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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

Re my ZERO percent calcium found in heart arteries scan of the other day --

For UFF DA and anyone else on this thread who is interested, this will be a long post, but here's what I've been doing for many years, whether thin or chunky, walking each day or not, etc. Regardless of my condition, my cholesterol levels have been as follows: moderately high total chol. and LDL, and low trigs and high HDL. The numbers vary from test to test, but the pattern is always the same.

I am currently 55 years old, female, and (right now) at perfect weight for height thanks to a fairly low carb diet to cater to my (recently resolved) gallstone problem. I finally had to have the GB out, anyway, 7 months ago -- but that didn't change the cholesterol tests after the surgery. I hope to stay on the relatively low carb diet to keep the weight in check for the future, but knowing I can eat anything now that the gall bladder is gone, it's tougher.

Pills: One multiple vitamin every day for "active women over 50;" -- One capsule, a.m. and p.m. of 190 mg ea. - OTC milk thistle (the liver supposedly likes it); one a.m dose of soy lecithin (not a huge dose but it's a big gelcap) -- again, the liver supposedly likes soy lecithin; one adult aspirin per day; a little extra vitamin C, (either one 500 mg. tablet or one tablet split in half), each day; one 100 mg niacin tablet after evening meal when it doesn't bother me at all (but then it's a pretty low dose, anyway); 25 mg atenolol (beta blocker) each a.m. because I do have an annoying little problem with heart palpitations or "benign tachycardia" per cardiologist. I also have a bit of an anxiety problem so take very low dose Xanax daily.

That's it for the drugs.

Diet: For decades now I've eaten cold cereal every single morning -- usually it's Fiber One with just a little non-fat milk or soy milk.

I rarely, if ever, eat ice cream. My downfall is pastries, like coffee cake, but I don't eat donuts. I do like chocolate chip cookies and anything with chocolate, for that matter. I am told dark chocolate is best and even pretty good for heart health (if not overdone).

Cheese is avoided, though I like it, because I find it extremely constipating (sorry!). Therefore, unless it's cheeseless, I never eat pizza, either.

I try to eat little in the way of white flour products anymore, but do have occasional pasta or bread. Potatoes are a rarity now...

Red meats are consumed only on rare occasion, but I do like the occasional club sandwich with bacon! I do eat chicken or turkey (white meat) from time to time. Fried foods are rarely eaten.

I eat a LOT of fish, but it's usually just canned or in those new bags they sell in the market. I eat light tuna in water, and the pink salmon. This is probably at least 5 times a week. I do not add mayo. I'll probably die of mercury poisoning, but I'm eating the fish!

Not a big fruit fan, I eat more veggies, including a salad virtually every night including green beans, carrots, romaine, usually a very small slice of avocado, etc. I can't stand low or nonfat dressings so allow myself the real thing -- I like the thick Caesar varieties, but in very moderate quantities. I have actually read that the dressings WITH fat better assist the body in absorbing the vitamins from the salad items. Plus, they certainly TASTE better.

I NEVER drink carbonated beverages of any kind -- water is my preferred cold "drink" but I also drink a lot of tea, lately it's green tea and chamomile or sometimes black tea but I always need the decaf versions because caffeine makes me "jumpy." I only recently started having decaf coffee again at times because all coffee previously bothered the gall bladder.

I avoided red wine during the year+ with gall bladder problems, but am back to drinking a tiny bit of red wine several nights per week now. Pinot Noir is my favorite but I also like cabernet and zinfandel. I believe the wine is the reason for the biggest jump in the HDL, though even without the wine my HDL was pretty high. It also raises the TOTAL chol. level, but so what? Every doctor I've ever talked to about the "red wine" has given the thumbs UP on its use in moderation.

Basically, I snack all day long: after the small early a.m. cold cereal eaten at home, I take with me to work a baggie of Cheerios with a bunch of semi-sweet choc. chips added. I think of it as my version of "trail mix." LOL -- this "snack" can last me until early afternoon, when, after my 20-30 minute walk outside around the complex where I work, with a stop at the bookstore in the mall, I eat my whole wheat english muffin with a small amount of peanut butter on it and drink more (usually) green tea.

Not infrequently, I buy something ELSE chocolate or a cookie while on my noon walk.

The truth is that I rarely eat at fast food restaurants though Subway has some decent sandwiches and I like the Carl's Jr. broiled chicken breast on whole wheat with lettuce/tomato; the same can be had at McDonald's but it's not as good there. I avoid burgers most of the time but do have one on rare occasion. I don't eat fries much anymore and when I do, it's just a few.

Basically, I don't think of this as regimented but I guess it is for most people. There aren't many people who want to make sure they eat high fiber cereal, green salad, and a wheat muffin with peanut butter on it nearly every day. Probably the zero calcium score is just due to some genetic mystery and not the food, but who knows?

It's GOT to be somewhat genetic because I smoked a pack a day for a dozen years (quit over 10 years ago) and you'd think that smoking would've caused some trouble in thoe arteries, wouldn't you??

I wish everyone good luck with their own cholesterol scenarios -- but if you REALLY want to know where you stand and you've got confllicting sets of numbers when getting chol. tests, go get the scan done -- though I would've been happy to go on Lipitor or whatever had calcium been found, I'm glad I didn't just start taking it because a couple of my numbers are consistently out of range.

Happy holidays!

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