lowering cholesterol is an end in itself nowadays. This may be why some people that I know were first diagnosed with CHD immediately before their first angioplasty/stent/bypass. I feel like I went to an auto mechanic because my car's "engine" light was on, and he was more concerned with getting the light to shut off than with diagnosing and fixing the engine.

*namelessme*
The triglyceride number was actually the first reason I wanted another test. I've been reading that the triglyceride/HDL ratio is a more reliable predictor of CHD than total cholesterol. A ratio below 2.0 is desirable, so if my HDL remains at 60 and my triglycerides drop to at least 120, I'll consider myself less at risk. (I don't even want to THINK about the importance of the HDL/TotalChol ratio that I've also read about until I get retested.)

*Red60*
I'm only just now re-reading about LDL. (The responses that I've been getting from friends when I tell them the number has inspired me.) I've been allowing myself some slack in my health education (just so I don't go completely insane), and I think that I subconsciously categorized the intricacies of LDL as a rainy-day topic. I guess it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to it.

*dmer*
I agree with the quality of the comments.
Your numbers are impressive! That's only over five weeks, right? But your doctor suggested that it was your lifestyle changes?!? That's confusing. What was your diet like before Pravachol? I've yet to eat any grains, refined or otherwise since Dec 2, 2007. I think it's time to bring oatmeal back into my life though. (My brother's been bugging me to eat Cheerios.)

You mention that the benefits of statins to society may be exaggerated. I'm inclined to agree. Ravnskov and Taubes touch on this in their writings. Calculating relative risk reduction can probably make MOST efficacy studies seem pretty underwhelming.

Regarding "dropping the statins." I never seem to hear of people going OFF of cholesterol-lowering meds. Is this usually the case?





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